Clear blue skies greeted the large crowd that flocked to the Circuit de la Sarthe today for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Official Test Day, and they were not disappointed!
Test Day gives all the teams a chance to work on their set-ups, drivers to hone their techniques and rookies to get their first impression of the 13.626 km long track for real rather than in a simulator!
And it was a rookie who set today’s fastest time – yes, you’ve guessed it, none other than Toyota’s newish recruit, a Spaniard by the name of Fernando Alonso! The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Nakajima, Alonso and Buemi crossed the line putting a 3:19:066 into the books, closely followed by the #3 Rebellion R13, only 0.614 secs down and in a Toyota sandwich with #7 TS050 in third.
The ‘will they won’t they’ of Ginetta making the trip down to the Loire Valley was heralded with both cars appearing in the today’s test session – a rather large pat on the back for Mr Tomlinson!
Dragonspeed only just claimed the fastest LMP2 time of the day with a 3:27:288, a mere .024 secs between it and the #10 IDEC Sport, with G-Drive Racing taking the third spot of the 20 car field.
LMGTE Pro was all about the Ford GTs and the Porsche 911 RSRs, with the latter taking the top spot. Patrick Pilet took the #93 round in 3:52:551, with the #91 in second and then the first of the two Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK cars with #67 and #66 respectively.
The AM class was headed up by another Porsche, this time the Dempsey-Proton Racing #77 of Julien Andlauer with a 3:55:970, with Spirit of Race’s #54 Ferrari 488 GTE in second and the #61 of Clearwater Racing taking the third spot, having finished session one top of the table.
Safety cars and several red flags interrupted today’s 8 hour test session - the most notable for an incident involving the #95 Aston Martin Racing and #35 SMP Racing. After his car impacted the barrier on the run down to Indianapolis, we are pleased to say AMR’s Marco Sôrenson was released from the medical centre with no reported injuries.
In 12 days time the 60 cars take to the roads of Le Mans when the first free practice session starts Wednesday 13 June, 1600 hrs local time.
But don’t forget, Scrutineering takes places in the Place de la République in downtown Le Mans on Sunday 10 June, 1430 to 1700 hrs, and Monday 11 June, 1000 to 1800 hrs local time.