EU3: Hexis Racing Monza test summary

Hexis Racing has its say! The unmistakable voice of Hexis Racing's Aston Martin V12s was heard during two important test sessions, the first one on the Paul Ricard circuit and the other in Monza. After which the team took part in the first round...

Hexis Racing has its say!

The unmistakable voice of Hexis Racing's Aston Martin V12s was heard during two important test sessions, the first one on the Paul Ricard circuit and the other in Monza. After which the team took part in the first round of the French FFSA GT3 championship in Nogaro. It was following this latter event that the team's bosses announced that they had decided to pull out of the French season. They also intimated that they were considering a switch to the German ADAC GT Masters championship, as part of an ambitious international campaign. The six drivers of the team's three cars entered in the European FIA GT3 Championship now have but one thing on their minds - proving their worth at Silverstone next April 19-20! The legendary names Stowe, Club, Becketts and Woodcote are already ringing in their ears!

Aston Martin Racing HTTT Tests: Banbury crosses to Le Castellet

The complete range of Aston Martin racing cars, from the GT4 up to the GT1, was in action on the Paul Ricard circuit at the start of March. "These two days provided us with an opportunity to work directly with Aston Martin Racing and to get to know them better," said Clement Mateu. "We are in a better position now to react quickly and effectively, and look forward to building a strong relationship with them. We also gathered nearly 1000 kms of track data for each car. The outing was beneficial for our drivers too. Compared with last season, Julien and Manu Rodrigues have cranked up a notch in terms of performance and control. Our young drivers Pierre-Brice Mena and Thomas Accary have now past the stage of finding their feet with the car and are starting to be very fast. Jean-Claude Lagniez, who once again will be second driver for Fred Makowiecki, goes into the first race this season far better prepared than he was at the start of 2007. Our optimism has grown thanks to this test session. We must keep up the hard work of course, and the competition will be stiff this year in a much coveted European championship."

Official FIA GT3 test sessions in Monza: The Aston Martin up against the competition

The trip to Monza was a mini-rehearsal for the opening race of the European FIA GT3 series which gets under way in Silverstone soon. "We returned to a circuit on which we raced last year. It was interesting and very productive to be able to compare our progress with that of our competitors," explained team manager Philippe Dumas. In the interests of levelling the competition between the various manufacturers taking part, the FIA is allowing certain modifications, in particular to the suspension. Clement Mateu agreed this was a good move: "the car has gained in suppleness. That makes for greater precision and driver comfort. `Gentlemen drivers' will find the car less difficult to handle, particularly during races."

Performance balancing:

the FIA and the teams working out The FIA invited Hexis Racing, along with other teams entered for the 2008 FIA GT3 season, to take part in testing in order to undergo the performance balancing procedure. This procedure is at the heart of the regulations for FIA GT3 racing and explains the category's success since 2006. Former Le Mans 24-hour race winner Christophe Bouchut drove all the different models competing in the European Championship, pushing them all to the limit. An independent engineering bureau will examine the data collected from the black boxes. The FIA will use the bureau's findings to formulate the rules for the season. Each car will be allocated a handicap in order to maintain a balance between the different models. The handicaps involve extra weight, altered ride height and inlet restrictors.

Nogaro: swansong in the French Championship

After the event in Nogaro, which saw Romain Yvon and Eric Cayrolle finish successively in 5th and 6th in the two races, Hexis Racing made a statement in which team-manager Philippe Dumas outlined the reasons for the team's decision to withdraw from the French FFSA GT3 Championship. Here are some extracts: "At the end of 2006 we took a gamble on the rise in popularity of the GT3 in national championship racing and I don't think we were wrong! So we acquired two Aston Martin DBRS9 Prodrive GT3 cars in readiness for the 2007 FFSA GT3 Championship. Our intention was to only race them in the French championship.

We did a lot of testing with these cars during the 2006/2007 closed season and our drivers were unanimous in their praise of our little beauty - the FIA 2006-rules GT3. Hard to control perhaps but a real thoroughbred racer; fast and a pleasure to drive. [...]. The French FFSA GT3 Championship clones the FIA rulebook with one notable exception - the tyres! Why didn't they adopt a balance of performance that took into account this additional but so very important parameter right from the start? The result was that we had a very tough time in the 2007 French season and a correspondingly good one in Europe. Proof of our success came when Aston Martin Racing chose us as one of their teams of choice, which led to us acquiring a third DBRS9 for the 2008 FIA GT3 Championship. I had no problem at all filling all six available seats and we were fortunate enough to make up some well balanced, competitive and personable crews. And all that by the end of December 2007! However, for our French national championship, things proved to be much more of a challenge. No applications from new drivers; and only the Rodrigues family willing to compete again, knowing how much effort the team had put in since the adventure started and being able to make a direct comparison with how the team and car pairing performed in FIA GT3 racing. My thanks also go to Romain Yvon and Eric Cayrolle, who were willing to drive in the opening race. Albeit only in the opening race... [...]

So we are dropping out of the French Championship for one good reason. Our car, due to its very specific characteristics - rigid chassis, race-prepared GT3, etc. - needs to have specific tyres if it is to be competitive. The current make of tyre unwittingly renders some cars more competitive than others. [...] We are grateful to SRO (editor's note: the organiser of the FFSA GT3 Championship) for their support and assistance during these difficult times. [...] This season therefore we will be entering three Aston Martins in the FIA GT3 Championship and three cars in the German Championship."


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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Christophe Bouchut , Jean-Claude Lagniez , Eric Cayrolle , Romain Yvon , Thomas Accary , Pierre-Brice Mena , Philippe Dumas
Teams Aston Martin Racing