GULF PREPARE FOR LE MANS CHALLENGE Le Mans, France: Paul Belmondo Racing ran two cars at the Le Mans Test Day on 5th June in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in two weeks' time. The team's two Gulf-sponsored Courage C65 LMP2 race cars...
GULF PREPARE FOR LE MANS CHALLENGE
Le Mans, France: Paul Belmondo Racing ran two cars at the Le Mans Test Day on 5th June in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in two weeks' time. The team's two Gulf-sponsored Courage C65 LMP2 race cars are built in Le Mans, France, and are powered by Ford engines prepared by the British company Advanced Engine Research, using Gulf fuel and lubricants.
The Test Day was divided into two sessions, one of four hours and one of five hours. In the first session the number 37 car, driven by team-owner Paul Belmondo, Didier Andre, and Rick Sutherland, set the third fastest time in the LMP2 Class at 3 minutes 48.704 seconds. The number 36 car, driven by Claude-Yves Gosselin, Karim Ojjeh, and Adam Sharpe, set the fifth fastest time in the Class at 3 minutes 53.655 seconds. During this session, number 36 experienced a fuel pressure problem, following which AER recommended that further running should be kept to a minimum. As a result, this car ran for only five laps in the afternoon session.
Meanwhile the number 37 car continued its programme of testing tyres and race set-ups, managing a very long run on just one set of tyres. By the end of the afternoon session at 7pm this Gulf-liveried car had lowered its best lap time to 3 minutes 46.522 seconds, but had dropped by one place to fourth in Class.
Team-owner Paul Belmondo, said: "Both sessions went well for the team. We finished fourth in class today, and we are happy with that. We worked through our programmes on tyres and set-ups. With one set of tyres we managed to do 40 laps; that has given us good information for the race."
"With the number 36 car we had a small alarm with the engine, so this car only ran for a few laps in the afternoon session. It could have run for longer but we did not want to risk the engine."
Didier Andre added: "It's good to be able to test on the full track. We tested on the Bugatti circuit two weeks ago, but it is better to run on the track where we will race. Today we proved that we are competitive. For us it was important to work on performance and race set-up. You have to make the car easy to drive and comfortable because the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a long race."
"Although Le Mans is a long track, the traffic is bad and a clear lap is difficult, but from our tests we now know that the car will be able to run three stints on one set of tyres and fourteen laps on a tank of fuel."
The 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place over the weekend of 18th/19th June.