G-Drive Racing have taken to the Circuit de la Sarthe for the test day.
Two weeks before the 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway, the #26 G-Drive Racing Morgan - Nissan LM P2 and the #35 G-Drive Racing by OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 – Nissan, both running on Dunlop tyres and supported by Onroak Automotive, have taken to the Circuit de la Sarthe for the test day, to iron out any kinks and give their drivers some experience on the famous circuit before the big event.
After topping the LM P2 podium of the first two rounds of the World Endurance Series, the successful trio of Julien Canal, Olivier Pla and Roman Rusinov in the #26 G-Drive Racing Morgan - Nissan LM P2 used the test session to their advantage to prepare for the 24Hrs. With this race being so important in terms of points for the WEC, the team are really putting this test to good use to ensure that the team and the car are as ready as can be.
Roman Rusinov showed a strong performance today, setting the car’s best times of both sessions, with a lap of 3.42.012 in the morning, 7th in LM P2, and a best time of 3:37.795 in the afternoon session, putting the car top of the LM P2 class.
Also out testing today under the distinctive G-Drive mantle of black and orange was the #35 G-Drive Racing by OAK Racing Ligier JS P2- Nissan, driven by Alex Brundle, Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy. Although the Ligier is a new development, it already has 10’000 km under its belt, but this session, its maiden outing after testing, was a good chance for Jann Mardenborough and Mark Shulzhitskiy to get their bearings.
The new Ligier car was showing itself to be competitive and reliable, as the team ran for 35 laps in the morning session, with the best time set by Jann Mardenborough with his lap of 3:41.924, 6th fastest in LM P2. In the afternoon session, Shulzhitskiy completed his 10 mandatory laps, setting a fastest lap of 3:44.687.
Alex Brundle also got a few quick laps in early on, with his best time of 3:39.865. Jann Mardenborough took the wheel again for the end of the session, and set its fastest time for the afternoon practice as well, with a best time of 3:39.191, 4th in LM P2, 13th overall. The car was the quickest of the new Ligier cars in both sessions.
Both cars seem consistent and reliable, and the drivers and team hope that this bodes well for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
#26 G-Drive Racing Morgan - Nissan LM P2
Roman Rusinov – « This test day has been important for us, as we’ve been able to work and test out different things. It’s always great to set the best time, even if it’s during a test session: it proves that we’re competitive. We have two cars here, the Morgan and the Ligier, and both are working very well. I think we’re on the right track. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a very tough race and never won in advance; even with the best car in the world, you already have to finish the race. »
Olivier Pla – « The goal of these sessions for us was to finalise the setup for the race, without having to worry about the performance, so that’s what we set out to do. »
Julien Canal – « This day has been a real key point for me, as I’ve never ran with an LM P2 on this track, although I have taken part 4 times with a GT car. I need to get used to the high speeds, and there is more grip than with a GT car, it’s very particular. After my three stints today, I’ve got used to it and I’m starting to get a grip on the car, which is quite pleasing. »
#35 G-Drive Racing by OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 - Nissan
Alex Brundle – « The key point of the day was that we got Mark qualified for the race, which was great, and the car’s all dialled into the track. We’ve ended up with a good place in terms of pace so we’re all happy. »
Jann Mardenborough – « Today has been a good day, because all three drivers feel comfortable with the new Ligier, which is great because that means we can focus when we come to Le Mans next week. In practice, we can focus more on the tuning of the car and the setup, driver comfort. It’s great that the car is so fast and I feel comfortable in the car, in terms of the way the car is balanced in the corners. We’re in a good position now to go into the Le Mans week; there’s no damage to the car, and the team can now prepare the car for Le Mans. »
Mark Shulzhitskiy – « It was a really useful day for me, because I’ve never driven here at Le Mans. I’ve tried to learn and it’s not so easy, especially when you have a lot of traffic, and you’re not in the car so much. It’s really hard for me and I’m trying to learn. I’m looking forward to the weekend and sitting in the car again to improve my driving skills. »
Jacques Nicolet, Onroak Automotive and OAK Racing President – « It’s been a good day’s work for G-Drive Racing, which ended with Rusinov’s fantastic time of 3.37, which is better than last year’s pole. I am very pleased with this and I hope that it’s a good omen for the next weekend.
Great job also by the team of the #35, especially the great time set by Brundle, and his teammates, Mardenborough and Shulzhitskiy. Everyone has worked really well. I’m very happy with the car’s result. »