Round-up - GT1s at Ricard
So Zakspeed Racing topped the timing sheets on both days of testing
at Paul Ricard on March 7/8, with Sascha Bert behind the wheel of
the Saleen S7-R.
Times (Day 1 – Day 2 - unofficial)
Saleen Zakspeed 2.04.840 2:02.646
Aston Martin RaceAlliance 2.05.271 2:03.386
Corvette C5-R PSI 2.07.634 2:04.544
Corvette C6.R PSI 2.07.701 2:05.321
Lamborghini B-Racing 2.10.571 2:06.430
Lamborghini Reiter 2.10.967 2:11.666
The white and blue Saleen ran trouble-free and covered
plenty of miles, as the team collected data on its Michelins. New
Zakspeed team manager Andreas Leberle remarked that Sascha Bert
left a good impression with the team, both on the track and working
with the crew. Leberle himself is probably best known from his time
in the ChampCar world series where he co-owned, with Christian Danner,
the Project Indy team. His predecessor at Zakspeed Racing, Andreas
Hainke, is now in charge of RaceAlliance’s Aston Martin DBR9(s).
“I am delighted that the team is working so
well,” said Andreas Leberle, “and also that working
with the American Saleen technicians was perfect here at Paul Ricard.
Now it is up to us to develop additional synergies between Saleen,
the marque’s European representative, Oreca, and our own team.”
Saleen factory engineer Derk Hartland was present
at Paul Ricard as well, adding a further indication that Zakspeed
Racing is going to be a front-running team.
RaceAlliance team summed up its two days as - great potential, but
a lot of work still ahead. The Austrian team had two Aston Martin
DBR9s on hand - one still in plain white (which barely ran).
“We had to deal with the usual little gremlins
that you will find in a new car,” said team manager Andreas
Hainke, “and unfortunately, it has cost us a lot of time.
Still, the test was positive in that team and drivers worked together
very well from the start.”
“The Aston Martin has extraordinary potential,”
remarked Karl Wendlinger. “Now we must find out the car’s
intricacies. To find that last second that separates you from the
top is always the hardest. A lot of work is waiting for us in the
“Our primary goal was to get ourselves acquainted
with our new car, with the whole RaceAlliance crew, and our new
tyre partner, Dunlop,” said Philipp Peter. The team’s
next test scheduled for this weekend at Estoril, in conjunction
with tyre partner Dunlop.
with the team, but in a GT2 car, was Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer, co-owner
of RaceAlliance, who will be making his in the championship this
year, with the team’s Porsche. His racing experience comes
from the Alpenpokal and similar Porsche-based club series, as well
as outings such as the recent Dubai 24 Hours, with a Duller Motorsport
BMW M3. His main concern at Le Castellet was the GT1 team, however,
and as far as RaceAlliance’s goals are concerned, he is aiming
high: “From my work in aviation I am used to striving for
the highest standard of quality to satisfy my customers. So our
vision in racing is to have the best drivers competing in the best
car for the best team. We will definitely sort out all remaining
teething troubles in the remaining tests.”
The PSI Corvettes
were third and fourth fastest in the 2:04 / 2:05 bracket, testing
both Dunlop and Pirelli tyres - they'll use both this year, depending
on which series they happen to be racing in at the time. Kuismanen,
Menten and Palttala were testing the C6, Halliday and Alliot the
C5. Christophe Bouchut (we think) found a time in the 2:06s on the
second day, in the B-Racing Lamborghini. Marini Franchitti, hot-foot
from Mexico City, also drove this car.
Correction: Franchitti set the 2:06.
The Reiter Murcielago
remained off the ultimate pace, in the high 2:10s / 2:11s, reason
to come - but the two days were primarily not for the media, much
more for the FIA and its equalisation procedures.