Bugatti tests: day 1 Quality trumps quantity! This is certainly the case at today's test session on the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, a place so steeped in history that you can almost taste it in the air. Although only a few teams are ...
Bugatti tests: day 1
Quality trumps quantity! This is certainly the case at today's test session on the Bugatti circuit in Le Mans, a place so steeped in history that you can almost taste it in the air. Although only a few teams are participating, there has been no shortage of excitement on the track throughout the three classes.
Team Pescarolo Sport enjoyed running at their home track whereas Team Essex demonstrated very promising signs of reliability and high speed and Patrick Dempsey debuted in the very competitive GT2 class.
Although a bright sunshine, a few red flags due to track cleaning-off have slightly thwarted the teams' work schedules.
Hectic Le Mans
The mere mention of Le Mans conjures up images of exhausted drivers keeping the pace through the night by the glare of other cars' headlights, steeling them on until daylight breaks, and the race's end approaches.
Nothing of the kind was expected this weekend, as the test session doesn't last 24 Hours! But still, a few teams decided to work on long runs to test the reliability of their cars for the up-coming round-the-clock race in June as well as tre 1000 Km of Spa. Moreover, tire manufacturers jumped at the chance to double-stint to test their product's durability as today's weather conditions could be similar to those in June.
In the pits, the teams could practice refuelling and changing tires under simulated race conditions. The new 2009 regulation regarding tires changes should increase the amount of time needed to change tires as the teams use less equipment and fewer technicians, but it is obvious that team personnel have trained hard to comply with the new rules while losing as little time as possible in the pits.
Three classes sharing the same goal
If today's main goal was not to break lap-times records, Team Pescarolo Sport and Team Essex posted the best times in LMP1 and LMP2 respectively ... not surprisingly. The brand-new Pescarolo has demonstrated that it is as reliable as the former car, but much faster, taking second place in Barcelona.
In 2008 the LMP2 Porsche RS Spyder won the Grand Slam in the Le Mans Series and took the victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Team Essex second, so in the capable hands of the Danish team, it has once again shown that it is a formidable opponent in its class.
No car has eventually shown up in the GT1 class, whereas the GT2 class has been highly competitive. All teams had similar priorities as they are newcomers in the series or almost; Team Hankook-Farnbacher has run last year, but with another tire partner. As there will be no rehearsal two weeks before the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, it is very important for the teams to familiarize their drivers, mechanics and engineers to the car and to the track, like the actor Patrick Dempsey.
"This is so great to be here," Patrick Dempsey commented. "We have a strong team, hopefully strong to win. You need time to get used to the car and to the track, but my lap-times got better and better and I tried to be consistent. I am looking forward to the 24 Hours. It is so moving to be part of the history!"
Formula Le Mans
The Formula Le Mans has joined the Le Mans Series for the first time before the highly expected grand opening at Spa. The new prototype proved to be very competitive, running slightly slower than the LMP2s.
The second Test session is scheduled for Sunday, April 26, from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on the 4.185-km Bugatti circuit.