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News & Press Releases

Press Release 5th June 2010: KSM unveils driver line-up for the 24h of Le Mans

For quite a while it looked like the team from Siegburg, Germany would not participate in the 24h of Le Mans, but because some competitors withdrew there was finally a place on the grid for KSM. The team was informed about this at an A.C.O. press conference at the LMS round in Spa Francorchamps, and so the time for preparation was a lot shorter than in previous years.

A good mixture of experience in long distance racing and young talent will form the driver team of the 2010 KSM Le Mans effort. As during the 8h of Paul Ricard and the 1000 km race in Belgium, it will be Japanese driver Hideki Noda, Singapore-based Frenchman Jean de Pourtales and the 24 year old English driver Jonathan Kennard who will share the wheel of the KSM Lola Judd.

Hideki Noda

Hideki Noda, born in 1969 in Osaka, is an old hand in motor racing and has gained experience in many major series. In 1994 he drove in Formula 1, from 1996 to 1999 he raced in the Indy Lights Series in the US where he became the first Japanese driver to win a CART-organized race. Other milestones of his long career were the Japanese Super GT, the Indy Racing League and the A1 Grand Prix Team Japan. In 2006 he drove in the Le Mans Series for Zytek; in 2007 he became the Japanese Le Mans Challenge Champion. In 2008 and 2009 he drove for KSM in the Le Mans Series and the 24h of Le Mans.

Jean de Pourtales

Jean de Pourtalés, born in 1965 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, started his motor racing career in 1995 in British Formula Vauxhall. After 2 seasons he continued to race single seaters in British Formula Renault from 1998 to 2001 and in the Euro F-3000 Championship from 2002 to 2006. In 2007 he did his first full LMS season and raced an LMP2 Pescarolo-Judd in the 24h of Le Mans. Later he joined the KSM team and did the Le Mans Series and the 24h of Le Mans in 2008 and 2009 for them.

 

Jonathan Kennard

Jonathan Kennard, born in 1985 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, has already enjoyed a long, remarkable career in motorsport, despite his young age, which started with Kart racing. In 2001 and 2002 he drove in the BRSCC T-Car Championship, 2003 and 2004 Formula Palmer Audi, 2005 -2007 British F3 Championship, 2008 several test drives for the Williams F1 team, and in 2009 he drove in the Superleague formula. Since the start of this year he has been driving in the LMS for KSM.

 

KSM is also proud to have found a further partner for this year's 24h of Le Mans, the MVI group. The MVI Group and its companies offer the automotive industry a broad spectrum of highly qualified management and engineering services. The group's logo will be displayed prominently on the KSM Lola.

Regular race goers will remember that KSM has not exactly been lucky at Le Mans in the past. The last 2 years have been dominated by accidents in the practice sessions and DNFs in the race. Last year's race was especially disappointing when the car was in good position but came to a halt with just about 90 minutes to go to the finish line. For this year Hardy Schiller, Kai Kruse and the whole team expect a much better result.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 11th May 2010: DNF at Spa Francorchamps for KSM

The weekend in the Belgian Ardennes started very promisingly and with very good news for the team from Siegburg, Germany. At a press conference on Friday the A.C.O. announced withdrawals from several competitors and confirmed the entry at the 24h of Le Mans for KSM. Both free practice sessions on Friday also went very well, so everyone in the team was in a very good mood.

The Lola Judd B08/47 ran absolutely fine in all three free practice sessions: the drivers Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, Jean de Pourtales and Jonathan Kennard could do many laps and their lap times were very close to each other. The times were improved in each session. The team achieved a best lap time of 2:35.200 in the very wet 1st session, in the next session they did a 2:15.696, and in the 3rd session a time of 2:10.828 was on the final result sheets. The task to qualify the car for the race was given to Jonathan Kennard, who made it look almost routine and posted a good time with 2.09:795.

Race day came and also started very positively: 4th best time in LMP2 class in the warm-up. Jonathan Kennard was the KSM start driver and at the beginning of the race he was even in 3rd for a short time. The first hour of the race had some rain falling and was therefore very difficult for the drivers; after further laps the KSM Lola settled for a solid 5th position. Unfortunately a collision with Franck Montagny's Peugeot resulted in heavy damage to the left side of the car and the under-floor, but with a lot of luck and skillful driving by Jonathan Kennard, the Lola made it back into the pits. The race abandonment that followed allowed the team to get everything ready for repairs.

Red flags were being waved by the marshals right after the collision but for a completely different reason which was absolutely unique in the history of the LMS. There was a complete power blackout in the whole region and all lights went off at the circuit. The computerized time-keeping did not work anymore and also the safety-relevant track signals went off. The organizers decided to stop the race and the cars came to a halt on the track which served as a kind of "Parc Ferme". Communication was not fully possible at this moment so some cars went into the pits but no sanctions were imposed for this. After 45 Minutes the power came back and the race was restarted.

Jean de Pourtales in Spa 2010

Jean de Pourtales at the wheel of the KSM Lola in Spa

The KSM Lola was still in 5th position when Frenchman Jean de Pourtales took over. Sadly he had to stop on the track after a while with a problem in the Lola's transmission area - everyone at KSM was utterly disappointed. The saddest member of the team was probably Japanese driver Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, who could not do a single lap in the race.

Hardy Schiller: "After our absolutely trouble-free practice sessions and a strong performance in the first part of the race this DNF is a big disappointment. Back in our workshop we will analyze what exactly failed, improve it and prepare the car in an optimal way for the next race. I would like to thank the whole team for their incredible effort and the excellent work this weekend!"

Kai Kruse: "This year Spa saw us both happy and sad on the same weekend. After the positive practice sessions and the announcement of our Le Mans entry the whole team was happy and we all were very optimistic on race day. Now we have to focus on a proper preparation for the 24h of Le Mans. The time for preparation will of course be shorter than usual this year, because of the late confirmation of our entry."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 6th May 2010: KSM prepares for Spa Francorchamps

Four weeks after the season opening at Paul Ricard, the 2nd round of the LMS is scheduled: the 1000 km race at Spa Francorchamps, Belgium, a classic endurance distance on a classic race track. Spa has been a fixed part of the series since the LMS was founded in 2004 and is very popular among fans and drivers alike. Because of the 100 metres difference in altitude on each lap, some very fast corners and the extremely high average speed this track has also been nicknamed "Ardennes Rollercoaster". At some stage in the past this track was even removed from the Grand Prix calendar because of top speeds deemed too high, but after some modifications which increased the safety significantly, the issues were resolved. In recent years the track was shortened and modified on several occasions and in its present layout the track length is just slightly over 7 kilometres. Despite all the changes the fast and hilly character of the track, with speeds in excess of 330 km/h, did not change.

For many teams the race at Spa is also the dress rehearsal for the 24h of Le Mans and this will make this LMS round very exciting to watch. Both the Audi and Peugeot factory teams will be there with 3 cars each and will fight for the overall win.

As there will be most regrettably no LMS round in Germany this year, KSM sees the race in Belgium as their home race, the KSM workshop in Siegburg, Germany being less than 2 hours drive away from the track. In the weeks following the race at Paul Ricard, KSM has worked hard on their car to overcome the weak points which were discovered in the gearbox control system in France. All other systems and especially the new Judd engine were already working fine, so the team feels well prepared for their journey to Belgium. A shake down test on the Dahlem airfield in Germany last week was extremely positive.

Meanwhile KSM could also establish a new partnership with the MVI group, which offers the automotive industry a broad spectrum of highly qualified management and engineering services.

The driver squad will be the same as at Paul Ricard: Japanese Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, Frenchman Jean de Pourtales and English driver Jonathan Kennard will be behind the wheel of the KSM Lola Judd. All 3 drivers know the track in Belgium very well, having raced there before.

