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DAMS - still going ahead

JEAN-PAUL DRIOT of the DAMS Formula 3000 team says that he has not given up hope of entering F1 next year and is promising to have the Reynard-designed DAMS chassis up-and-running by September. The prototype is currently being built at the SNPE factory near Lille in northern France. This will be powered by a Ford ED engine and will use a proven gearbox.

This has been possible because last year DAMS commissioned X-Trac to build them a gearbox for the Ford ED V8 engine. When DAMS decided not to enter F1 in 1995, this project was lent to Minardi, which needed a gearbox for a Ford ED at short notice after its deal with Mugen Honda collapsed. The X-Trac unit has thus been running all year and should be well-sorted by the time DAMS begins testing.

Driot says that he would like to sign up three drivers: two racers and a tester and would prefer to have ex-DAMS men such as Erik Comas, Olivier Panis and current F3000 hotshoe Taso Marques. Driot reckons now is a good time to launch a French racing team as French sponsors are looking for places to invest and says that if he cannot put together an F1 team this year, he will quit the sport entirely and go back to his business as a trader in crude oil.

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