Paul Ricard blog 2 April 1st, 2011
11.30, and back on the internet. Here’s my thoughts for the day.
We’ve been at the circuit for 2 days, and the Peugeot finally stopped running at about 6pm. It was running through last night, much to the annoyance of the smug people that thought they had done so well to get a hotel near to the circuit. People that are familiar with the diesel racing cars, will be surprised to hear that noise was a problem, but the new Peugeot seems to be a lot noisier. I think that’s a good thing.
It’s been a hot day today, and every job I do seems to involve being outside the truck. As a person that isn’t used to being outside, this was not ideal. Still, I managed to find a job inside. Moving everything on the top deck of the truck, putting 36 wheels at the front and then putting everything else back. Not too bad a job, if you’re 4’6” tall, but a back breaker if your normal size. There’s no pleasing some folk.
Cars have all been scrutineered successfully eventually. As usual, there was a few random changes we had to make to the cars, but nothing too challenging.
So that’s where we are at the moment, back aching and sunburnt, anticipating the season ahead. At this point, I will make my usual disclaimer. I reserve the right to big-up anything remotely associated with Zytek, balanced against a total lack of attention to anything non-Zytek. I would also like to point out that I am normally writing these notes whilst being in a hurry and very tired (my normal state), so don’t be surprised to see errors in speelling, grammar. and content.
It’s the first race of the season, so here’s a bit of a guide to what I will be talking about. Some of you may not be aware that Zytek at Repton are building the Nissan engines for P2, which includes some Oreca chassis, so I’ll be following their progress with interest.
P1 – The fastest cars. Some of them are a bit delicate, so they may not always win overall, but probably will. These are more like last year’s P2 Cars, with the smaller engines. If only it was that simple. I’m sure that point will be expanded on, as the season progresses. The might of Peugeot and Audi will not be doing this race, but will appear later on.
P2 – Main difference to P1 is that they have to have an engine from a road car (not the sort that I drive, obviously). The Zytek engine is definitely not a road car engine, hence the tie up with Nissan, who do make a suitable 4.5litre V8. These cars have been heavily restricted, to keep their speed down. They will still be very quick through the corners, but will be overtaken by everything else in the straights.
Formula Le Mans – Poor man’s P2. No Zytek interest in this class, but expect them to get in amongst the P2s, as the organisers will attempt to adjust relative performance levels.
LM GTE – This is the Porsches, Aston Martin’s and Ferraris, like you see in your local Waitrose car park. No Zytek interest, but will be keeping a close eye on our friends at Jota, who are running an Aston Martin for Sam Hancock and Simon Dolan.
Cars and Drivers.
P1 – A familiar name here. ASM are running in P1 this year, still with all the same crew, including drivers Miguel Amaral and Olivier Pla.
P2 – An unfamiliar name this time. Team Bruichladdich are now Greaves Motorsport, named after team manager Jacob Greaves (or is it his Dad and team owner, Tim Greaves). Drivers are Karim Ojjeh, Gary Chalandon and a welcome return to a Zytek for Tom Kimber-Smith. Some of you might remember Tom driving the works car at Silverstone a few years ago. He qualified just behind the Peugeots, in a P2 car, and drove really well. There’s been a lack of testing, as the car had a big shunt at the end of its first day running at Imola. The car has only just been put together again, with a brief run at Rockingham on the way here.
We have 2 Oreca Nissans, with Signatech joining us at later races. TDS Racing have Matthias Beche and Pierre Thiriet listed on the program, but I believe Jody Firth has signed for them. We shall see. Ex formula 1 winner and now team owner, Thierry Boutsen, has also joined the fray, with drivers Dominik Kralhamer and Nicolas de Crem. I’m afraid I don’t know much about these drivers, but the TDS car was very quick at pre season testing, so that’ll do for me.
If the HPD (Honda) cars appear at the top of the sheets, I might be pointing out that they use Zytek gearshift actuators. Hopefully we’ll beat them anyway.
Can’t wait for the cars to hit the track, and see how competitive we are. They start running tomorrow.
If you’ve stayed awake till the end….Well done.