Previous LMS races in Spa were very mixed for the KSM team. In 2008 they had to waive the start for safety reasons, but last year they were classified in 5th position in their class and scored championship points. Many fans remember the dramatic finish when the KSM Lola came to a halt just short of the finish line, but finally managed to get to the chequered flag on its own. For this year the team is very optimistic to get a good result with the new chassis/engine combination.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 15th April 2010: Positive start to the season for KSM with new driver Jonathan Kennard

For the first time in the history of the Le Mans Series an 8 hour race was scheduled as the season opener. As a consequence the leading teams in sports car racing - among them KSM from Siegburg, Germany - had to cope with a much longer race distance compared to the classic 1000 km LMS rounds.

KSM, using a Judd V8 engine for the first time, but still with its proven Lola LMP2 chassis, had to face 11 competitors in the class. Altogether there were 41 cars on the grid, 27 prototypes and 14 GT racers. The team had already been searching for a while for a 3rd driver to strengthen the driver squad of KSM regulars Hideki Noda and Jean de Pourtales, who have been with the team since 2008. Shortly before the beginning of the 1st LMS round 2010 KSM signed a contract with British driver Jonathan Kennard. Jonathan already has significant experience in motor racing. The 24 year old and very quick driver from England had scored a win in the British F3 championship, several podiums in the Superleague Formula and did a test drive for the Williams F1 team.

5 weeks ago during the official LMS test days at Paul Ricard KSM faced several problems with the gearbox control system. After an in-depth analysis and some changes the team was confident to have solved these problems and was very optimistic for the race. Unfortunately these problems came up again and it took 2 practice sessions to sort it out, so an optimal set up could not be developed for the Qualifying session. Despite this there was still a significant advance in lap times, so in the end KSM scored a 9th place on the LMP2 grid.

Pit stop at Paul Ricard 2010

Pit stop at Paul Ricard

After a very good start Jean de Pourtales managed to advance into 7th position and could keep pace with the front-running competitors. At the end of his 2nd stint the problems with the gearbox control system came up again, forcing the mechanics into a lengthy, but successful repair session. Coming back into the race in 40th position overall and in 12th position in class, Hideki Noda drove 3 stints and advanced to 9th position in the LMP2 class. For the last 2 hours of the race it was Jonathan Kennard's task to build on this and bring the car to the chequered flag. He managed both very well and impressed with very consistent and quick lap times. In the end the team finished 8th in class and in 29th position overall. Because of the long race distance of more than 1,500 km, double points were given to the teams, so KSM scored 12 points, making this quite a positive start to the season. In addition they got 5th place overall in the Michelin Endurance Challenge, a classement for the best speed/fuel consumption ratio, even outrunning the Le Mans-winning Peugeot in this discipline.

Hardy Schiller: "After the test in March we were confident that we had sorted out the problems, but unfortunately this was not the case. Nevertheless we did not give up and were rewarded with 12 championship points. I think especially at the end of the race we have shown what is possible with our package and we will hope for a good performance in the next LMS round at Spa Francorchamps."

Kai Kruse: "These points were hard work, but once again it has become clear that persistence will be rewarded. Despite our shortfalls in the practice sessions I was happy with our race performance. This makes me believe that better results can be achieved in the future, although there is still some hard work ahead of us. All of us were impressed with the very strong debut of Jonathan in the LMS. His very quick and consistent lap times were convincing and we hope to be equally quick at Spa Francorchamps."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 5th April 2010: The KSM 8 hours of Castellet preview

In just a couple of days KSM, the German LMP2 team from Siegburg, will travel to the south of France for the 1st LMS round of the 2010 season at the Paul Ricard HTTT.

It is actually hard to believe for a race series organized by a French automobile club, but with the exception of the 1000 km LMS preview race 2003 at le Mans this is the very first regular LMS round on French soil.

The French circuit, also known as "Le Castellet" to race fans worldwide, was built in 1969 at Le Castellet near Marseille in the South of France, financed by drinks magnate Paul Ricard. The track has had a quite mixed history: It was a very popular and widely used track in the 70s, and 80s and 90s and played often host for the French Formula 1 Grand Prix in these decades. Since the 90s, the track has been basically used for motorcycle racing and French national racing. In 1999 the track as sold to a company owned by F1 promotor Bernie Ecclestone and has since then been developed into a very advanced test rack with distinctive black and blue runoff areas. The track can be used in many different combinations, with the shortest version being just 800 metres long and the longest version resulting in a track length of 5.8 km. The famous mistral straight with 1.8 km length is the fastest part of the track - when used without the chicane.

41 cars are entered for the first LMS round 2010 and once again the competition in the LMP2 class will be quiet hard with 11 cars racing there. A remarkable variety of LMP2 chassis/engine combinations will be on the grid: Lola, Pescarolo, Courage, Ginetta-Zytek and HPD, engines come also from the latter two and from Judd and AER.

Once again KSM will be the only German team in this class and it will be also the only team running the open top version of the Lola chassis, this combined with a V8 Jud engine. This is a new chassis/engine combination for the team and the first outing at the official LM test in March was very promising.

The KSM Lola Judd will be driven by KSM regulars Hideki Noda and Jean de Pourtales, a very experienced driver pairing. Former F1 driver and Japan Le Mans Challenge winner Hideki Noda will go into his 3rd LMS Season, Frenchman Jean de Pourtales has also been in the series since 2007. The pit crew will show continuity: Gavin Wills, Alex Schiller, Andre Heidel and Frank Troebs been active for KSM before, new to team are data engineer Paul South and the mechanics Mike Bitterlich and Dieter Klein.

Hardy Schiller: "After the long winter break it was my privilege to do the first miles with the new chassis-engine combination at a shakedown on a German airstrip - a nice experience. The whole rear end of the car was re-engineered but worked fine from the very first minute. Now I can't wait to see our car racing again."

Friday will see a free practice, the qualifying will be on Saturday and the flagfall for the first 8-hour race of the series will be on Sunday 11:00 am. Compared to a 1000 km race the ACO will give double points for all teams because the significant longer race distance.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 16th March 2010: Season opening at the LMS test in Paul Ricard

The KSM team from Siegburg, Germany participated at the official LMS test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France on 7th-8th March 2010. Altogether the car covered 1032 km, which is close to the full distance of a typical LMS round. Apart from an earlier 25km shakedown at a German airfield, this was the first real test for the new chassis/engine combination. The test was a success with only a few minor issues. The newly installed Judd LMP2 engine was found to be easy to handle by all drivers and also the completely newly constructed rear part of the car proved to be very good: the gearbox with its new housing worked perfectly.

Actually the biggest challenge was the weather. With top temperatures of just 3-5°C it was way too cold for this part of the year in the South of France. This, in combination with an extremely strong wind, had a big impact on the test program. For Sunday an extensive night test program was planned, but when the first snowflakes appeared in the headlights of the KSM Lola Judd, the team decided to call the car back into the pits and to continue the test on Monday.

During the 2 day test, 5 different drivers were at the wheel of the KSM Lola-Judd:

The cold temperatures caused some small problems with the engine set-up and the thermostats and were also the reason why the team did not go for top lap times, but instead focused more on testing the stability of all systems and giving the drivers the chance to become familiar with the car.

Getting track experience at Paul Ricard was very important this year, because the first round of the Le Mans Series will be hosted there on 9th-11th April. It's not only the first time there will be an LMS round at Paul Ricard, but also the first 8 hour race, a new format for the series.

Besides all the testing there was also reason to celebrate at the KSM Team. Sunday was the birthday of Japanese driver Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, who was really happy when the team presented him with a birthday cake but according to witnesses kept absolutely quiet when asked about his age.

KSM will go into the 2010 season with its established drivers Jean de Pourtales and Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, and a third driver will probably be announced in the near future.

For pictures of the LMS test day please have a look at our photo galleries.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 19th Feb. 2010: KSM prepares for the 2010 LMS season

KSM, the LMP2 team from Siegburg, Germany, will start its 3rd Le Mans Series season, and the team is on the LMS full season entry list. 16 teams have entered LMP2 cars for the new season; the competition in this class will once again be fierce. After a rather disappointing 2009, which saw the team finishing the season early because of ongoing technical problems and discrepancies, KSM has put a new package together for 2010. The biggest change will be the new partnership with Engine Developments Ltd: this year a 3.4 litre V8 aspirated Judd engine will be fitted in the back of the KSM Lola. The necessary modification to the chassis has already been made at the Lola factory in Huntingdon in the UK.

