Pre-Season Boost for RML AD Group RML AD Group completed a very successful first test of the team's Lola HPD at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, braving blizzards and treacherous conditions on day one, but being rewarded by a ...
Pre-Season Boost for RML AD Group
RML AD Group completed a very successful first test of the team's Lola HPD at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, braving blizzards and treacherous conditions on day one, but being rewarded by a drying track, occasional sunshine and some very encouraging running throughout the second day.
It was the first time that the installation of the Honda Performance Development HPD LM-V8 has been tested in the coupe chassis, and the initial reaction from drivers, mechanics, and data engineers alike has been universally favourable. "Considering the weather conditions, this has been an excellent shakedown and test," said Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. "I couldn't have asked for a better start to our 2010 season. We've had very few of the usual new-build teething problems, and anything that has arisen has been very minor. That alone is enormously satisfying, and is largely attributable to the quality of the preparation, which is a credit to all the guys in the workshop and the excellent interaction we've had from HPD."
Brazilian Thomas Erdos carried out all the first day's "winter" testing, tackling gathering snowdrifts and icy puddles, but emerging with a broad grin across his face. Given first stint on Wednesday, he was then able to make the most of the much improved conditions. "My first impressions are extremely favourable," he said. "Both the engine and the gearbox work so smoothly, and the gear changes are virtually seamless. The overall driveability is impressive as a result. I'm really very encouraged, and I just love that V8 sound!"
"The car instantly inspires confidence," suggested Mike Newton, CEO of AD Group and co-driver of the Lola HPD. "The power delivery is so smooth, and the gearbox allows you to shift up or down at almost any time. It's very accommodating. We also appear to have picked up much better chassis rigidity, which comes as an unexpected but very welcome bonus."
Recently signed as the team's third driver this season, and fresh from the Sebring tests in America, Andy Wallace was on hand to witness the Lola HPD's first test. "The car looks brilliant, and it sounds fantastic," he grinned. "I just can't wait to drive it at Paul Ricard." Although he tested the cockpit for size Andy has yet to carry out a full seat-fitting for the Lola coupe, so was unable to drive at Silverstone.
Both his co-drivers are delighted to have him back in the squad. "I am absolutely thrilled," admitted Tommy. "He is, in my view, one of the best sportscar drivers on the planet, and for me it is simply a huge honour to share a car with such a legend . . . again! It's also an affirmation for me that the team is constantly seeking the best solutions, and the choice of Andy Wallace is further proof of that."
The Dunlop tyres -- new to the team for 2010 - also came in for praise. "The conditions have been quite appalling," stated Erdos, "but the Dunlop tyres have given us great stability, even in the snow. The wet weather tyre is especially encouraging. Combined with our experiences of the new engine, we can only leave here feeling very optimistic and highly positive."
"These two days have gone exceptionally well," admitted Phil Barker. "Just seeing the expression on the drivers' faces when they climb out of the car has been reward in itself. Now we can look forward to realising our true potential this season, not only in the Le Mans Series, but also at Le Mans in June." Confirmation of the team's entry for the 24 Hours was published by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest a fortnight ago, while the team now prepares for the official test at Paul Ricard on March 7th/8th.
-source: rml ad group