"THAT WAS FANTASTIC!"
They were practically the only words on Gregory Guilvert's lips following his test at the wheel of the 908 HDi FAP at Le Castellet, in the south of France, on Wednesday October 28.
After wrapping up the 2009 THP Spider Cup ahead of the final round, Gregory Guilvert travelled to Le Castellet where he took time to observe the team's test work with the 908 HDi FAP before making his own contribution to the programme. The 27-year old Frenchman was given an initial idea of what to expect when Nicolas Minassian took him out in the two-seater 908, before taking to the track himself for an exploratory run late Tuesday afternoon. "I hadn't been expecting to go out," related Gregory Guilvert, "so I didn't have time to think about what was coming. That took a great deal of the pressure off my shoulders. I then got in a good night's sleep before putting in a series of longer runs on the Wednesday."
In total, Gregory completed 35 laps of the long version of the circuit, equivalent to a little more than 200km. Covering five or seven laps at a time, he gradually accustomed himself to the car and posted his quickest lap on his final run, closing to within 1.2 seconds of the car's benchmark time. Gregory Guilvert: "It was the 908's brakes that most impressed me to begin with; that was a big step for me. I was also surprised by the steering.
To get a good feeling for the car, you need to go quite quickly, just as you do with a road car whose power steering gets stiffer as you pick up speed. I was therefore forced to push harder, but I felt more and more comfortable with every run, and it was such an incredibly exhilarating experience. It was a fantastic prize, and Nicolas Minassian gave me a great deal of advice. Maybe I'll do another season with my Spider in 2010 to perhaps win a chance to do the same thing again next year."
"The test went very well and Gregory didn't make a single mistake," noted Serge Saulnier. "He followed our instructions to the letter, made good progress and improved his lap times all the time. Given the amount of experience he has, he was very quick. I have been quite impressed by the three THP Spider Cup winners we have seen so far, namely Dino Lunardi, Simon Moulton and, today, Gregory Guilvert. They all adapted almost effortlessly, and I think the Spider is a great way to develop very good overall driving skills."
The final round of the 2009 THP Spider Cup takes competitors to Le Mans- Bugatti on November 5-7. The series forms part of the programme of the year's last Rencontres Peugeot Sport meeting where Peugeot plans to celebrate its one-two finish in June's Le Mans 24 Hours.