Another new partner is Althaus Engineering, which will support KSM in the area of material control, testing and quality assurance. Other, well proven partnerships will continue, and once again the KSM Lola will be equipped with Dunlop tyres throughout the season.

Apart from the modifications which were necessary to accommodate the new engine, other changes needed to be implemented in line with the new technical reglement. A first roll-out with a functional test will happen soon. After that the team plans to test with several drivers at the official LMS test on the 7th and 8th of March at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in France. The goal is to start with a 3-driver squad in the new season and in accordance with the new regulations there will be at least one gentleman driver at the wheel of the KSM Lola B08/47.

On 4th February 2010 the A.C.O announced the 55 entries for the 78th edition of the 24h of Le Mans. Compared to 2009 and 2008, when 12 LMP2 cars were given entries, for 2010 the organizers reduced the LMP2 class to 9 entries only - thus leaving quite a few teams utterly disappointed, among them KSM. The team was hoping for its 3rd consecutive entry at Le Mans, but ended up in 3rd place on the prototype reserve list instead. This means that a participation in this event is still possible and Hardy Schiller and Kai Kruse have decided to keep their place on the reserve list until the very last moment.

Judd engine

The KSM Lola chassis and the Judd engine - a new package for the 2010 LMS season

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

18th Aug. 2009: KSM finishes the Le Mans Series 2009 season early

Much to the regret of the whole team, KSM leaders Hardy Schiller and Kai Kruse have decided to cancel the team's participation in the remaining LMS rounds at the Nürburgring and at Silverstone.

Ongoing problems and discrepancies in the technical field left no chance for a competitive second half of the LMS season.

In the future talks with potentially new partners will be held to enable the team to start afresh and look ahead to a successful season 2010 in the Le Mans Series and at the 24h of Le Mans.

At this point KSM want to say thank you to all partners, sponsors and fans for their support during this season. Thanks also to the organisation of the Le Mans Series and to the A.C.O. for their valued co-operation.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

28th July 2009: KSM waives start at the Algarve

Much to our regret we must inform you today, that our KSM Lola Mazda will not be on the grid of the next LMS round at the "Autodromo International Algarve" in Portugal.

Hardy Schiller: "The damage, which was caused by the accident during the practice at Le Mans and the fire shortly before the end of the 24h race, was much greater than we had estimated. Therefore we have decided to waive the LMS round in Portugal. Our goal is now to prepare the car in an optimal way for the rest of the season."

Kai Kruse:" At present our car is still being rebuilt and as a consequence we will not be able to participate at the LMS race in Portugal. This is of course very disappointing, because we would have liked to start at the first-ever LMS night race, which will be a very special challenge for all teams".

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 29th May 2009: KSM unveils driver line-up for the 24h of Le Mans

An experienced, solid line-up in long distance racing will form the driver team of the 2009 KSM Le Mans effort. The Japanese driver Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, Singapore-based Frenchman Jean de Pourtales and Hong Kong driver Matthew Marsh will be behind the wheel of the LMP2 Lola Mazda.

Hideki Noda

Hideki Noda, born 1969 in Osaka, is an old hand in motor racing and has gained experience in many major series. In 1994 he drove in Formula 1, from 1996 to 1999 he was racing in the Indy Lights Series in the US where he became the first Japanese driver to win a CART-organized race. Other milestones of his long career were the Japanese Super GT, the Indy Racing League and the A1 Grand Prix Team Japan. In 2006 he drove in the Le Mans Series for Zytek; in 2007 he became the Japanese Le Mans Challenge Champion winning 3 of 4 rounds in an LMP1 Zytek. In 2008 he joined KSM for the full Le Mans Series and the 24h of Le Mans. More information about him and his career can be found on his personal website www.hideki-noda.net.

Jean de Pourtales

Jean de Pourtalés, born in 1965 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, started his motor racing career in 1995 in British Formula Vauxhall. After 2 seasons he continued to race single seaters in British Formula Renault from 1998 to 2001 and in the Euro F-3000 Championship from 2002 to 2006. In 2007 he did his first full LMS season and raced an LMP2 Pescarolo-Judd in the 24h of Le Mans. In 2008 he joined the KSM team and did the Le Mans Series and the 24h of Le Mans for them. The family name "de Pourtales" is actually a part of the history of the 24h of Le Mans. Jean's great-great-uncle Max de Pourtalés raced at the very first edition of the 24h of Le Mans in 1923: together with Sosthene de la Rochefoucauld he scored a class win in his Bugatti Brescia 16S, finishing 10th overall.

Matthew Marsh

Matthew Marsh, born in 1968 in Welwyn, drives for Hong Kong. Being a racing driver, motorsport journalist, celebrity speaker and driver coach, he is one of Asia's best known motorsport personalities. He started racing in 1998 in the Caterham championship; further steps of his career were the Macao Grand Prix, the Carrera Cup Asia and the Bathurst 24 hours. He raced 5 times at the 24h of the Nürburgring where he won his class in an Aston Martin in 2008. In 2007 he became the first driver to represent Hong Kong at the 24h of Le Mans, driving a GT2 Ferrari F430. Matthew joined KSM at the beginning of this season and scored his first points with the team at the 1000km race in Spa Francorchamps. Matthew will update his website www.matthewmarsh.hk very regularly throughout the Le Mans week.

This year, KSM's engine partner Mazda will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of their first class win at Le Mans, in 1984, when their engine also powered a British-built Lola chassis winning the C2 class. Another class win at Le Mans, this time in the IMSA GTP class, was scored in 1987. Highlight for the Japanese manufacturer was their overall win in 1991. To this day they remain the only Japanese manufacturer to have achieved this.

Regular race-goers will remember that last year's KSM Le Mans effort was rather ill-fated. Around midnight during the second practice session on Wednesday, Hideki Noda survived an enormous accident in the Dunlop Chicane, where the Lola Mazda suffered heavy damage. Most experts were sure that their place on the grid would be empty but the team took the Herculean task to rebuild the car until the warm-up on Saturday morning. The car ran then fine until around 2 a.m. on Sunday morning when a gearbox failure finally ended the race for KSM. For this year Hardy Schiller and Kai Kruse of course expect a much better result.

Hardy Schiller: "This will be my second year at Le Mans and the excitement is building up now. In the last weeks we have done everything possible to make our car as reliable and quick as possible; the preparation for this race is thorough. With our driver line-up now complete, the whole team can't wait to get to France: Le Mans is the ultimate highlight of each sports car season. Once again we will be the only German team in the LMP2 class and I'm looking forward to this challenge."

Kai Kruse: "In the past the Le Mans test day was always an important chance for new drivers to get track experience and for the engineers to collect data for the set-up of the car. This year the test day is cancelled, so it is a big bonus that all of our 3 drivers have raced at Le Mans before and are familiar with the track. The Lola Mazda is a well proven Le Mans package too and we will be able to profit from the data which we could collect last year. With all our preparations the race for the finish line at Le Mans has already started and we will do our best to achieve a good result."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 12th May 2009: KSM finished 5th in Spa Francorchamps

After the DNF in Barcelona, the KSM team traveled with high expectations to the racetrack in the Belgian Ardennes.

The Friday practice session started in somewhat mixed conditions ranging from dry to wet and ended a little prematurely. The Lola Mazda was just on its 13th lap when Francesco Sini came back to the pits with a turbocharger failure.

The second free practice and the qualification on Saturday saw the team doing more laps than Friday and finishing with a lap time of 2:12.876: 21st position overall, meaning 9th position in class was achieved on the grid.

Race day came - and so came the fog. The visibility was poor: at some parts of the track almost zero and the organizers decided to cancel the warm up session, a wise move. Soon thereafter it started to clear up and at noon it was bright and sunny.

