SPEEDY RACING Official Le Mans Test

Benjamin Leuenberger English Leave a Comment

As per last Wednesday SNORAS Spyker Squadron exchanged their Zeewolde based workshop for their new home: two pit boxes, three trailers and an old land house inside the track form their base of operations for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans in two weeks time.

Before the team could jointly work with the drivers on the setup of cars they first had to prepare the pit boxes, built the catering- and paddock tents, attended the mandatory driver- and team meetings and guided their cars through the technical checks.

The weather did not really help the built-up process and in particular on Saturday severe downpours caused flooding and small landslides around the track. On Sunday morning, the official test day, the weather looked promising although the track was still damp.

Two out of the three drivers of the #85 C8 Laviolette were not present at breakfast on Sunday morning; Alexei Vasiliev and Ralf Kelleners. Alexei was racing in another race series and Ralf’s wife gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday night so he arrive late. Ralf stayed with his wife and got an okay from the race director to complete the official paperwork on Sunday morning. As it was three or more years ago that he, but also fellow driver in the #94 car, Benjamin Leuenberger, had driven at Le Mans both had to complete 10 laps to be eligible to compete in the race.

Whilst Ralf was signing up with the ACO, Peter Dumbreck and Benjamin Leuenberger went out just after the nine o’clock mark. Benjamin went out on slicks while Peter started on intermediates but none of these tires were of any use for the rest of the day. It soon started raining and it never really stopped.

At 11:20 the #85 car returned to the pit box with an engine failure. Due to the limited preparation time caused by the packed pre-season race agenda no spare engine was yet available. Ralf was also not allowed to complete his 10 laps in the other car so the decision was made to swap the engine over with the sister car. In record time, in less than an hour and half, the engine was transfered to the #85 car and Ralf eventually complied to the rules after completing his laps.

Peter van Erp: Managing Director Spyker Squadron: “The value we got out of this official test day was fairly limited. The rain, the code reds – we have made 18 stops in 27 laps. All drivers fortunately completed their laps and we can now focus on the race week. Part of the team will go back to the Netherlands to work on the engines for qualifying and the race”.

From June 9 the Le Mans race week starts with the ‘Pesage’ The race starts at 15:00 on Saturday the 14th of June.

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