LMES – Silverstone – Thursday Report
Zytek Quickest So Far
As already reported,
40 cars made it as far as scrutineering, but only 39 made it through
the inspection. The non-arrivals were the Perspective and Denis
Cohignac Porsches, and the MAC Racing Viper, while the TVR T-400R
for Lawrence Tomlinson and Nigel Greensall didn’t make it
through the ACO’s inspection, so these two drivers will have
to be content with the two British GT races.
seats seem to have been taken up, John Christie regretting withdrawing
his Tampolli late yesterday afternoon: having done so, he then had
a selection of drivers available….
So 39 could
have taken to the track at 17.00 this afternoon, and 38 set a time:
the one not to do so was the AutoPalace Ferrari. There have been
driver changes / additions, although not all seem to have been filed
with the authorities yet. One that has is Richard Jones, joining
Calum Lockie and Phil Andrews in the Taurus Caterpillar,
There were some
damp patches lurking for the unwary at five o’clock, even
though the scattered but heavy showers had all but finished at lunchtime
– leaving a very bright and warm late afternoon. Oddly, we
had a red flag within moments of the start of the session (reason
unknown) and another at 17.25, as one of the LMP2s found a gravel
trap. That led to one of the oddest sights of the session, the Goh
Audi making it to the queue at the head of the pitlane, then failing
to fire up when the lights changed to green. The mechanics pushed
it all the way back down the pit lane, to the Goh pit, no. 1.
were still working on it at 19.30, unable at that stage to find
out why it wouldn’t ‘goh’. But although Dindo
Capello only completed five timed laps, his best, a 1:41.315, was
still good enough for fifth fastest – and it was the three
Audis and two DBA / Zyteks occupying the first five lines on the
Zytek was fastest, Robbie Kerr setting the 1:38.104, half a second
or so faster than the two Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx R8s. Team manager
John Wickham explained that they’d filled the 04S up with
fuel at the start of the session, and just run the hour and a quarter
like a stint, with no change of rubber. Chris Dyson had his first
try round Silverstone, reckoning it to be a “beautifully flowing
circuit, an excellent track.”
is a completely relaxed character about his sudden progression to
prototype racing, reckoning that ten laps was all it took last week
to get used to the Zytek, and then he could go for times. With that
experience behind him, it was no surprise to see him set the fastest
time. The Zytek was almost completely troublefree, just a slight
gear selection problem at one point, “but we knew what it
was, and it was easily fixed,” commented John Wickham.
So a Zytek fastest,
then the two Veloqx Audis. One of them made contact with the Sebah
Porsche, Piers Masarati at the wheel, the white 911 returning to
the pits on a truck. “He cut me up at the second part of Becketts,”
said Masarati, “he just turned in too early. It smashed the
right front suspension.” There didn’t seem to be any
damage to the Audi.
The purple and
silver cars looked as menacing and effective as ever. At the start
of the session, Sam Li sauntered up to the Zytek pit to have a look
at this chap Kerr – perhaps just to familiarise himself with
knows what Nic Minassian’s looks like. The Frenchman (with
the home in Sussex) was reasonably happy with fourth best, but as
ever it wasn’t a clear lap, his 1:38.8: “I had to pass
one at Becketts and one at Bridge.” He was reasonably happy
with the balance of the Creation DBA, but there was something not
quite right with the set-up at the rear end, and investigations
were going on after the session was over.
Sixth and seventh
were the RML Lola and the Jota Zytek, the latter not seeming to
run as much downforce as the other two, and the Lister and the Rollcentre
Dallara completed the regular LMP1s. Joao Barbosa wasn’t at
all happy with the Dallara’s handling, perhaps not helped
by being virtually driven off the road by one of the LMP2s at Woodcote:
he completed the pass on the grass.
Lola was at the back, the Taurus team grappling with a wastegate
problem, which stopped Phil Andrews getting in many laps. Lockie
and Jones didn’t go out.
LMP2 was headed
by the two Courages, but it was the Belmondo version that was fastest
so far. Sam Hancock was first out in the factory C65, and was enjoying
Becketts in a prototype, but found that the gearing of the car was
was Simon Pullan in the K2 Pilbeam. Ben Devlin was first out, but
it was Pullan who set the 1:49.4, two seconds quicker than the next
‘conventional’ LMP2, the Randaccio Tampolli. “The
car is good, it’s got a very nice balance,” said Devlin.
Saleen was two seconds faster than the Larbre Ferrari 550, with
Biagi in one of the Barron Connor Ferraris third. GNM was running
in a fresh engine in their Saleen, so fourth was the A-Level Engineering
Porsche. Eric van de Poele last raced here in 1994, in the BTCC,
and it was very common to find drivers with little or no experience
of the full Grand Prix track. vdP and Wolfgang Kaufmann had a reliable,
grey Porsche underneath them, and “we have now got a lot of
data to look at so we can improve the car,” said the German.
GT was the closest
class of all, the Freisinger and JWR RSRs separated by just 12 thousandths.
Johnny Mowlem and Mike Jordan were in the midst of set-up discussions,
but the new team seems to have a very competitive car here.
The Cirtek Porsche
was an unsurprising third fastest, with fourth (and no surprise
to us) the Chamberlain-Synergy TVR. Jonny Kane and Warren Hughes
admitted that they’ve got some dialling in to do with the
TVR, but the purple car is looking very competitive already. “At
the end of the Snetterton test it felt really good,” said
Kane, “so we’ve just got to work away at it to get it
as good as that here.” Warren Hughes was first out, for his
first ever laps in the car – and came away very impressed.
Bob Berridge was feeling very good about his driver choices and
progress with the car.
was exploring the performance of the T2M Porsche – and it’s
sequential shift, with an H-pattern gearbox. “It’s a
really interesting system: Ikeya Formula in Japan have developed
it, and it works very well. It’s like a slow sequential, but
you can flat shift with it, and it stops a clumsy driver going from,
say, fifth to second by mistake. It’s beautifully engineered.”
The T2M Porsche had “masses of understeer” but the Scot
was expecting to find at least a second and a half of the two and
a half that separated him from the Freisinger and JWR cars.
The Choroq Porsche
was in trouble with a misfire, but otherwise cars seemed to be in
more or less their expected positions.
the late posting of this report: we’ve had to rush to Stansted
and back (well, Lordy has), and it was a late session anyway.
from day 1 at Silverstone. Taurus Sports has struck up a partnership
with Hartridge, a company which manufactures fuelling and test equipment
for companies such as Caterpillar. Hartridge will begin looking
at the V10 diesel next week, focusing on mapping at low speeds,
the kind of work that can’t be carried out on a dyno., because
the engine speeds are too slow. Expect Lola diesel progress to be
identifiable by Spa next month.