Nasamax Pre-Race
Raceday means more manpower at dsc, so the first real chance to catch up with progress at Nasamax – and the DM139.

Romain Dumas was out for the warm up this morning, and despite running with a full fuel load of bio-ethanol (that’s 135 litres) he set a very impressive 1:42.9.

“We’re closer on race pace than we were in qualifying,” commented the Frenchman. That was a reference to the Zytek’s best of 1:38.5 with Chris Dyson at the wheel. The two Veloqx Audis lapped in the 1:38s / high 1:39s.

“Downforce, it’s all about downforce round Silverstone,” sighed Werner Lupberger. “With our increased ride height and smaller wing, we haven’t got as much as anyone else.” Here are Werner and Romain after signing a lot of autographs this morning.

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What the car does have is straight line speed. The officially recorded speed yesterday, in qualifying, was 175 mph, along the Hangar Straight, but Werner was sure that the point at which the speed was measured wasn’t where the car had reached its terminal velocity. He suspected a true figure of over 180 mph.

So a shortage of downforce compared to the other LMP1 cars, but a quick car on the straights.

“We went stiffer this morning, and the car is quicker like that, but it isn’t ideal for the race,” said Romain Dumas. “We’re going back to a softer set-up for the race, more like we had for qualifying.”

Werner Lupberger was frustrated not to have a chance to really got for a lap in qualifying, his efforts blunted by a red flag, then oil and then rain.

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“The red flag meant that I lost all the temperature in the Michelins, but I was straight out as soon as they waved the green flag, and someone lost his engine at Stowe – so that was that lap gone. I had one more chance with the tyres, but next time round it rained at Stowe. That was it. Romain set the time later on in that session, on another set of tyres. We didn’t try to improve in the second session.”

The South African described the handling as “some understeer, with oversteer on the exit of the corners. As soon as we get on the power, it snap oversteers. I don’t like cars that oversteer, but we do have a car that is mechanically perfect. It is fantastic – and it has been as strong as this since we started using the Judd engine.

“The top speed is fantastic too, and we’re so quick that people can’t come back at us under braking.”

So there we have it: Lupberger to start the race, with an eco-fuelled car that is appreciably closer to the pace in race trim than in qualifying – and a green car that is very, very quick in a straight line… with excellent reliability in store too.

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