The Green Fuel Team Meets Several Challenges in First 4 Hours of The Le Mans 24 Hours They don't call it endurance racing for nothing, and this year's race is continuing to be a test of the Nasamax team's resourcefulness and tenacity. During the...
The Green Fuel Team Meets Several Challenges in First 4 Hours of The Le Mans 24 Hours
They don't call it endurance racing for nothing, and this year's race is continuing to be a test of the Nasamax team's resourcefulness and tenacity. During the warm up at 9am, Werner Lupberger ran a fuel tank test, the idea being to run the tank dry and see how far it would go. 12 laps was the answer, but the car stopped on the other side of the circuit. With the 2 hour traffic delay for its return as spectators arrived for the start of the 24 Hour race at 16.00 hours, time was precious for a change of oil pressure relief sensor, requiring the removal of the underbody of the car, and a ride height adjustment to improve balance. The Le Mans circuit has long straights, but the power and stability is achieved through complex aerodynamics which require careful set up.
Werner Lupberger joined the field from the pitlane for the formation lap, and took his 14th place on the grid for the start, gaining 3 places during his first few laps. However, a misfire brought him back in at 16.30 after 7 laps with a best time of 3:44.3, and tyres were also changed while data was downloaded to investigate the misfire. An immediate right rear puncture added another challenge. Many drivers have been complaining of the debris, gravel and rubber on the track this year.
The misfire proved elusive for several visits to the pits, taking valuable time while the Nasamax Judd V10 dropped down the leaderboard, at one point to 47th place. "There's only one way to do this, and that's to find the cause and sort it properly, but it just takes time," said Technical Director John McNeil. Plugs and coils were changed, and eventually during Kevin's stint the team changed the engine wiring loom while he stayed in the car.
The paddle shift for the gearbox also caused concern, where a modification by the supplier was not effective and left Kevin McGarrity with just 4th gear before Arnage corner at 18.04. At this point, Kevin had only done 10 laps, and time was spent investigating the misfire and paddleshift repairs.
After refuelling at 19.26, Kevin reported the car was more drivable and responding better, and has stayed in the car for a quadruple stint finishing at 20.50 just after he gained another position on the leaderboard. Robbie Stirling has started his first stint as the sun
starts to set on a beautiful Le Mans evening. The car now lies in 41st position at 55 laps and is now running strongly despite the misfire. 'We're losing time every lap," said Kevin, 'everything else is now fine, we've just got to get this misfire. The fuel is fine, it smells nice! I had a bit of a dice with the Team Goh Audi and ran through a gravel trap but it only lost a few seconds. That was a quadruple stint, two and a half hours.'
'What we want is a really boring race now,' grinned Werner earlier on a live interview with Eurosport in the commentary tower. Explain? 'You know, going round and round, just stopping for tyres and fuel. I'll tell you one thing, whatever happens we'll be there at 4 o'clock tomorrow, these Nasamax boys will never give up. They are the best.'