RML AD Group Encouraged by Pace & Performance The RML AD Group Lola B08/80 HPD fulfilled much of its promise during the two-day official Le Mans Series test at the Paul Ricard HTTT in southern France on Sunday and Monday this week. Consistently...
RML AD Group Encouraged by Pace & Performance
The RML AD Group Lola B08/80 HPD fulfilled much of its promise during the two-day official Le Mans Series test at the Paul Ricard HTTT in southern France on Sunday and Monday this week. Consistently in the top three in the LMP2 category, the svelte coupe also recorded the fastest outright speed for the class along the 1.2 kilometre (0.75 mile) Mistral Straight, topping out at a sprightly 291 kph (181 mph).
The team's initial shakedown at a snowy Silverstone a fortnight ago had raised expectations that the combination of Honda Performance Development (HPD) LM-V8 engine and proven Lola coupe chassis could create a potent package, but it wasn't until the car had completed a few laps of the 5.79 km Paul Ricard circuit that the true scope of that promise could be appreciated. In its first ever test, the Lola HPD was consistently one of the quickest in each session, and given that all its competitors have had months or longer to prepare for the new season, the prospects could not be more encouraging.
"This is the first time we've run the car in anger, and the first time we've used the Dunlop slick tyre," said Phil Barker, team manager at RML. "We've learned a great deal about the car, not only for the race here next month, but also for Le Mans in June. The HPD engine has been impeccable, and the performance of the tyres in what have been very demanding conditions has been impressive. I'm delighted by the way the two days have gone, and encouraged to be so close to the pace at such an early stage in the season."
Much of the initial set-up of the car was carried out by Thomas Erdos. "Almost without exception, our competitors have been testing for weeks, or months, and their preparation for the new season is way ahead of ours," observed the Brazilian. "With that in mind, I'm delighted with the progress we've made, and to be within a few tenths of quickest in our class suggests we have a very competitive package, and that's enormously uplifting."
"The car continues to live up to all the promise we saw after that first shakedown at Silverstone," said Mike Newton, co-driver and CEO of AD Group. "I'm impressed just how comfortable it is to drive, and how it inspires confidence." Mike shares the Lola coupe with two very experienced professionals, but his lap times throughout were extremely competitive. "I'm satisfied to have narrowed the gap (between myself and the other two drivers) over the course of the two days. My pace is right in the zone I'd set myself, and this is my first experience of the car. Now I can really look forward to running under better conditions," he said. Mike's final lap was also his quickest.
Andy Wallace will be joining the squad's driver line-up for the 24 Hours in June and also for the longer Le Mans Series races. He was evidently very impressed by the Lola HPD. "The car is absolutely fantastic, it really is!" he enthused. "Each time you drive it, it encourages you to go quicker, and the last lap of each five-lap stint I drove was my best. It's also great to be back with RML. The team has a really organised, structured outlook, and Tommy and Phil Barker always do an excellent job of setting up a racecar. You can just jump in and know it's going to be good. I'm now looking forward to coming back here to race with them next month."
"We are significantly encouraged by the performance of the tyres and engine this weekend," said Pauline Norstrom, Marketing and Motorsport Director, AD Group. "The team deserve success, considering the organisation and effort that goes into the preparation for the season. Once again, AD Group will track the programme with an entourage of high class clients, interested to see AD Network Video's CCTV technology in action both in the car for driver training and demonstration purposes and securing the pits and hospitality at the event. We hope to give this highly distinctive group, who stand out from the crowd dressed in team shirts, an insight into the tremendous results achieved by Car 25 both at the Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hour race, over the years."
That opening race in the 2010 season will be the Paul Ricard 8 Hours, scheduled for Sunday April 11th.
-source: rml ad group