The three Ginetta G57-P2s head into tomorrow’s Qualifying ahead of the 2017 VdeV Series opener at Circuit de Catalunya as the favourite for Pole Position, after Pegasus Racing and Simpson Motorsport led the way in each of the three Free Practice sessions earlier today.
As part of a 26-car multi-class field, the three G57-P2s that made the trip completed valuable stints to allow each driver to get acclimatised to the car and circuit ahead of tomorrow’s four-hour race. The quickest time of the day on the 4.1-km Formula One circuit located just outside Barcelona was a 1:39.987 set by Charlie Robertson in the morning session, though all three cars traded fastest laps throughout the day.
“Tracks are always quicker in the morning, but I didn’t expect to go that quickly and go unchallenged for the whole day after my first stint,” Robertson said. “We look like we have the strongest car, but Simpson Motorsport have a lot of experience with the G57 after racing with it all of last year. Pegasus are still getting used to it, and quicker each session.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what Sennan (Fielding) and I can do in Qualifying on new tyres tomorrow and then in the race. I’m really looking forward to racing in the dark round here, because it’s black with almost no circuit lighting, so you feel like you’re going so much faster than you are.”
For Pegasus Racing, Friday’s running was crucial. The experienced French team – which is new to racing with the G57-P2 – immediately found pace out of their cars once the on-track action started though, with Ginetta Factory Driver Mike Simpson in particular putting in competitive lap times in preparation for Qualifying and the Race. For the four-hour endurance race he’s sharing the #57 G-57-P2 with Neale Muston and Jordan Sanders.
His best time was a 1:43.141 in Free Practice 2 which turned out to be fastest of anyone during that session. “Pegasus only took delivery of the cars this week at the track, so it’s been a challenge for them to get up to speed,” Simpson explained. “But they’ve done well, we managed to top one session too which was good. Now it’s all about everyone continuing to learn the car and moving forward for the race tomorrow.”
In Free Practice 1 the team’s best time was a 1:32.582, also set by Simpson. Then in Night Practice, it was the #29 G57-P2 of team owner Julien Schell and Stefan Raffin which led the way with a 1:45.609 to go fourth fastest, as the team turned its first laps with its new prototypes in the darkness.
The Simpson Motorsport team was also hard at work all day. Competing with Charlie Robertson, Colin White and new signee Sennan Fielding this weekend, the team is aiming to start the season on a high at Barcelona after finishing first in last year’s points tally.
Following Robertson’s FP1-topping time, Fielding then put the team atop the timing screens once again in Night Practice with a 1:42.249.
“It was a really good day for me, getting used to driving the G57-P2,” Fielding commented after Night Practice. “I managed to go quickest in the night running, which was a really good sign for me.
“I’d heard a lot about how good the G57 is to drive, and now I’ve driven it I agree with that. The car is easy to get used to, but I know there’s so much more to unlock.
“Not only was today a first for me driving a prototype, but also in the night. It was exhilarating and really difficult to be honest because there’s such low visibility, so everything comes at you quicker. Now that I feel acclimatised to the car I’m looking forward to tomorrow, I can’t wait to get my first race under my belt.”
Tomorrow’s action will see the teams head out for Qualifying at 11am, ahead of the main race which starts at 16:00 and runs until 20:00 (local time), from the afternoon sunlight into the darkness.