BRITAIN'S SIMON MOULTON TEST DRIVES THE PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP Following in the footsteps of Frenchman Dino Lunardi, who won the 2007 THP Spider Cup, it was this weekend the turn of the 2008 champion Simon Moulton to profit from the opportunity to...
BRITAIN'S SIMON MOULTON TEST DRIVES THE PEUGEOT 908 HDi FAP
Following in the footsteps of Frenchman Dino Lunardi, who won the 2007 THP Spider Cup, it was this weekend the turn of the 2008 champion Simon Moulton to profit from the opportunity to sample the 908 HDi FAP at a special test at Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, February 7.
Two wins and a particularly consistent season took Great Britain's Simon Moulton to the top prize in last year's THP Spider Cup ahead of an extremely competitive pack of challengers who ensured that the fight went down to the wire. It was 36-year old Simon Moulton's second campaign in the series, yet he has never been tempted to call on the services of a professional preparation outfit to look after his THP Spider.
Instead, he has always run his car with the help of friends and family, including his father, David, who manages a chain of four Peugeot dealerships in the south of England (Southgate Group).
As the first part of his reward for winning the 2008 THP Spider Cup, Simon was invited to join the regular 908 HDi FAP drivers for a fitness training session in December at the French national football team's facilities in Clairefontaine, near Paris, with a view to evaluating his physical ability.
Next came a visit to Peugeot Sport's workshops to view the 908 at close quarters and to have a seat made in readiness for this weekend's trip to Barcelona where he was at last able to savour his recompense: a test drive at the wheel of a genuine endurance prototype...
After receiving welcome words of advice from Nicolas Minassian, Simon Moulton began by covering an exploratory run of five laps of the Catalonian track on Friday February 6, before getting down to serious business the following day with an initial sequence of three runs of five laps each. That was followed by two stints of 10 laps, to which the team added a third, bonus 10-lap run. In all, Simon completed 50 laps at the wheel of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, covering a total distance of slightly more than 232 kilometres! His fastest lap was approximately five seconds off the best times posted by the 908's usual drivers. Simon's run was more than a simple test drive, in fact, since his drive also contributed to the 908 HDi FAP's development programme, notably by putting miles on the air conditioning system which the ACO regulations have made mandatory for all closed cockpit cars.
"The step up from the Spider to the 908 was more like a giant leap! To begin with, I was surprised by its power, but after a few laps it was its braking potential that really impressed me," enthused Simon Moulton. "My neck began to hurt after a few laps, so the technical staff added 'wings' to my seat to prevent my head from moving about. If only because of all the onboard electronics, the 908 is actually quite easy car to drive, but pushing it to its limits is another thing altogether! It was physically difficult and, to be honest, I don't think I would be capable of racking up stint after stint at Le Mans! I had a fabulous day, though. The team's regular drivers, especially Nicolas Minassian, and everyone at Peugeot Sport did all they could to make me feel at home and enable me to profit fully from was quite simply an amazing experience."
Serge Saulnier (Team Manager): "Simon approached the day with great humility. At the same time, he was very attentive and extremely focused, and that immediately put us at ease. He put in a good drive inasmuch as he didn't make any mistakes and did exactly what was asked of him. He took his time to familiarise himself with the 908 HDi FAP before gradually upping his pace, step by step. Seeing that, we decided to give him a few more laps than the originally scheduled number, and that gave us a chance to validate something we were trying on the car."