1000 Km – Four British Efforts (2 – Lister Storm Racing)
It’s frustrating to se an official ACO press release issued
which stated that there were no surprises in second qualifying on
the Bugatti Circuit on November 8.
One surprise was to see
the Taurus Lola in third place with minutes remaining of the session
– but it didn’t stay there. Its time was later thrown
out for an airbox irregularity, but anyway the Lister Storm LMP,
JC-W at the wheel, launched itself up to a genuine third before
the end of the 45 minutes, with a 1:29.056.
“That was no surprise
to us,” commented JC-W. “We’ve done a 1:29.4 in
testing here recently.”
It was a surprise, surely,
to those who haven’t had an inkling of the potential of this
Third on the grid at
Le Mans, and perhaps 50 bhp down on most of the other top LMP 900
We’ve already highlighted
the Laurence Pearce promise of a Christmas present to his drivers
of “60 more reliable bhp” from the Lister developed
V8, and have no doubt that this determined character will keep his
quietly working away at the car during the summer,” explained
LP. “There were a number of issues we needed to address, and
I believe that we proved in Le Mans that we’ve got a really
competitive chassis for next year.”
Who was it that pointed
out that all Laurence Pearce needs is a challenge and then the bit
will be firmly between his teeth? So it must have been him we saw
in the Leatherhead area of Surrey, chewing away at a piece of metal.
prototype that’s really getting me excited,” said Pearce
this week. “But we’re developing the GT too of course.”
Busy times ahead for
the Lister dynamometer…
So the LMP came
of age on Saturday, and the broad smiles of one job well done were
very evident in garage 26 at Le Mans.
Campbell-Walter had already given us his view of some of the design
principles behind the black beauty, and Tom Coronel was interested
to hear the thinking behind the front end shape, for example. A
‘high nose’ was of course considered a year or more
ago, but the unique ‘low middle, high wheelarches’ design
has now been proven to be very effective on both the short and full
Le Mans tracks.
Both tracks? Well, the
Storm showed very good straightline speed in June (bearing in mind
its power deficit), and very good downforce in November.
So what did Sunday have
never run it in the wet.” That was a fairly common comment
on the new/newer cars up and down the pitlane (after such a dry
summer in Europe), so the Lister brains had to come up with a wet
set-up for the race that was partly intuition, partly guesswork.
too bad,” said the lead driver after the warm up. “It’s
good enough to race with.”
Campbell-Walter had driven
the car during the wettest, opening part of the warm up –
and was six seconds up (on his best time until then) on his in lap.
Why did you come in then?
“My 15 minutes
were up: I wanted the other two to try it in the wet.” Hmm,
what a responsible attitude that was. Tom Coronel was happy with
third fastest time, but the potential was there to be closer to
the Audi – perhaps much closer.
And then it
went wrong: after a string of thirds - in qualifying, in the warm
up, and then third place in the opening laps of the race, a driveshaft
broke exiting the last corner on lap 7. The Lister coasted past
the pits, completed the lap and pitted for a long stop. LP could
only say one word - “Driveshaft” – as Damian Smith
and the other mechanics pitched in to change it as quickly as possible.
It could have been a
20 minute job, but ended up taking an hour and 17 minutes. Any chance
of a good result had disappeared of course, but there was still
a chance to demonstrate the car’s potential.
race lap, did you see that?” asked Laurence Pearce? Oh yes,
Our man back at base
also spotted the sequence of Lister lap times coming down, as Tom
Coronel adapted to the drying track (still dampish) track: 1:44,
1:41, 1:40. 1:40, 1:39, 1:38, 1:37. 1:37, 1:36.
Nathan Kinch had already
completed a double stint (on a wetter track) by then, so once the
Safety Car pulled in, we had T. Coronel chasing A Wallace. “Did
you see that, did you see that?” Yup.
JC-W and Nathan Kinch
completed the race, the Lister having moved up from bog last at
hour 1 to 29th at the end of the six hours.
GTS in Europe seems to
be developing some real momentum in Europe at the moment, but a
little patience should see the prototype arena really pick up too.
The prototype future is going to be a bright one, we believe.