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Country of origin:Great Britain
Produced in:2008
Designed by:Peter Elleray for Embassy Racing
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:May 26, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionAn 'easy' way to get into international sportscar racing is purchasing a complete car from a specialized manufacturer like Lola or Courage. In recent years several of the privateer team have modified and rebuilt their racing cars to the extent that they qualify as new manufacturers. The latest of these is Embassy Racing, although they have taken quite a few shortcuts to field their first self-built prototype racer within a year after making their international racing debut. In fact the plan to build their own car was already floating around before fielding the team's Radical SR9 in the 2007 Le Mans Series. Leaving little to chance and underlining his ambition, team founder Jonathan France assembled a 'dream team' of designers, engineers and drivers.

Possibly the most important task of designing the car was given to Peter Elleray. He had previously penned the Le Mans winning Bentley and the Radical SR9, which proved super-quick despite never being tested in the wind tunnel. During 2007, Elleray penned an elegant and very low shape that is somewhat reminiscent of the Radical. Underneath the body panels, the carbon fibre chassis and double wishbone suspension followed conventional lines. The chassis was designed and crash tested to LMP1 specification, but the team decided to run in the LMP2 class for privateers. To propel the WF01 (named after Jonathan France's son William), Embassy Racing signed a deal with Zytek. Their Naturally Aspirated V8 engine had just taken a one-two at Le Mans in the LMP2 class, so it was a sensible choice.

While the team was out racing the Radical SR9 across Europe and even in South America, the preparations for the 2008 season were well under way. Long before the first tub ws available, the engineers were already building the electric system to make sure it was all set for installation once assembly started. Adding to the rising pressure was the fact that France intended to run two cars from the start of the season. The final few months proved particularly frustrating as several of the part suppliers had problems delivering the parts. This delayed the team to such an extent that the two cars were barely tested before they were shipped to Barcelona for the opening race of the 2008 Le Mans Series. Nevertheless the new-born constructor did manage to get both cars completed in time for the first, which given the conditions was quite an achievement.

In what was basically a very public test session, the two Zytek engined WF01s made steady progress throughout the weekend. Unfortunately the race was cut short after a steering component failed on one car. The second car was withdrawn as a precaution. Next up was the Monza round, which saw the faster of the two Embassy cars moved up to third in class towards the end of the race. Unfortunately the car ground to a halt with less than thirty minutes to go. The other WF01 finished eighth in class and picked up the first point for the new manufacturer. The third 1000 km race of the season was at the always popular Spa track and again the Embassy showed great progress. The race on the other was a frustrating affair as the #46 car got punted off in the warm-up lap and the #45 machine retired with a similar problem as in Monza.

The next big appointment for the young team is the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June for which one of the cars has received an invitation. If the reliability bugs can be ironed, the manufacturer could very well make a startling debut at the legendary track. Embassy Racing is a welcome addition to European sportscar racing; not in the least bit because of the fabulous 'Embassy Girls' that roam about the paddock.

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  Article Image gallery (42) Specifications