The start took place in the best weather conditions and KSM start-driver Hideki Noda was eager to race. What followed were 2 very spirited stints from the Japanese driver showing some very good lap times. Unfortunately he was a little overenthusiastic at the end of a safety car phase when he overtook a GT car before passing the start-finish-line, something which regulations do not allow. As a consequence the marshals fined this with a stop & go penalty. Despite this, the hourly scoreboard saw the KSM Lola in 4th position after the first hour. The right strategy when the safety car came out for the first time triggered the position light system of the Lola for the first time this season - 3 blue lights on both sides of the car indicated that the car was advanced to 3rd position in the race.

However, smaller incidents saw the car dropping back: a throttle malfunction caused a repair stop and when Hideki Noda brought the car back to the pits with a puncture and damaged bodywork, still more repairs needed to be done. The final stints were driven by Italian driver Francesco Sini, but an incident on the track meant that the last pit stop took longer than scheduled. Besides other measures some bodywork needed to be replaced and the car dropped back to 8th position. With just 10 minutes to go to the chequered flag, it looked like disaster would strike again on the team from Siegburg.

Within sight of the finish line the car suddenly came to a halt with what was most likely a gear linkage problem. Seeing this, Kai Kruse and other members of the team did some athletics and sprinted with a respectable speed towards the car. Of course they were not allowed to give active hands-on assistance, but advising the driver what to do is within the rules. Several things were tried and finally the car crawled across the finish line and took the chequered flag.

On the racetrack the car finished 8th in its class, but the disqualifications of 3 competitors because of technical irregularities saw the KSM Lola in 5th position on the result sheet next morning.

Spa Francorchamps

Spa Francorchamps, 9th May 2009: The KSM team

Hardy Schiller: "Almost missing the finish with the chequered flag already in sight set some adrenaline free. But in the end our performance was rewarded and I'm very happy about this. I'd like to thank all members of the team for their excellent work this weekend. We had to stop more often than planned and repairs needed to be made - but whatever happened we could always send the car back on track in the shortest possible time. Now we are all looking forward to the main event of each sports car season and hope for a good result in France at the 24h of Le Mans."

Kai Kruse: "A very eventful race day finally came to a lucky end when our car crossed the line and secured the championship points. We will use the following weeks to analyze the problems we had at Spa Francorchamps and will continue to improve the Lola for the next race. The recently imposed restrictor adjustments were a step in the right direction, but the bad fuel quality still doesn't equalize our performance with the performance of the V8 engines in a fair way. Our temporary 3rd race position was a proof of what is possible and we will continue to work hard."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 4th May 2009: KSM prepares for Spa Francorchamps

The high speed track in the Belgian Ardennes has always been a special event of the Le Mans Series. The track is unique with its fast, hilly and twisty nature and has always been an extreme challenge for the teams. Because of its classic nature this is a favourite for many drivers and race fans. The track has a long history; the first Belgian Grand Prix was already held there in 1924. Over the years the originally 15km long track saw a lot of changes, and until 2000 it was still possible to travel over the race track when parts of it were a public road. Eau Rouge, the uphill corner following the old pit lane, is world famous and really something special, requiring skill and bravery in equal measure to get it right. The Eau Rouge and Blanchimont corners both need to be taken flat-out to achieve a fast run onto the straights after them, so driver skill is essential.

On several occasions the track was shortened and modified. In its present layout the track length is just slightly over 7 kilometers but the fast and hilly character of the track with speeds in excess of 330 km/h did not change. During the 2008 LMS round the lap record was pushed to 1:59.883 by the winners Marc Gene, Nicolas Minassian and Jacques Villeneuve.

Spa Francorchamps is less than 100 miles away from the KSM workshop in Siegburg, Germany, and therefore almost a second home race for the team together with the LMS round at the Nürburgring.

Spa Francorchamps

For KSM the 2008 LMS round at Spa was very unfortunate and had a premature end when the team had to waive the start for security reasons as a consequence of an incident in the qualifying session. But since Barcelona the team had an intensive and thorough preparation phase with minor enhancements being implemented on the car.

Hardy Schiller: "The 4 week break since the LMS round in Spain was used for some minor modifications on our package and I'm confident that these steps will lead in the right direction and increase our pace. The race in Barcelona has shown that the new pit stop regulations with just 2 team members being allowed to work on the car are very challenging, but I'm sure that our team of mechanics, engineers and drivers will perform well again. If everything runs according to plan, we'll have a good result!"

Kai Kruse: "Although our last attendance here was not a very lucky one we are looking forward to the next weekend with great excitement. The high speed character of the track makes it an ideal testing ground for the oncoming 24h of le Mans and since the test day has been cancelled this is even more important than in the past. The competition will be stiff but since our pace in Barcelona was OK I expect a strong performance in Belgium."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 9th April 2009: A lot of laps - but unfortunately no points

After the long winter break we travelled to Spain with a lot of excitement. The first race of a new season is always something special. There were significant changes at KSM since the end of 2008: the team has 2 new drivers and a new race engineer, so as well as racing there was also the challenge of integrating them into the crew - something which was definitively achieved.

Friday's first free practice went quite smoothly. Hideki Noda set a lap time of 1:40, Matthew was a little slower but Francesco was limited to only one lap because the session was stopped. Nevertheless, altogether the team managed 26 laps, earned a respectable 6th position on the time board and even left an LMP1 car behind...

The free practice session on Saturday saw the Lola Mazda again without any trouble and even more track time: we did 37 laps. Francesco started the running and managed an easy 1:42. Matthew then drove 14 laps, running a few 1:42s and a best of 1:41.8. Hideki then made some adjustments to the car and did a run on new tyres. His best time was 1:40.3 - good for 7th fastest in the class.

Barcelona

Barcelona, 3rd April 2009: Our Lola Mazda at the technical inspection

The qualifying session saw Hideki at the wheel of the KSM Lola Mazda, and he showed the same performance as in the free practice session and qualified the car for 7th place in class, 18th place overall on the grid.

Raceday came and the action started. During the warm up the team did 10 laps and came out in 6th position. Matthew then took the start of this race and the 2009 season, and chose a conservative approach. He stayed out of trouble and ended the first lap in 9th position in class. From then on he kept a steady pace and used the first safety car period for an early fuel stop. After that he ran an almost full second stint until the safety car came out again. He was already in 7th position when he brought the car back and Francesco took over for the next 2 stints.

Hideki took over from Francesco for what was planned as a triple-stint. Unfortunately after about 4 hours the race came to a premature end for KSM when the camshaft failed and Hideki came to a halt in the Seat-Curve. As he was on his way to 4th position this was of course very disappointing for the whole team.

Hardy Schiller: "Of course we are not happy with the outcome of this race, but at least we could gather some valuable experience for the next rounds to come. All our 3 drivers showed a steady pace and were within 1-1.5 seconds from each other. Our new race engineer Gavin Wills gave a lot of valuable input for the development of the car and we are now looking forward to the next round at Spa Francorchamps. I would like to say a big thank you to all of our team; once again we have worked together in good spirit."

Kai Kruse: "We were actually targeting 4th position but suffered a loss in time because we had to repair the legalize panel twice after collisions with GT-2 Ferraris. The engine failure caught us by complete surprise; there was no prior warning that something might not be OK. No doubt - I am disappointed that we could not turn our good performance into championship points but at least we have reason to be optimistic for the future. We were able to do a lot of laps and aside from the engine problem there was no weak link in our package!"

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 27th March 2009: KSM announces line-up for 2009

At the end of the long winter break, KSM is happy to announce the new line-up for 2009. The team that is based in Siegburg, Germany, enters its 2nd LMS season with great enthusiasm. The KSM driver team has 2 new members: Matthew Marsh and Francesco Sini.

Italian driver Francesco Sini, born in 1980 in Fano, started his motorsport career already at the age of 9 when he entered a mini-kart series. Later on he won 8 regional kart championships and numerous national trophies. Other steps were the Formula Renault and the Radical Euro Cup where he drove a Radical SR8 LM. Then last year Francesco won the Radical European Masters Series with Solaris Motorsport Radical Italy, achieving 12 victories and 6 podiums in the class.

