Barff’s Le Mans Diary
Day Four – Thursday Qualifying
After the problems
with our car on Wednesday it was critically important for to get
decent track time in the final two qualifying sessions on Thursday.
The TVR certainly
had the ability to improve but I still had to qualify in the car.
Each driver must complete three laps in both a daylight and night
time session and so far I hadn’t managed it in either one!
Overnight the boys replaced
the engine and clutch in both of the TVRs and by the time we got
to 7 pm and the start of the first session I was really up for it.
After so many
problems it was a real relief to get out there and do what I do
It was easy
to bring down the time from yesterday: I finally managed a lap of
the circuit (8.48 miles long!) in 4:20.288, that’s an average
speed of almost 190 km/h or almost 120 mph in old money. That looks
fast, and it is, but the top prototypes here are lapping at an average
of about 145, so in the quicker parts of the circuit the closing
speeds are enormous. We’ll start towards the back of the grid
with the #92 car two rows in front of us. No matter, I like a challenge.
I set the time
on race tyres and with a race set up: we’d hoped and expected
to be much quicker on the stickier qualifying Dunlops but I was
baulked twice and just couldn’t get a clean lap in with them.
Despite that I got good time in the car, eight full flying laps
and that was the most important thing of all.
went well all round and for the final, night time qualifying period
I just did what I had to do, three laps to qualify and back in to
hand the car over to Richard Hay to let him do the same.
spent most of the session adjusting the set-up of the car.
one of the key things about endurance racing, you have to have
set-up that works for all the drivers in the car over long stints
and often in changing conditions. Again the problems yesterday
cost us time and opportunity to experiment and unfortunately for
the early part of the session, we ended up with a set-up that
really suit any of us.
The good news
is that the changes we made worked much better for me and for both
of the Richards (Stanton and Hay). What we now have is a car that
is very raceable. We have, in effect, adopted the set up from the
#92 car. Tim Sugden has been doing the majority of the qualifying
runs in that car and has found three seconds over our time in #91.
I’m very confident that once we get settled in we’ll
find the missing pace.
rest day here on Friday but there is the Drivers Parade in the City
Centre to look forward to this evening. Martin Short has told me
that we’ve got a real experience to look forward to there,
with thousands of Brits now arriving for the race. If I know TVR
fans as well as I think I do I guess we’ll come across a few!
Some of the TVR drivers are planning a trip this evening to the
campsites so I’d guess with over a thousand TVR Car Club members
travelling over for the race we’ll come across a few more
So all in all
a good day, I’m more relaxed, the team is ready and Saturday’s
4pm race start is galloping towards us. After a bad Wednesday, my
usual chirpy demeanour is back! At least that’s what the lads
on the pit crew tell me.