To appear in optimum condition at the start of the test day, Team Modena put the Aston Martin DBR9 through a thorough check-up.. Over these last few weeks the mechanics stripped down the car, checked everything and prepared it for the ...
To appear in optimum condition at the start of the test day, Team Modena put the Aston Martin DBR9 through a thorough check-up.. Over these last few weeks the mechanics stripped down the car, checked everything and prepared it for the legendary 24 Hours race at the La Sarthe. The first step in the preparation for the 24 Heures du Mans is the official test day, split into two four hour free practice sessions.
The first practice sessions kicks off under a glorious sun . and for Jos Menten the start of an enjoyable day. At 10:10hrs the 26 year old driver from Limburg leaves the pitlane for his first laps around the 13,650 km. long circuit of Le Mans: "What a fantastic experience", comments the smiling Dutchman. "I know the circuit somewhat from the computer, but when you're sitting in a race car everything does look quite different! I've been able to adapt pretty quickly to the car, and the collaboration with Antonio en Christian is running smoothly. I reckon we have one of the strongest driver teams in the LMGT1-category and for us that's reassuring", Menten told us after the first session. Notwithstanding two red flag situations the drivers of the Team Modena Aston Martin have found the ideal rhythm. Antonio Garcia, Christian Fittipaldi and Jos Menten finish off the first free practice in eighth spot in the LMGT1-class, perfect for a 32nd place overall. The only problem arose during the fourth practice hour, with Fittipaldi having to slowly regain the pits with a damaged right rear tyre.
Between the two practice sessions the team fit the racing gearbox. The aim is to run in the gearbox for the 24 Hours race to be held on 16th and 17th June. The Aston Martin finally reappears during the last two hours of the practice session. The Team Modena-trio finally end the day with a 3:52,295, and everyone appears contented in the British camp. Team Modena finished the practices in 8th spot in LMGT1 and 33rd overall. In the end the Aston Martin DBR9's ( #59) best lap time was a mere one and a half seconds slower than the fastest lap put up by Peter Kox in the Prodrive Aston Martin, which confirm some positive perspectives for the race. In LMGT1 the best lap time was set by the Corvette-trio Magnussen-O'Connell-Fellows.
"Normally I could have worked off a few more laps during the last fifteen minutes..but some ten minutes before the end the red flag was waved. I was constantly improving during the course of the day, without driving to the limit. In fact during the afternoon I was more than two seconds faster than during the morning session, even though we didn't put in that much driving during the last session. On top of that we were also suffering from understeer. So we could have gone faster. The car was in top condition and highly trustworthy. These test sessions give us an insight as to where we position ourselves amongst our competitors. As expected it won't be easy to battle it out with the Aston Martin and Corvette works' teams, but we can still beat 10 LMGT1-competitors!"