The season starts at Paul Ricard
Le Castellet , 12 March - Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard HTTT circuit has just hosted two days of testing that kicks off the eighth season of the Le Mans Series.
With temperatures never rising above 10 degrees C, a strong wind and intermittent rain, life was difficult for the twenty seven crews, when they took to the track for the first time yesterday at the famous French track. There are seven cars entered in the LM GTE Pro category and there was much interest surrounding the debut of the Ferrari 458 Italia, prepared by AF Corse and entrusted to Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella. “The bad weather wiped out much of our programme here at Le Castellet, but overall, I got a good feeling from the car,” commented Fisichella at the end of the test. “We were not going for performance, instead we worked on set-up and looked at how to develop all the car’s potential. We are a tenth off the best and that is cause for optimism for the coming season, which starts back here in three weeks.” Before taking part in the new eight hour race scheduled for the French track, the Scuderia Ferrari driver will next weekend tackle the prestigious Sebring 12 Hours, the first round of the International Le Mans Cup. Yesterday’s test session also went well for the F430 entered by the German Hankook Team Farnbacher squad, setting fastest time in both sessions.
In the LM GTE AM category the AF Corse F430 produced a noteworthy performance in the hands of Piergiuseppe Pierazzini, Marco Cioci and Stephane Lemeret, as did the 458 Italia brought here by the Kessel Racing team, driven by Michael Broniszewsky and Philipp Peter.