Born in 1968 in England and being a resident in Hong Kong since 1990, Matthew Marsh is one of Asia's best known motorsport personalities in various roles as a racing driver, motorsport journalist, celebrity speaker and driver coach. In 2008 he became the only Hong Kong driver to have scored an FIA World Championship point by finishing eighth in the final round of the World Touring Car Championship at the Macau Grand Prix. Prior to that he became the only driver to have represented Hong Kong at the Le Mans 24 hours race where he drove a Ferrari 430 in 2007.

Japanese driver Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, born in 1969 in Osaka, is an old hand in motor racing. Having raced Formula 1 in 1994 he later continued his career in the Indy Lights series, Formula Nippon, the Japanese GT Championship, the Indy Racing League, A1GP, and the Japanese Le Mans Challenge - where he won the title in 2007. He joined KSM last year and decided to stay with the team for 2009. This will give the drivers' crew a good deal of continuity as Hideki will share the valuable experience he gained in 2008 with the Lola Mazda with his new teammates Francesco and Matthew.

Magny Cours

Magny Cours, 18th March 2009: New KSM Driver Matthew Marsh tests the KSM Lola Mazda

The team will enter its Lola B07/46 with the latest aerodynamic upgrades to meet the 2009 specification set by the ACO. An initially planned upgrade to a coupe had to be postponed. Once again Mazda will supply the engines, a co-operation which started last year. The tyres will be supplied by Dunlop. Last week, Tuesday and Wednesday saw an intensive test of KSM at Magny Cours, France, with the 2 new drivers Matthew Marsh and Francesco Sini. Francesco, who had already tested the car last year in August at the Lausitzring, set some very speedy lap times and was happy to be back in the Lola Mazda again. Matthew had his first experience behind the wheel of an LMP2 race car and adapted to it well during the test.

Hardy Schiller: "An Italian, a Hong Kong-based British driver and Hideki from Osaka driving a British-built Lola chassis with a Japanese Mazda engine for a German team - we are probably one of the most international crews on the grid. Together with new partners like Flex-Box, Pantalone, Cisco, Neutral, CMTI and many others we are confident to have a good package together for this year. The last season was definitely beyond our expectations, for this year we expect to progress."

Kai Kruse: "I'm very pleased to announce our line-up today, something which can't be taken for granted in these times of financial turmoil and the world economic crisis. Continuity is one of our key values and so I'm happy that many of our team of mechanics and engineers and also our driver Hideki will continue to work with us in 2009. A warm welcome to our new team members Matthew, Francesco, our new race engineer Gavin Wills and all others. The long winter break has come to an end now, the first LMS round is ahead of us, so let's race!"

Hideki Noda: "I'm very much looking forward to my 2nd season in the Le Mans Series which is without doubt one of the best and most challenging sports car race series in the world. With all the experience we gained last year we expect improvements and a good performance for 2009. I'm very happy about my new team mates Francesco and Matthew who both have a strong record in motor racing."

Francesco Sini: "I'm really happy about this outstanding opportunity to drive the whole Le Mans Series 2009 with KSM. Hardy Schiller and Kai Kruse have done everything to get me on board. During the long winter break I already had the opportunity to do a 24h indoor kart race together with Hardy and Kai, something which was very nice and also very important for our team-building process. I'm sure we will have fun and success in the new season."

Matthew Marsh: "At the test drive in Magny Cours I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the German KSM team. They know what they are doing and go about their business without drama. The 30 laps which I did with the KSM Lola Mazda were something special. After years of experiencing about 1.5 g-force in a Porsche and other GT cars I found 2.4 g quite exciting!"

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 20th Sept 2008: The last race - the last point

The preparation phase for the last round of the Le Mans Series started with a test at the German Hockenheimring, during which the team gathered a lot of valuable information, but unfortunately the test ended with an engine failure. There was not enough time left to change the engine at the team's workshop in Siegburg, so the Kruse Schiller Motorsport team travelled earlier than planned to Silverstone to change the engine at the British racetrack on Wednesday. The following shake-down at Stowe on Thursday proved that all systems were OK and that everything was in order for the practice sessions to come.

From a technical point of view all 3 free practice sessions, the qualifying and the race itself passed uneventfully: the car and the Mazda engine ran like clockwork. There were problems with the set-up of the car and the tyres, so really quick lap times could not be achieved. The quickest lap time of the first free practice session was 1:43.236 (11th place in LMP2). During the rather rainy 2nd free practice session the team scored a much better result, a lap time of 2:18.967 was a fine 5th place in LMP2 class - the set-up and the tyres worked much better in rainy conditions. Unfortunately the rest of the weekend was rather dry...

Jean de Pourtales was at the wheel of the Lola Mazda during Saturday's qualifying session and with a quickest lap time of 1:38.417 he scored a 12th place in class, 25th overall on the grid. A better result would have been possible: during his last lap he achieved personal best times in the first and second sectors of the track, but a small problem in the third sector prevented a better grid position.

Race day came - and there were more than 50,000 spectators, a new record number. Never before was a Le Mans Series round attended by so many people - for sure, one of the reasons was the championship showdown between Audi and Peugeot. Even the weather was brilliant - and regular Silverstone visitors know that this can be completely different in England in late summer.

The race itself offered a lot of excitement, not only for the spectators, but also for the drivers. The KSM drivers Jean de Pourtales and Hideki Noda both had some exciting moments in the dense traffic on the Silverstone race track, especially when overtaking the slower GT cars. Both drivers did a fine job and stayed out of trouble which couldn't be taken for granted. The French Peugeot team had the painful experience that these manoeuvres can go really wrong. The KSM pit stop strategy was once again very good and worked out especially fine when the safety cars were on track.

The Kruse Schiller Lola Mazda ended up in 8th position in class and took the last championship point. The team had of course hoped for more, but as they had to leave so often empty-handed during this season one point is better than no point.

Hardy Schiller: "I went to England with a positive feeling. I was actually hoping for a top 6 position. During the practice sessions we had to realize that we had similar problems with the tyres as at the Nürburgring: we simply didn't get the front tyres to work. As a result our drivers had to deal with strong understeering. Other than this our race was trouble-free and once again the team did excellent pit stops - thanks a lot to the whole team for this."

Kai Kruse: "Finishing the race in Silverstone and scoring a championship point was at least a placatory end for this season. It's no secret that we are not at all happy with our results of the 2008 LMS season - overall this was beyond our expectations. On the one hand our competitors were much stronger than expected and on the other hand we did not find the right balance between driver, the set-up and the tyres; something we will need to improve during the winter time. I'm positive about our team. We started this season relatively late and had a lot of setbacks but the team always managed to bring the Lola Mazda with a good reliability back on track."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 21st August 2008: KSM finishes at the Nürburgring

For the first time since the 1000 km race in Monza the KSM Lola Mazda crossed the finish line - and because of a major problem this was questionable until the end.

During the free practice sessions and the qualifying session the car showed excellent reliability and ran like clockwork - but unfortunately the team could not get the tyres up to temperature which made Jean de Pourtales and Hideki Noda's job rather difficult and left them with only moderate lap times. With a quickest lap time of 1:47,233 the team finished in 26th position (12th in class) overall in the qualifying session.

Race day came and the weather was excellent - regular Nürburgring visitors know that this can sometimes be different. Despite the fact that the start/finish area is a large construction site at the moment, the atmosphere was good and more than 20,000 spectators were watching this race. After an uneventful warm-up and a good start, Hideki made an early pit stop after 7 laps because of difficulties with the handling of the car - he assumed it was a problem with the tyres. After a check he was quickly sent back on track.

From then on everything was running according to plan, but regular LMS spectators know that recent races of the KSM team were rather ill-fated - and bad luck followed them once again. During the second regular pit stop they found out that the clutch had failed, and although they could continue to race it meant that the drivers had to use the starter engine to get the car back on track after each pit stop - a time-consuming procedure. The car lasted and at least KSM could finish the race - they had of course hoped for a better position.

