Ghorpade relishes debut ELMS performance
Indian Parth Ghorpade is delighted with his sportscar racing switch, after his debut race in the European Le Mans season opener at Silverstone.
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Having competed mostly in the single-seater championships, Ghorpade made his sportscar debut with the Algarve Pro Racing Team, in the 4 Hours of Silverstone.
The Indian readily enjoyed his first competitive weekend of endurance racing, partnering Michael Munemann and Sir Chris Hoy.
"It's an amazing car to drive with so much of downforce. Exactly what a single-seater driver would expect," said an elated Ghorpade to Motorsport.com.
A common change he found new was to share the car with one or two other drivers. "In single-seaters you [driver] are with yourself.
"But here [sportscar] you have two other drivers sharing the car with you, so there is lot of team work and strategies involved," he added.
With limited practice due to weather conditions, the team qualified 13th in LMP2 category [the highest category in ELMS] while 26th overall, with Ghorpade behind the wheels.
"Qualifying was not as good as expected as it was the first time in these conditions [wet] but it was fun," he said.
"Snow and rain made it worse for me, but for an off, with one lap to go, we would've started much further up because the track started drying off."
In the race, the more experienced Munemann started for Algarve and by lap 14, they were inside the top 10 in LMP2, before handing to Hoy.
The British driver made further inroads climbing to 10th overall, but a minor off meant, the #25 car got stuck in the gravel.
Fortunately, the Ligier JS was retrieved with no damage, but the team lost 1 hours and 46 minutes of racing, before Hoy got going again.
The team were 11th when Ghorpade got his first chance and was given the responsibility of seeing the chequered flag. Eventually, they finished 10th overall after making 16 places in the race, having completed 114 laps.
"My biggest challenge [during my stint] was to get the car back home and be quick at the same time," Ghorpade recalled.
"I was very happy with the over all performance. And so was the team. We have the race pace close to the top five [teams] and so podium is possible if we have a clean race.
"All we need is to have a good qualifying, so that we don't waste time climbing up the grid," the 22-year-old added.
The Indian credited teammates Munemann and Hoy for their contribution, as he got up to speed with endurance racing.
"It's an honor to have a multiple Olympic gold medalist as my teammate and to see how he manages to be quick on four wheels as he was on two."
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