Series Le Mans Bugatti circuit test notes 2009-04-26

Bugatti Test: day 2 If yesterday looked like a warm-up session, today the teams have moved on to real business on the Bugatti circuit for the second day of testing, where the spectators could admire the rehearsing cars in bright sunshine. The...

Bugatti Test: day 2

If yesterday looked like a warm-up session, today the teams have moved on to real business on the Bugatti circuit for the second day of testing, where the spectators could admire the rehearsing cars in bright sunshine.

The teams took turns to top the timesheets, but Team Pescarolo Sport posted the best time of the four sessions. Barcelona provided a first glimpse of the classification, that both test days confirmed.

The test sessions and weather conditions gave the participants teams amble track access and the opportunity to be better prepared for the up-coming Le Mans Series races and the 24 Hours Le Mans.

Rehearsal throughout the three classes

Technical regulations and rules changes from last year have affected many areas: engines, tires, aero and equivalence between cars for example. All the teams must get used to the new regulation at the beginning of the season, and they needed a second test session to gain experience with the cars. This weekend provided an invaluable opportunity to test in near race conditions with traffic, but without race pressure.

This is the best way to get ready and collect data for the remaining races this season. It was not so surprising that most of the running teams had a brand-new or newly purchased car, are not full-year competitors in the Le Mans Series, or have series rookie drivers who needed a final rehearsal before Spa in May and Le Mans in June.

Similar work schedules for LMPs and GTs

Team Pescarolo Sport won the title in 2006, but it will campaign a new prototype in the 2009 season. One carbon-color car had been assembled before Barcelona, but the second one was not ready and used this test session as a shakedown. The best lap-time came as a reward for the team, as Henri Pescarolo said: "We didn't aim to post the best time. We gathered all what we have found out for two days and put a new set of tires. I think that we have determined a good set-up for Spa and it is always a pleasure to set the best time."

Also in the LMP1 class, Team Signature Plus has single-seater experience, but they are a newcomer in the Le Mans Series, so they are still exploring the potential of their Courage Oreca-Judd.

As for Speedy Racing Team Sebah, its Lola-Aston Martin is one year old, but the team bought it during the off-season and was in LMP2 only last year. The squad now runs in two classes and after a mixed race in Barcelona, the team needed to make sure that the LMP1, but also the LMP2, are reliable and competitive. They achieved their goal and chalked up the best time yesterday.

Team Essex should be accustomed to their Porsche RS Spyder as they ran it throughout the previous season, but the crew has been fully restructured during the off-season and Michelin now provides tires to the Danish team. Then G.A.C. Racing, formerly known as Trading Performance, needed to practice with the Zytek after a disappointing eighth place in Barcelona.

In the GT2 class, the four teams lack experience in the Le Mans Series for many reasons. As they are on the entry list of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Endurance China Team for example was eager to run at Le Mans before June and Team Drayson Racing is anxious to gain valuable experience in its debut season in the Le Mans Series. And lastly, Hankook, the South Korean tire manufacturer who partners with Team Farnbacher, needed to gather as much data as possible for its first time ever in Le Mans.

Meanwhile, the Formula Le Mans teams kept on setting the cars up, running as many laps as possible to get ready for the first race at Spa.

China has been honored

Francis Tjia entered the record book today, being the first winner ever in the new China Clio Cup by Renault. The race was thoroughly exciting for the spectators and challenging for the participants, despite a three-car crash at the beginning. Ma Chin Min and Paul Ip complemented the podium.

Next race is scheduled for Sunday, May 10 at Spa (Belgium).

-credit: lms

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Paul Ip , Francis Tjia