Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT returns to racing with fifth fastest lap time in qualifying
17 April 2004 -- The Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT returned to the track this weekend at the FIA GT championship in Valencia for its first race of 2004 and quickly displayed promising form among strong competition. Development drivers, Oliver Gavin and Peter Kox, both produced strong performances from the car in the practice and qualifying sessions and the team will line up fifth on the grid for tomorrow's race.
The extensive development work undertaken by Reiter Engineering over the winter was immediately evident with the No.29 Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT posting the fifth quickest time in the first practice session on Friday in heavy rain conditions. Set up changes for the afternoon improved the car further, resulting in Dutchman, Peter Kox, posting the fastest time of the day in the second session, as the heavy rain continued.
In the first qualifying session the Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT proved to be as strong in the dry as it is in wet conditions, with this new sports racing car finishing third fastest with a lap of 1 minute 32.537, just over one second behind the provisional pole sitter. In the second session, although the team was unable to improve on their morning times, they continued to gain valuable data for the race.
The Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT, jointly developed by Automobili Lamborghini and Reiter Engineering utilising the expertise of Audi Sport, is eligible for racing in FIA GT and ACO-governed series and cars are currently being preparing for competition in championships around the world. The car, together with a customer support programme, has been designed to provide an exciting, but affordable, customer racing package.
The duo of Peter Kox and Oliver Gavin last drove for Reiter Engineering in the final round of the FIA GT championship in 2001, racing in a Lamborghini Diablo R-GT and finishing fifth on that occasion.
"For me the car is as fast as we expected - it is a big step forward, and our fifth place on the grid shows just how much development has been put into the car. Most of the car's development was done over the winter and we were not so lucky with the weather, so we have had more wet weather experience than dry. This weekend, in the dry, we have been able to identify more areas of improvement including the handling of the car, and there is a lot of potential in the car which we're gradually exploiting. For tomorrow, we're optimistic and will try to go as quickly as possible and have a good race."
"We're heading in the right direction with the set up of the car, although I found that the car in the dry was more unstable on entry into the corners. The traction was still very good, but, of course, we still have to work on things. We've been working with different set up options and in the afternoon, I think we did go in the right direction, perhaps this wasn't reflected in the times, but this maybe due to minor tyre issues, which should be resolvable.
The plan for tomorrow is to have as good a race as possible and to stay clean in the first few laps. It is very important to finish, and it will be a race of attrition, so we need to be there at the end. We know what we need to do, and the team will work hard tonight to be ready for another big test with this development programme, the first long-distance race for this car."
Manfred Fitzgerald, Lamborghini Marketing Manager,
"Before coming here if someone had told me we would be fifth fastest I would not have thought this or expected it. It has been a very positive start to the weekend, especially when we were fastest yesterday. Over the last two days we've proved that we have a highly competitive car. The level of competition is exceptionally high, so for us to be on the pace so quickly is particularly encouraging. Tomorrow it will be a long race, which we aim to finish, and finish well, to further prove the potential of the car."