The team began its preparations for the 74th Le Mans 24 Hours in brilliant sunshine at the weekend. During the course of two official practice sessions, the team completed a total of 151 laps and worked on race set up and driver ...
The team began its preparations for the 74th Le Mans 24 Hours in brilliant sunshine at the weekend. During the course of two official practice sessions, the team completed a total of 151 laps and worked on race set up and driver familiarisation.
Five of the six Aston Martin Racing drivers took part in the test - Darren Turner being absent owing to his British Touring Car commitments. Turner made a sensational debut finishing 3rd and 5th in his first two races in the championship.
All drivers wishing to compete in the 24-hour race must complete 10 laps of the circuit in order to qualify. Turner is exempt from this requirement as he has raced at Le Mans three times previously.
The two Aston Martin Racing DBR9s posted the fastest lap times during the course of the day. Almost an hour was lost during the first session to two red flags. The number 007 has a trouble free first run but the number 009 car lost time after stopping at the Mulsanne corner with a problem early in the session with Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel. The problem was easily rectified in time for the second session, which was relatively trouble-free with no red flags.
Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell reflected on a satisfactory test: "I am particularly pleased with the performance of Andrea (Piccini) who is new to the team and Stephane (Ortelli) who is returning to the team after a year. We had a couple of unexpected problems with the 009 car but they were minor and better to happen now than in the race.
"The priority today was to get Andrea familiarised with the circuit and Stephane (Ortelli) re-acquainted with the DBR9. We understand the set up for the race a little better now and are looking forward to doing battle with our competitors."
Tomas Enge, who set a blistering qualifying lap at Le Mans last year, posted the GT1 class fastest time of the test day, 3:51.408 in the 007 car with team-mate Stephane Sarrazin close behind in the 009 car with a time of 3:52.664.
The team head back to the UK on Tuesday and will return to Le Mans on Monday 12th June to commence final preparations for the qualifying sessions to be held on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th June.
Car number 007
Tomas Enge (Czech Republic)
"The day went really well, it is a shame that Darren (Turner) wasn't here but it was good for myself and Andrea as we got more time in the car. We have set up the car well for the race. The car itself is very good on this track. I ended the day on top which is where I want to be for the race."
Andrea Piccini (Italy)
"The circuit is very nice, it has everything, fast corners, long straights, big braking. It is very long though so it is difficult to learn everything but I have been getting quicker throughout the day and I am feeling more confident in the car. I know Tomas (Enge) as we have raced in the same series before and he has been helping me out. Tomas was working on the set up and development and I worked on improving my times and getting used to the circuit. I did about 25-30 laps today and I am looking forward to getting back here for the race."
Car number 009
Pedro Lamy (Portugal)
"It is always nice to be back in Le Mans, we had a few problems but so far testing is going well and I am very happy. Stephane (Ortelli) is very experienced here and we know each other quite well so I am happy to have him as a team-mate."
Stephane Ortelli (Monaco)
"I am very pleased to join Stephane and Pedro. In the morning when I first drove the car I had oversteer but the team made some changes and it was much better in the afternoon. The performance is there, now we have to be consistent in the race. I'm sure it will be a fight to the end."
Stephane Sarrazin (France)
"The car is very balanced, very strong. We had no major problems today so that was good. I completed about 15 laps am getting used to the new part of the track, which has a long right corner."