Nürburgring

1000 km Nürburgring: Hideki Noda at the wheel

In the end, after 172 laps it was a 21st position overall (11th in class) and the quickest race lap was 1:48,094. The team is now looking forward to the next and final round of the 2008 LMS season at Silverstone.

Hardy Schiller: "On the one hand this 11th position in class was much less than we expected; on the other hand it was important to finish the race, especially after events in Spa Francorchamps and Le Mans. The practice sessions did not go well, because we actually lost the first two free practice sessions trying to get the new Dunlop tyres to work, but without success. For the third free practice session we decided on the type of tyres previously used and our lap times then got better. However, the tyre situation did not allow us quick laps during the qualifying session. Our race speed was basically OK, but unfortunately the clutch release bearing failed after about one third of the race. As a consequence we lost plenty of time when restarting the car after the pit stops. The whole team did a great job and I would like to say thank you for that."

Kai Kruse: "Of course it was nice to see the finish line again after such a long time, but the result was of course below our expectations, especially after all the positive preparations we had. We did not get the tyres to work properly which made the driving for Hideki and Jean very difficult; but in the circumstances they both did a good job. Our lap times during the race were good, we were competitive and could have scored some championship points. The clutch problem was caused by the failure of a small part which is of course very annoying. Apart from that I have to thank the team for the good pit stops and for the reliability of the car which ran fine, except the clutch problem."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 8th August 2008: Kruse Schiller Motorsport is looking forward to the home race

The 4th round of the Le Mans Series will be the traditional 1000 km race at the German Nürburgring held from 15th - 17th August 2008. The track is less than 60 miles away from our workshop in Siegburg and naturally we are looking forward to our home race with excitement.

The progress of the season has definitely not met our expectations, especially when looking back to the accidents which we had at the last LMS round in Spa Francorchamps and at the 24h of Le Mans. During the 8 week long summer break we had intensive preparations for the next 2 rounds of the LMS. Our Lola Mazda LMP2 has been completely rebuilt and we also enhanced the car in the areas of weight and damping. At a test facility in England the Öhlins shock absorbers were modified to match the characteristics of the new Dunlop tyre constructions. These modifications were then successfully tested at the Eurospeedway in Germany. Our regular drivers Hideki Noda and Jean de Pourtales as well as 2 Italian talents did approx. 600 kilometres without any problems. During this test we developed some new setups which will allow us to meet the track characteristics of the Nürburgring.

Eurospeedway

Our test at the Eurospeedway in Germany

Hardy Schiller: "The summer break was good for all of us - the 2 weeks immediately after Le Mans with the heavy accident of Hideki was used for recreation. Having our batteries recharged we then started to prepare the car and achieved some major steps in development which were tested at the Eurospeedway. We are confident that these steps will lead in the right direction and therefore I'm really looking forward to our home race at the Nürburgring."

Kai Kruse: "This summer break was really needed! With the first 3 LMS rounds, the 24h of Le Mans and our test days we had an intensive first half of the year. Regrettably our efforts have not been rewarded yet. After a short break we continued to work intensively on our Lola Mazda to improve the car. The level of competition in the LMS is extremely high now and requires constant improvements from the team. Standstill means that you will actually fall behind your competitors and I hope that our development steps will be big enough to keep up with the pace of the strong competition. In some areas we are already making preparations for the 2009 season. We have a great team of engineers and mechanics and we are all fully motivated for our home race at the Nürburgring - we're happy that the season continues!"

Hideki Noda: "I'm happy that the season continues and after my accident in Le Mans it was good to drive the car again prior to the race at the Nürburgring. The team is doing a good job and the car has been improved - it's just that until now we were not very lucky. We hope that this will change and that we can achieve a good result at the Nürburgring."

Jean de Pourtales: "I'm confident that our efforts will be rewarded soon. The changes we did prior to the last tests are positive, as well as the reliability of the Lola and especially of the Mazda engine. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

17th June 2008: The Spirit of Le Mans

Scrutineering and practice

Teams like KSM are "the spirit of Le Mans" - this comment on Eurosport during their Saturday evening broadcast about us was at least a reward for our effort to get the car on the grid for the start of the 24 hours of Le Mans. "Heroes of the weekend" - that title was awarded to us by Radio Le Mans - sounds great, but let's start with the beginning...

24h of Le Mans

Although Jean Francois Yvon had been the driver during the official test day on 1st June we had decided for Danish driver Allan Simonsen as a 3rd pilot for the 24h of Le Mans. After a successful technical inspection of the car on the Place du Jacobin in Le Mans city centre, the first practice session on Wednesday saw our Lola Mazda with a best lap time of 3:47.802 on the track. Shortly thereafter, the car stopped at the pit because of a broken clutch less than 10 minutes before the end of the first qualifying session. What followed was a lengthly repair, meaning that we missed almost the complete first hour of the second practice session.

24h of Le Mans

Approx. 30 minutes before midnight and the end of the night session: Hideki was on his in-lap when the car hit the curbs in the Dunlop Chicane and got airborne. After flipping over 8 times our Lola - or what was left of it - finally came to a standstill in the gravel - with some debris still falling down from the sky. After a few seconds which seemed endless to all observers finally Hideki started to move and was able to leave the car on his own and walked around it - a big relief for all of us. While Hideki was taken to the hospital for a medical check the remains of the car were collected and brought back to the garage.

Video: See Hideki's accident on YouTube, 3:21 Min.

The 48 hour race

To say the car was damaged when it was brought back to the pits would be the understatement of the year - it was a wreck! Most people who saw the accident and the car after it were sure that our place on the grid on Saturday would be empty. After removing what little was left of the bodywork and the suspension, an inspection of the chassis revealed damage to the front left section.

24h of Le Mans

The Lola track support immediately formed a "special task force" and came to assist, inspections and discussions started and around noon on Thursday it was finally clear that both the A.C.O. and the chassis manufacturer Lola gave their OK for a repair, so we could start the Herculean task to rebuild the car. We got full support from all our partners, and Lola boss Martin Birrane visited our garage and asked whether we needed more help. The 48 hour race to get the car running until Saturday morning warm up began - sleep during the night - hey, what's that?

24h of Le Mans

The complete rebuild of the car left us of course with almost no spares for the race - any bodywork for example damaged during the 24 would need to be taped. Fortunately we didn't have to worry about the engine - the one which was planned for the race hadn't been built in before the accident. Finally we won - and the applause from the grandstands when our car with Hideki Noda at the wheel made it out of the pit lane on Saturday morning was a great, overwhelming experience and the emotional highlight of the weekend.

On this occasion we'd like to say a big thank you to all our partners who worked with us so hard to get the car back on track - the Lola track support, the technicians from Project Seven and many others, but most of all our crew of mechanics who did a fabulous job.

The 24 hour race

24h of Le Mans

After the warm-up we discovered that some more repairs were needed but we finally managed to take our place on the grid. For the first couple of hours the car actually ran trouble-free - almost impossible to believe after what had happened in the last 3 days. Going for maximum speed would not have been the wisest thing to do in our situation, so we opted for a moderate pace. Getting to the finish line was our first priority. Our car could keep up well with the pace of the quickest GT1 cars and at one stage Allan Simonson was able to do a 3:46,061, our quickest lap of the weekend.

After the first hour we ran in 39th position, after 2 hours it was 34th position, after 4 hours the hourly ACO report listed us in 28th position and we were already advancing further when a problem with the gear selection system led to losing 5th gear. This is normally not a problem if it happens shortly before the end of the race because you can usually continue with the remaining gears. As it was still early in the race we decided to repair the gearbox. About 50 minutes were lost but finally the car was back on track. Some more problems occurred, but none of them as time consuming as the gearbox saga.

It was dark - really dark - on Sunday morning at 02:33 when disaster struck for a last time and Jean had to stop the car on the circuit after Mulsanne corner after the car produced a large cloud of smoke. It came to a halt in the infield, actually at a point of the track which was as far away from the pit as possible. The transmission had failed.

