New challenge for Liz Halliday at Valencia Following a fourth place class finish at Monza in the opening round of the Le Mans Series, the championship's only female driver, Liz Halliday, knows a very different challenge lies in wait at Round 2...
New challenge for Liz Halliday at Valencia
Following a fourth place class finish at Monza in the opening round of the Le Mans Series, the championship's only female driver, Liz Halliday, knows a very different challenge lies in wait at Round 2 in Valencia.
From the high-speed straights and fast sweeping corners of the Italian circuit to the twisty technical layout of the Spanish venue, the tracks are polar-opposites of one another and require completely different set-ups and driving styles.
Valencia, a regular Formula One testing venue, makes its Le Mans Series debut in 2007, having previously hosted the FIA GT Championship, and the race marks a first for Halliday too.
Liz said: "I've never been to Valencia before so it will be a completely new challenge for me. What I do know about the circuit is that it is very narrow and, with a 46-car grid, it's going to be very, very busy on track. I think success in the race could depend on how well we can work through traffic and get up to speed. I'm sure it will be a tough race but having improved a lot during my race stints at Monza, I've learned even more about the car's handling and characteristics. I appreciate that Valencia will be a completely different experience, but if we can build on the progress made at the last race then the experience can be a positive one."
The dual-sportswoman, who heads to Valencia less than a week after competing at the Withington Manor Horse Trials, will also get the chance to welcome a new team-mate at the race. Team Modena this week announced that ex-Formula One and Champ Car ace Christian Fittipaldi becomes the team's third driver for Valencia and the Le Mans 24 Hours, joining Liz and Spaniard Antonio Garcia at the wheel of the impressive Aston Martin DBR9.
"It will be good to get to know Christian before we race at Le Mans," Liz said. "He has driven sports cars before and has raced at both the Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hours, so he has that crucial endurance experience. Having two such well-qualified drivers alongside me can only be of help to the team."
Meanwhile, Team Modena's chief engineer Hans Muehlbauer explained some of the technical challenges of Valencia and backed Liz to continue her progress. "Valencia is a very technical circuit with a lot of slow speed corners so set-up is completely different from Monza. It's a tricky circuit, very narrow and undulating and it will be challenging in traffic because overtaking opportunities are scarce. The LMP1 and LMP2 cars will have to be patient behind the GT cars in certain corners because there is only one line. However, Liz has raced in the American Le Mans Series, where they also have small, narrow circuits and plenty of different cars on the grid, so I don't think this will be a problem for her."
The 1000kms of Valencia takes place on Sunday 6 May and can be watched live across Europe on Motors TV. Visit www.motorstv.com for details.