KIWI COULTHARD TESTS SUPERCUP PORSCHE IN GERMANY Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup talent Fabian Coulthard completed an impressive test session at Leipzig in Germany last week in the new model 911 GT3 Cup that he will race in the Porsche ...
KIWI COULTHARD TESTS SUPERCUP PORSCHE IN GERMANY
Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup talent Fabian Coulthard completed an impressive test session at Leipzig in Germany last week in the new model 911 GT3 Cup that he will race in the Porsche Michelin Supercup round at Silverstone in the UK on July 10.
The 22-year-old from New Zealand was awarded last week's test and the Supercup drive for his efforts in winning the Porsche Michelin Driver to Europe award last year as the leading driver under 30 years of age in the Australian Carrera Cup.
Coulthard who campaigns a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the Glenfords Tool Centres-backed Greg Murphy Racing team in the Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, became the first Australian series driver to take the wheel of the new 911 Carrera (997 model).
This model will replace the existing fifth-generation 911 GT3 Cup (996 model) for next year's Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup, and is exclusive to the Porsche Michelin Supercup in 2005.
The Porsche Michelin Supercup is a support category for the Formula 1 World Championship, with Silverstone the ninth round of the series.
Coulthard follows in the footsteps of Marcus Marshall who was the inaugural winner of the Porsche Michelin Driver to Europe award in 2003, and now drives a Champ Car in the Champ Car World Series.
Coulthard managed approximately 90 laps over the four-hour test session on Wednesday around the 2.15km purpose-built test track for Porsche.
He set a best lap time of 52.3 seconds, only 0.3 seconds outside the lap record of former Porsche Supercup champion Stephane Ortelli from France.
The emerging star was delighted with the new 997 model and can't wait to get back into it in Silverstone on July 10.
"The 997 is a fantastic package - it does every thing you tell it to," said Coulthard. "The biggest advantages that I found were no ABS and the new sequential gear box. It's now more like a proper race car.
"Visually from the front, the headlights and front bar are completely different to the 996 model, and it also has wider rear guards. It is much more balanced in handling than the 996. It was extremely stable through the high speed corners with the extra downforce produced from the new model.
"Actually the whole package is fantastic - everything from the initial turn-in to power-down."
Coulthard has now returned home to prepare for Silverstone -- a circuit he does have some knowledge of from his Formula Renault days in 2003.
The Wright Patton Shakespeare Carrera Cup is the most successful 'one make' championship in the world, and is the primary support category to the V8 Supercar Championship Series in Australia.
LAP OF LEIPZIG WITH FABIAN COULTHARD
Leipzig is a fantastic 2.15km circuit which is Porsche's purpose-built test track, using the design of many famous corners of race tracks around the world -- Parabolica, Mobil1 S, Curve di Lesmo and Suntory Corner. The circuit has a good variation of high and low speed corners.
As we go down the front straight across the finish line, I am in 4th gear and then nearly reach the rev limiter in 5th, before a late brake into turn 1 at Parabolica. I go down two gears into 3rd, before a very late apex is required. I let the car scrub itself out and am very patient in getting back to power.
I pull 4th gear on exit of the Parabolica then 5th down towards a chicane -- the Mobil1 S. This is a pretty straight forward low speed chicane turning right then left. I have to be very careful on approach as it is very easy to out brake yourself. Once braking is done I go down three gears into 2nd, run the car through the right, making sure I don't clip the tyres and try not to compromise the left. It is difficult to put the power down easily to drop off the kerb on exit.
Then it's 3rd, 4th, 5th before some late braking coming into the Curve di Lesmo corner. It is easy to be greedy under brakes and compromise mid-corner speed. Curve di Lesmo is a fast-flowing 4th gear corner, and the car needs to be well balanced to be able to get back to full throttle midway through.
Curve di Lesmo flows into Suntory Corner which is taken in 2nd gear. It's the slowest corner on the circuit but also the most difficult. The main reason is the approach is quick with the car fully loaded turning right, so all the force and energy is on the left side of the car. It's very easy to lock a front right wheel being so loaded one way then asking it to suddenly change direction.
Now it's back down the front straight to complete the lap of this wonderfully-designed circuit.