Rollcentre’s Next Three Months
Laurent Chauveau forwarded a bunch of questions to Martin Short recently (full answers posted on www.infoscourse.org), and Shorty – always keen to gain maximum coverage, and why not? – also forwarded his answers to dsc.

Here is a summary of the main opening points, followed by a lengthy piece straight from the ‘horse’s mouth’.

dailysportscar.comRegarding the team’s 2006 LMP2 Radicals, Martin Short makes it clear that he’s not expecting to receive the first car until March 1, so that makes Sebring impractical. The current plan should see both cars ready for the Paul Ricard test days a week after Sebring.

“We will be at Istanbul (for the first LMS event),” and Rollcentre will be applying / already has applied for two entries at Le Mans.

Regarding the possible sale of the team’s Dallaras, “we have serious enquiries from Japan and USA,” says M. Short. “I am able to sell the cars with Judd V10s installed as part of the car, rather than leased as usual, though some of the enquiries are showing interest if we can fit the Chrysler units of old.”

The Dallaras are eligible for the Japan Le Mans Challenge in 2006, as well as the ALMS.

‘Will Joao (Barbosa) and Vanina (Ickx) race one more year with you?’ asked Laurent Chauveau.

“I would love to partner both of these great pilots again, and we are working on budgets to do that. Vanina and myself nearly made the top three in LMES last year, beaten by 1 point by Ortelli and McNish, and all three of us ran a very strong second at Le Mans 24 for many hours, so that’s a great package. I would also love to see Rob Barff with us again if we could make it happen.”

Martin Short has a ‘short-term’ problem regarding finding drivers though – which he explains in considerable detail, together with his whole philosophy behind the specification of the cars. His words need no additions – they perfectly explain how the Short brain is working.

“As yet, I have no drivers for the second Radical. The problem is that nobody knows how good these cars are going to be, so it is difficult to make a commitment as a driver and a sponsor. I just need to get the cars on the track and see what they can do. If they are fast, and reliable, then I will have the drivers. LMP2 is waiting to have a fast and reliable car. The Porsche showed in the US how devastating a good LMP2 car can be.

“This is what I am hoping to emulate in Europe. We are working very closely with Radical and taking all the excellent reliability features of the Dallaras that we can to the Radical. And if the design is as good as we are hoping for..... then we will be fast.

“Car specification is for me very important, in that we put everything that we can into the car that is high quality. It would be easy to build a cheap car and sell cheap drives..... that is not for me. But it will make it harder for me to explain to customers that the drive is more expensive than a cheap deal, because our gearbox cost 30,000 Euros more than a normal LMP2 gearbox, for example.

“The heart of the package is the engine. We are running Judd V8s. This is the engine that finishes and wins at Le Mans, and my relationship with Judd over the past two years has confirmed the quality of the product and their professionalism and desire to win. They are integral to my plan.

“The gearbox is an LMP1 Ricardo unit, the same as in the Zytek and utilizing Audi specification components. It is of very high quality, with a plate and viscous differential and uses Megaline paddle shift system, all at significant expense. Having seen gearboxes explode at Le Mans, and also cars unable to get back to the pits because they have lost a wheel and can't drive on the remaining wheel because they don't run a viscous diff, then for me, it’s a ‘must have’ unit.

“We are using Pi data logging and instrumentation..... their support is outstanding, and their factory is 15 minutes from me, and we have a very high specification Beru F1 Systems wiring loom. How many LMP2 cars have suffered with wiring or electrical issues? We are not doing anything clever here, just making sure that it is simple and reliable. We are not going for the ultimate in lightest looms, we are going for the highest quality, and the easiest to work on and fix if there is a problem.

“And Radical are putting maximum attack into the design of the car. They are using the best designer in Peter Elleray.....you only have to look at the R10, and Peter’s Le Mans winning Bentley to see the family resemblance......that cannot be a coincidence......

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“Peter is putting all his experience into this car, and it has become a passion for him. He worked all over Christmas to ensure that the final suspension upright drawings were finished so that they could go into production as quickly as possible.

dailysportscar.com“Radical are bringing the strength of their manufacturing base into play now. As a manufacturer of over 400 race cars around the world, they have a very strong skills set in the factory and close at hand. This is being brought into play now, and parts are being made and finished daily. Soon, we will be assembling.

“We at Rollcentre have produced a wooden dummy car, with engine and gearbox, and soon dummy bodywork and suspension in place. We have used this to get the wiring loom, exhaust systems, brake lines, instrumentation etc. in place, so that when Radical are ready to assemble, we are ready to hit the ground running. Radical will be making use of these systems that we have developed for them, and after the Rollcentre cars are built, then production of the future customer cars will be a lot faster.

“This is a nice sign of how Radical are trusting us to help them, and was one of the important factors for us - that we can really be a part of this project with them. We are the only Radical team that will apply for entry to Le Mans this year, and Radical want us to succeed.....

“Two years of work with the Dallaras in LMP1 has shown us what we need to do.

“Of course there are teams out there that are very experienced with LMP2, and they are all going to be tough to beat, and with Porsche out there now, knocking on the European door, its going to be a very competitive class.

“For me, I had to view......... what chance do I have of winning races against Audi in LMP1?......not much....what chance do we have as a team to stand on the top step of the podium in LMP 2.....much better. LMP 1 has been fantastic for us for two years, but we are in this to win. And that’s what we aim to do.

“Now who is going to join us..........?”

It looks as though we’ll have to be at the Paul Ricard test days to see the Radicals perform. But after a whole sequence of good results with the Dallara(s), starting at Sebring in 2004, we’ve got a pretty clear idea of how they’ll run.

 

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