Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT hosts Le Mans Series officials tests Le Mans Series pre-season collective tests took place on March, 2nd and 3rd at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track with 35 Prototypes and GT cars. For the fourth consecutive...
Circuit Paul Ricard HTTT hosts Le Mans Series officials tests
Le Mans Series pre-season collective tests took place on March, 2nd and 3rd at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track with 35 Prototypes and GT cars.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Paul Ricard HTTT welcomed LMP1, LMP2, LMGT1 and LMGT2 for the official test session and the press conference before Le Mans Series 2008 season launch.
This meeting at the Paul Ricard HTTT has now become an important event for Le Mans Series thanks to the increasing number of teams and journalists attending these 2 days. Over 35 cars used the 1A V2 track solution (5.791 km), half of them drove until Sunday midnight. Only the local team ORECA Matmut LMP1 Prototype started an around the clock driving test. Their program was partially successful even though a mechanic problem stopped the car during almost 3 hours.
Audi Sport Team Joest, which is present for the first year in Le Mans Serie, set the overall best lap time in 1'39''705. The best lap time of Le Mans Series 2007 test session on the same track solution was 1'43''705.
The teams completed over 41300 kms from Sunday 2nd 9:00am to Monday 3rd 5:00pm. If very few incidents have interfered in this session, the most spectacular one happened on Monday afternoon during the last test period at 2:27pm. The n94 Spyker of Team Speedy Racing, driven by Swiss Andre Chiesa, caught fire at turn n11 (Double Droite du Beausset). As the driver didn't stop the car immediately, it continued in fire during 29 seconds before spinning at the turn n16 where it caught fire. The rescue intervention was quick: the Rescue Teams arrived in less than 12 seconds on the incident starting to put out the fire. The driver walked away safe. The first fire truck arrived only 58 seconds after the spin with the emulsifying fire hose to stop the rapidly increasing fire due to strong Mistral wind. The fire was totally under control only 1'44' after the incident.
During its modernization in 2001, the Paul Ricard HTTT created many concepts to increase the safety on circuits. The abrasive Run-Offs, the lighting system and the Rescue Teams in cars, have again led to a great reactivity during the tests in sometimes difficult conditions (strong winds and many cars on track at the same time).
Le Mans Series Press Conference at the Paul Ricard HTTT
The press conference of Le Mans Series 2008 season launch was organized in the Grand Prix Hall and welcomed around 140 journalists and photographers. The following was announced:
- New partnership between Le Mans Series and the international TV channel Eurosport;
- Presentation of new team entry : Epsilon Euskadi which enters its own car for the first time;
- Announcement of the evolution of the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge;
- Presentation of the new race in the calendar: Barcelona for the Catalunya 1000 km race.
The exceptional sunny weather of these 2 days allowed teams and drivers to work hard on the last set-ups before the first race of 1000 km of Catalunya, in Spain next April.