24h of Le Mans

Jean drives with a left arm prosthesis. Single-handed with the steering wheel still fixed to his artificial hand he removed the rear bodywork and tried to fix the transmission problem. Later he radioed back to the pit for help. But there was nothing which could be done to get the car back on track - a drive chain between engine and gearbox had failed completely.

The car was stranded in the infield at a place which could not be accessed by road, so 2 hours after it stopped Jean had to walk for about 15 minutes through the woods to make it back to the pit lane - the game was finally over.

Well, you may imagine that after these events it is quite hard to find a positive last sentence for this report but at least we experienced what a great team we are together with our partners - we never gave up!

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 6th June 2008: Kruse Schiller Motorsport is looking forward to the 24h of Le Mans with excitement

The weekend of 14th - 15th July will see the 76th edition of the world's most famous endurance race, the "24 Heures du Mans". After a somewhat mixed season the team from Siegburg led by Hardy Schiller and Kai Kruse with their LMP2 Lola Mazda is looking forward to this event with excitement. Two very positive tests in Magny Cours and at the test day in Le Mans gave the team a lot of confidence for the race. Both the Lola B07/46 chassis as well as the Mazda MZR-R engine showed the sort of reliability which will play a decisive role in a 24 hour race. During the rather difficult weather on the test day the team used successfully different mixtures and designs of Dunlop tyres. Speed isn't the most important factor for success at Le Mans; it's highly reliable technology, excellent pit stops - KSM was one of the quickest teams in this discipline during the 2008 season - and of course a highly experienced and quick team of drivers. Hideki Noda, Jonathan Kennard, Jean de Pourtales and Allan Simonsen are just that and all of them know that such a race cannot be won in the first corner. Another important factor is the ability to adapt to changing weather conditions as quick as possible. The pressure on both machinery and men will be enormous and we are looking forward to this challenge with excitement.

Kai Kruse: "It is difficult to describe Le Mans. This will be my 3rd participation there and I know how it is to be in the lead, to finish the race or to retire. This race is hard to understand for someone who hasn't been there yet, but whoever finishes it or even wins there has in my opinion climbed the Mount Everest of motor sport. Nowhere else is the team effort of such importance; to take the drivers, the technicians and the car to the limit and to handle it is a great feeling."

Hardy Schiller: I have seen some 24 hour races myself as a driver, both on motorcycles and in cars, but I have not been to Le Mans yet and I'm really looking forward to the race. Our mechanics did a good job preparing the car and we all worked with great care and precision during our preparations, which gives me a positive feeling. It's important that all team members and especially the drivers do a good job and not try to push things too hard. But I think, Jean, Hideki and Allan are well aware of this and will show an excellent performance. If everything runs according to plan, we'll have a good result!"

Jean de Pourtales: "Le Mans is the highlight of the season, so everyone is focussed on it and for me as a Frenchman it is my home game. After last year's retirement I think I have something to show here. The test day has been very important; especially because we learned how to cope with all sorts of weather. As far as our race speed is concerned I'm confident, but the most important thing is to make it through the night and get ourselves into a good position for the end of the race."

Hideki Noda: "This will be my first race at Le Mans and I hope it will be one of the highlights of my career! The team has worked hard in the last weeks and the Lola Mazda has been improved in many areas. I'm feeling really good, both with the team and in the car. A lot of friends and guests from Japan will come to keep fingers crossed for me and the team, so I will do my best during race week to finish with a good result on Sunday."

Allan Simonsen: "I'm happy that I finally found a chance to participate in Le Mans in the most famous 24 hours race, after my initial team withdrew. And I'm even happier to be with such a professional and strong team as KSM. Since 2004 the winning chassis in LMP2 has been a Lola, and Mazda has built together with AER a very strong engine which ran fine during the last races. Together with the support from Dunlop I see a good chance to make it together with Jean and Hideki to the podium."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

1st June 2008 - Test day for the 24h of Le Mans

The weather conditions were very difficult - the track changed a lot from wet to dry and back to wet again. However, all our drivers did their laps at a good pace - altogether we did 614 kilometers without any problems. Our truck and the car will stay in Le Mans; now it's waiting until Tuesday 10th June when our car has to pass the technical inspection in the city centre of Le Mans.

Test day in Le Mans

© Deborah Dudley

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

10th May 2008: KSM waives start at Spa Francorchamps

The LMP qualifying session was just 5 minutes old when our car with Jean at the wheel hit the barriers at the first left-hander after Rivage. Luckily Jean escaped unharmed. Immediately after the car was brought back to the pits it was found that the monocoque was damaged. After a thorough inspection of the car together with the A.C.O. and technicians from the chassis manufacturer Lola we found that the chassis could not be repaired on site and that we had to waive the start of the race. We had all worked very hard to prepare the car for the qualifying and the race, so this was of course very disappointing for the whole team, but when it comes to safety, we will never make any compromises!

Now it's time for rolling up our sleeves and getting the car ready for the next important event, the test day for the 24 hours of Le Mans on 1st June.

1000 km Monza 2008

1000 km Spa Francorchamps 2008: Sadly our Lola-Mazda, Lola-Judd had to stay in the garage.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 28/04/2008: Positive result for Kruse Schiller Motorsport in Monza.

A 6th place in the LMP2 class and a 13th place in the overall LMS score was a first reward for the hard work done in the last 2 months by the only German privateer sports car team in the LMS. The Team from Siegburg with its drivers Jean de Pourtales and Hideki Noda had a trouble-free race, in which the fight for positions in each class was fierce. Despite some minor problems during the practice the Lola Mazda ran like clockwork. A slightly hectic situation arose when shortly before the car was about to take its grid position a faulty gearbox sensor had to be changed, meaning that Jean de Pourtales had to start the car from the pit lane in last position. Newly hired race engineer Johannes Gruber was able to improve the set-up of the car step by step over the weekend; some more technical changes should lead to another increase in performance in the next race in Spa Francorchamps. Other highlights of the weekend were a 5th place in the warm up session and a 6th overall place in the "Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge" for the car with the best fuel consumption. There is now little time left until the start of the 1000 km in Spa Francorchamps which, along with the 1000 km Nürburgring, is the team's 2nd home race of the season: the Belgian race track is just about 80 miles away from the team's workshop in Siegburg near Cologne.

1000 km Monza 2008

1000 km Monza 2008: Race action

Hideki Noda: "It's good that we have scored our first championship points after all the work and the short time for preparation. Although we had some minor issues during the practice sessions the team has put a quick and reliable package together for me and Jean, the pit stops were very good; I'd like to say thank you to the team for this. I couldn't reach 100% performance in my triple stint because my seat started to move, having some effect on my left foot and the braking I hope we can maintain this performance in Spa and probably catch up even more."

Jean de Pourtales: "That was a hard piece of work! I had some good fights during my 4 stints but also some critical moments when overtaking the slower GT cars. The Mazda engine played a decisive role to achieve a result on this high speed race track in Monza: our tops speeds were very good. The same applies to the set-up; we are really on track now. The handling of the car in both Lesmo curves was excellent and it was fun to be able to stick to the Audis and Peugeots right there. It was really fun today and I'm optimistic that we can improve further."

Hardy Schiller: "We were already a little bit in doubt concerning some issues so we all felt relieved after this race. The team, including Jean and Hideki showed a strong performance. With the short time for preparation, the confirmation of our participation just on 12th February, getting over the car from the United States and the modifications at the Lola factory to install the new engine I think we did a good job for such a short time and I'm proud of it. We have to keep going to score a similar result at Spa."

Kai Kruse: "Despite a little misunderstanding concerning the pit stop strategy which lost us approx. 20 seconds and the fact that we had to start out of the pit lane, our race was very good. I'd like thank our partners Mazda, Lola, AER and Dunlop for their support. Another big thank you goes to the team which did some wonderful pit stops today and to our new engineer who really made big steps forward concerning our structure and the set up. It has become obvious that the LMP2 group has become a 2-class society: with the current performance we would have scored a 2nd place in last years race. Now there are Porsche teams in LMP2 which spent at least a 3-4 times higher budget, which is even more than some LMP1 teams do. This is a development which really concerns me as I think that this is against the spirit of the regulations which outline the LMP2 as a class for privateers."

