Former Grand Prix driver Christian Klien has been announced as Aston Martin’s sixth factory driver for its 2011 Le Mans Series championship season, after the Austrian failed to secure the final race seat at HRT F1 – which went to Vitantonio Liuzzi – from whom he had driven in selected races last year.
Klien will join the likes of Adrian Fernandes, Andy Meyrick, Stefan Mucke, Harold Primat and Darren Turner in the team’s driving roster, where he will pair up with Mucke and Turner at the Le Mans 24 Hours and other selected events. Klien will drive the carmaker’s AMR-One contender, its new LPM1 class machine.
Klien had previously driven for the works Peugeot squad in the Le Mans Series, finishing third in the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours and posting the fastest lap at the race the following year.
“Having competed in three F1 races in 2010, I wanted to continue to race with a team that gave me consistency, at the top level of motorsport,” Klien is quoted as part of the announcement.
“I decided that the best opportunity to give me a focus and to retain my independence was to compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans with Aston Martin Racing and at selected other races in the LMP1 category as a full factory works driver.
“During my very first visit to Aston Martin Racing, I was immediately impressed, feeling the spirit and passion of their long association with Le Mans as former GT1 winners of the 24-hour race. I am looking forward to racing for a team that is established and is internationally renowned with such a racing pedigree.”
“Christian brings a wealth of race expertise to the team with his background in F1 and in particular Le Mans,” added team boss George Howard-Chappell. “I think he will be a great team player, and I am confident he will be a fantastic addition to Aston Martin Racing in our first year with the new AMR-One.”
[Original image via LAT]