Greaves Motorsport enjoyed a successful day in France during the Official Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Running both of their Nissan powered Zytek ZN11SN prototypes in the LM P2 class, the primary task for the event was to get five of the team’s six drivers qualified for the race later this month, as Lucas Ordonez was the only driver in the squad who had already achieved this status. To qualify each driver has to drive ten timed laps at a competitive pace, a potentially awkward task given the length of the circuit at Le Mans and the changeable weather conditions..
In car #41, Christian Zugel, Ricardo Gonzalez and Elton Julian all completed their required laps, while in #42 Martin and Alex Brundle did the same to join their already qualified team mate, Lucas Ordonez, meaning that all of the drivers will now take part in next week’s Practice and Qualifying sessions. During the eight hours on track the team tried out a number of different configurations for both cars, acquiring valuable data for the forthcoming race.
The team and drivers all felt that progress had been made during the course of the day and are now looking forward to racing at the World’s greatest endurance event.
Car 41. First Session 3:48.881; Second Session 3:44.625
Elton Julian. “Overall it was a difficult start to the day, I had a puncture, then telemetry issues and a problem with the starter motor, so that was my morning, it always happened when I was in the car. But I have to say that we really got going in the afternoon, I ran on very old tyres, 370 kilometre tyres, and yet I managed a 3:44.6 and the car is not quite there yet. I am more confident about our pace than I was this morning, I think we have a car to work with, it will only get better. I am happy for Ricardo and Christian, he is improving with every lap, and Ricardo did a very good job as he always does. We are really looking forward to the race.”
Christian Zugel. “It was my first time driving an LM P2 prototype at Le Mans, an awesome experience and quite a bit of history to follow, so I am very pleased to have qualified for the race. As I completed more laps I felt more confident with the car and I am really looking forward to the event.”
Ricardo Gonzalez. “I think it was a good day, finishing a full day of testing with the car in one piece. Our first objective was to complete the minimum laps in order to qualify, we have done that. Even though we had some issues during the day, I think that overall things went very well. The track itself is difficult to dominate due to its size and complexity. It takes you so long to go past the same place again that you have to continually reset. It is not like a circuit that you are doing a lap every minute or so, most of the corners are really high speed, so you have to creep into it, not just jump in, because you could easily have an accident.
I think it was a very good day for me, I am happy with my results, once I have had the chance to consider today and let the events soak in, the next time I get into the car I should be 1 or 2 seconds faster. Today has put me in a good place so I am happy overall.”
Car 42 First Session 3:46.137; Second Session 3:43.083
Alex Brundle. “ I was happy with our performance during the Le Mans Test Day. The car looks quick enough in everyone’s hands and the team are very calm and motivated. The lap time I delivered was all we needed to show we are in the hunt for Le Mans victory. It is clear that the LM P2 class is going to be brutal in 2012, but if we keep chipping away I am confident of a good result.”
Martin Brundle. “I had to pinch myself in the driver’s briefing to believe that I was really here. It is a rare privilege to race at Le Mans again; something I didn’t think would happen in my lifetime. We have had a good day today and it is a case of mission accomplished for us. I didn’t manage to get a single clear lap, which has never happened to me before, but we have finished the day with a nicely balanced car. It is a good starting point for our race week so it will be good to pick it up again when we come back. I was a little worried at lunchtime but we had a great afternoon and we leave Le Mans tonight very happy with the position we are in.”
Lucas Ordonez. “The car was a bit tricky at the rear to start with but we spent the rest of the day working through set up changes and we have found a good balance now. The car feels amazing through the Porsche Curves so that is a lot of fun every lap. I think we are in a good position with the car for next week. I felt a little rusty this morning but today has blown away the cobwebs and I’m ready for Le Mans!”
Team Manager of Greaves Motorsport, Jacob Greaves, summed up the day. “ It was a very positive Test Day for the team, getting the drivers all qualified was our first objective, which we did. We also learnt a lot about how to get the optimal set up on the car. The Nissan engine, the Zytek chassis and the Dunlop tyres are combining really well and the whole team is looking forward to the challenge against the large, high quality LM P2 grid.