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

Press Release 23/04/2008: Kruse Schiller Motorsport expects first result in Monza.

After the team from Siegburg didn't make it to the finish 3 weeks ago in Barcelona, they are quite optimistic that with some technical as well as organisational changes a first finish in Monza can be achieved. Some changes to the car were necessary and this should result in more reliability.

Although there was little time since Barcelona the team managed to schedule a test at the German Lausitzring which led to further important findings. Another quick roll-out on Monday served as a last functional check and on Tuesday the team truck started the journey to Monza.

Barcelona 2008 race action

1000 km Barcelona 2008: Race action

Hardy Schiller: "Barcelona was of course a big disappointment for us. Together with our partners Mazda, AER and Lola we had worked very hard in the last weeks to ensure the reliability of our Lola Mazda and I'm very optimistic now. Regrettably I will not be in Monza before Saturday as I will start as a driver at the German long distance championship at the Nürburgring, so I hope that I will have 2 opportunities to be successful at the weekend."

Kai Kruse: "We didn't expect a gearbox failure at Barcelona, a finish would have been a nice thing after the short time we had for preparation, but I'm very optimistic because we have the speed to compete with the others and I'm sure we can also improve in that area. Everyone saw how the last year's championship winners performed in the race as well as in practice - and where we stood in practice compared to that. Our first priority is of course to finish, the rest will follow."

Jean de Pourtales: "The Lola is great to drive and the Mazda engine is really strong - but of course all this doesn't help if we don't finish. Last year I scored a 5th place in Monza, it would be great to catch up with that result."

Hideki Noda: "We were fully aware that our time for preparation for Barcelona was short so we were cautious in our expectations. Since then I saw that a lot of work has been put into the car so I think that we can be successful in Monza. I'm really looking forward to it!"

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

4th - 6th April 2008: 1000 km Barcelona, Spain - First round of the Le Mans Series

The very first race for a new team with a new car - it's fair to assume that there was a lot of excitement and anticipation in the air when we took off for the long journey from Germany to Spain. The first day at the track saw 2 free practice sessions and things started to look good. With a new car and just 330 test kilometres Jean scored a 1:40.602 lap in the first free practice and Hideki did an almost identical 1:40.843 lap in the second practice - both times we were able to do a lot of laps and finished in 9th position out of 15 cars - not too bad for a first day. Saturday's third free practice saw an 8th position with a 1:37.359 lap from Jean and this 8th place was also the result when it came to the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.

Soon afterwards we diagnosed some minor hiccups from the engine and changed it as a precautionary measure. After all the weeks of hard work and late nights our grid position was a fine reward and we felt well prepared for the race to come.

1000 km Barcelona

1000 km Barcelona 2008: Ready for the first LMS round

And race day came, but unfortunately it turned out less good than the practice days. We were just 14 laps into the race when oil and water temperature accelerated somewhat but we were able to track the reason and cutting down some revs solved this issue - but made us of course a little bit slower. About 2 hours later our gearshift system started to lose pressure, making gear changes somewhat more difficult and finally one cover of the gearbox casing got damaged which ended the show for us.

Lesson learned: We had good out-of-the-box speed in Barcelona, no reason to worry about performance, but there is some work concerning reliability to do on the engine as well as the gearbox. Monza is the next round and we will work hard to score a better result there.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

20th - 21st March 2008: First test drives in Magny-Cours, France

Magny Cours

First test in Magny-Cours - Jean de Pourtales leaves the garage

From 20th to 21st March 2008 we did a first track test with the newly installed Mazda MZR engine. In the previous 2 weeks the car had been at the Lola factory in England, where the new engine and the latest aerodynamic updates were installed. On Thursday 19th March at 01.00 a.m. we left the Lola Factory in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and travelled directly to Magny-Cours in France. With temperatures in the range from -2 °C to max. 5 °C it wasn't exactly a warm welcome that we received there and during the second test day there was some heavy rainfall. Together with us on the track were Speedy Garage, Essex, Oreca, Pescarolo, Saulnier, Luccini and Creation. During the 2 test days we collected valuable information and made 3 important findings:

For a very first outing this was normal, we were quite satisfied with the lap times which Jean and Hideki achieved and we are now looking forward to the first race in Barcelona. Despite our extremely tight schedule everything is on track and we expect to see the finish line in Barcelona - and of course scoring some championship points would make us extremely happy. For more pictures about our test in Magny-Cours please have a look at our photo galleries.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

7th March 2008: Kruse Schiller Motorsport is looking forward to the 2008 season

After the presentation of the 2008 Le Mans Series and 24h Le Mans entry list it was confirmed that the new German team KSM will participate in the most successful endurance race series in Europe. The team which is based in Siegburg (Cologne area) is run by Leonhard "Hardy" Schiller and Kai Kruse.

The team will enter a latest spec Lola B07/46 in the LMP2 class powered by the Mazda MZR engine which is designed and developed by the most successful LMP2 engine supplier AER. The car is shoed by Dunlop tyres.

On the driver side the team is very happy to have two quick and experienced drivers on board. Jean de Pourtales, who drove in the Series and at 24h Le Mans last year, is looking for better results than in 2007. His partner will be ex Formula 1 driver and 2007 Japanese Le Mans Series Champion Hideki Noda. The team decided to go for a two driver line up which gives the best options for race strategies for the 6hr and 1000 km long races at Barcelona, Monza, Spa, Nürburgring and Silverstone. Currently the team is looking for another experienced and quick driver for the 24h Le Mans, which will be the season highlight for all sportscar fans.

Hardy Schiller: "We are happy to join the series which will be a new experience for me. I am confident in the structure we built up and together with my partner Kai, the engineering department which will be led by Roger Parks, our drivers Jean and Hideki and the strong suppliers, we are looking forward to a great season with our Mazda powered Lola car!"

Kai Kruse: "I am very happy and proud to be a part of the Le Mans Series family again. It was a tough winter as we all had to wait longer than expected for the entry decisions. I am confident that this is the best package I was ever involved in since 2005. The Le Mans Series organisation and the ACO have done a great job in the last years and again the quality of the grid improved. So it will be a very tough competition and that is what we are looking for - with a good end result for us hopefully."

Jean de Pourtales: "It's nice to be back in the Le Mans Series and the 24h of Le Mans. I think the team have set up a good package and I can' t wait for the first laps I will do in the next days. I am also looking forward to driving with Hideki and I think together we can get some good results!"

Hideki Noda: "After racing for 2 seasons in the Japanese Le Mans Series and winning the championship I am looking forward to come back to Europe for the next step. The meeting with the team at Lola in England gave me full confidence and I was sure that this is the team I want to drive for. It will be a good competition in the LMP2 class this season and together with Jean and the support of our partners I think we will have a great season!"

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

19th February 2008: Kruse Schiller Motorsport gets entry at the 24 hours of Le Mans

Today the organizer of the 24h of Le Mans published the list of the 55 entrants for the 2008 event. Saturday 14th June 3:00 pm will see a total of 55 cars on the grid - 20 cars in the LMP1 class, 12 in LMP2, 10 GT1s and 13 in GT2 class. Among the chosen ones is our Lola Mazda which will carry our usual start no. 44 at "La Sarthe". For further information and the full entry list please see the A.C.O. press release.

Kruse Schiller Motorsport

11th February 2008: A.C.O. releases 2008 Le Mans Series entry list

The list of 50 full season entries for the Le Mans Series has been released today - and the Kruse Schiller Lola-Mazda, Lola-Judd is on it! The majority of the list are prototypes with a very strong field of 15 cars in the LMP2 class. We will compete against 3 Porsche RS Spyders, 2 Embassy-Judds, 2 Zyteks, a Pescarolo-Judd, the Lucchini-Judd, the WR-Zytek, the Bruichladdich Radical AER, the RML MG Lola, the Speedy Racing Lola-Judd Coupé and the Quifel-ASM Lola-AER. For the full list of entrants and an overview about the races of the 2008 Le Mans Series please see the LMS website.