MISSION ACCOMPLISHED !
The beautiful Aston Martin LMP1 entered by Kronos Racing in cooperation with the team Marc VDS participated last Sunday, as scheduled, to the official Test Day ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Maxime Martin has passed with no problems the mandatory "rookie test", the first objective of the all-Belgian team.
The idea of taking to the 24 Hours with such a competitive car looks still like a dream to me...
Once the track dried after the early morning storms, Vanina Ickx, who knows the car for having raced with it last year, took the task of doing an installation lap, before leaving the wheel to Maxime Martin, who had to perform the ten timed laps mandatory for every rookie before being accepted to take the start in the June race. Maxime performed the task in three runs, spaced by the mid-day break and a safety- car period at the beginning of the afternoon.
The young Belgian did extremely well in his first appearance on the 24-hours circuit and at the wheel of a LMP1 car, constantly improving his lap times and taking no risks at all. After 15 laps, he was 11th in the time sheets, demonstrating great adaptation skills. Unfortunately, shortly after that, the test day was over for the Belgian squad, following the detection of a small leak in the fuel tank. For obvious safety reasons, the Aston Martin # 22 was brought back to the pits, preventing Vanina Ickx and Bas Leinders to do more mileage.
"It was a fantastic experience", commented an elated Martin. "The 24-hours track is fast and not wide, but the car has a lot of downforce and impressive braking. It took me a little while to adjust before finding the right pace, and was very cautious in traffic, in order to avoid any problem in the middle of cars running at very different speeds. The idea of taking to the 24 Hours with such a competitive car looks still like a dream to me..."
A dream that will become reality if the status of first reserve becomes a confirmed entry, something that entails the withdrawal of one single entry in either LMP classes. According to ACO sources, this could still take a couple of weeks, and the definitive confirmation could happen just after the 1000 Km of Spa.
"In a very short time and thanks with the excellent synergy with the Marc VDS team, we have achieved to demonstrate the seriousness of our approach", underlines Marc Van Dalen, team director of Kronos Racing. "The car wasn't in a perfect state and there has been too little time for a thorough rebuilding, so we were not in a position to fully exploit the opportunity of the test day, but the most important thing was to prove our commitment to the project of doing Le Mans with a 100% Belgian outfit. Maxime has achieved the rookie test with great professionalism and he has proved the potential of the car. We will now focus on preparing the 24-hour race the best we can, even if we still don't have full certainty about our entry. The car is going to be reshaped by Aston Martin in the UK, in order to be sure its performance and reliability levels are what they should be. I want to thank our partners, Orbello Racing and Michelin, for their support, as well as the entire Marc VDS team, which has been able to acquaint itself effectively with such a sophisticated machine in a very tight time-frame. This is extremely encouraging for the future and we'll do our utmost to be up to the standards of Belgium's tradition in this legendary race."
-source: kronos/marc vds