Sunday 31 May 2015

Test Day thoughts

After wringing the water out of our socks, we have a few observations on the soggy Test Day action.

Brendon Hartley in #17 Porsche 919 posted the fastest dry time of the day 3:21.061
The day started with a sky of battleship grey but the rain did hold-off for long enough for a few times to be set. In LMP1 Audi and Porsche exchanged fastest times overall, but it was Jani in Porsche 919 #18 who put in the fastest time (3:21.945) just before the heavens opened and the track remained wet for the remainder of the session. In LMP2 it was the Oak Ligier #34 quickest. In LMGTE Pro the Corvette #64 was consistently quick and finished a fraction ahead of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari that is a more familiar sight at the top of WEC timing screens. In Am the #61 AF Corse Ferrari was quickest. That said, the dry part of the session was over in about 30 minutes so it is hard to read anything from those times. The three Nissan GT-R LM were off the pace on lap times but could take comfort from setting the quickest speed trap time of 336kmh, solidly quicker than the 332.9 of the quickest Audi. The ByKolles CLM #4 exploded a tyre and demolished its rear deck. Sadly the team did not have a spare, and took no further part in testing despite being otherwise unscathed.

Murphy Prototypes Oreca #48
The second session started 'damp' but dried out quite quickly and it was the turn of Brendon Hartley in #17 to post the fastest dry time of the day 3:21.061, but again the sky darkened and rain began to fall and never really let up. The session looked like it might dry out a few times but just as a dry line was forming, the rain would return to erase it. In LMP2 the Murphy Prototypes Oreca #48 was fastest, but did not quite beat the best P2 time of the first session. In GTE Pro it was Aston #97 quickest, and they did beat the morning time with a lap of 3:58.069 by Darren Turner. In Am it was Aston Martin again, with Lamy in the #98  also beating the morning session time with a lap in 3:59.338.

LMP3 Ginetta Nissan #75
The LMP3 Ginetta/Nissans will not feature in the 24 hours but gained valuable experience on the 'big' circuit. The best P3 time was 3:58.308 by #74, putting them neatly between the pace of GTE and LMP2.

On a final note, we were impressed (as always) by the work of Race Director Eduardo Freitas and his team, who dealt with the many off-track excursions in the wet conditions with admirable efficiency.

Aston Martins #97 and #98 posted fastest times in GTE Pro and Am

Pictures courtesy of lynxd67