John Martin: “I could have gone faster”
Australian Le Mans LMP2 driver, John Martin admitted after the opening qualifying session at La Sarthe that he could have gone quicker than the lap that saw him take the class provisional pole position by a second overnight.
Driving the Dunlop-shod Delta-ADR #26 Oreca-Nissan, Martin was still getting comfortable in the car, but was happy with where he ended the abbreviated qualifying session.
“Honestly, I could have done an even better lap on my third attempt,” said Martin. “I didn’t drive very much during the Test Day and evening practice session. I’m still discovering several aspects and I’m using my experience from last year.”
The 28-year-old, who grew up in the central western Queensland mining town of Blackwater, says there is more to come for the G-Drive supported car that he will share with Russian Roman Rusinov and IndyCar part-timer Mike Conway.
“The lap times look good, but I think we can still improve the car for the race. That’s a good thing, because it means we still have a good margin for improvement.”
Team BOC V8 Supercar driver, Jason Bright is having his first crack at Le Mans in the striking orange #81 8 Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia in the GTE-Am. He will share that with Enzo Potolicchio from America and Portuguese, Rui Aguas.
The GTE-Am class is for cars that are at least 12 months old and not to current balance of performance specifications. It is used as a cost-effective class to attract gentlemen racers to Le Mans style competition.
Bright had a frustrating day as they took the car to 50th overall and 11th in class, he and Potolicchio able to get their mandatory five night laps in, however Aguas didn’t get his opportunity.
During practice, they were sitting first in class midway through the session before an on-track incident with an LMP1 car saw them return to the pits to repair the damage and get back into the fray.
“The car seems to have good pace and I’m really looking forward to getting in some laps during the day time tomorrow,” said Bright. “I’m still learning the track and it’s particularly hard to learn it at night time and get used to the traffic around you.”
Ryan Briscoe was another to have a frustrating evening. He was 15th in the LMP2 class, however in practice earlier in the day ended the session eighth.
The Rookie – who is fresh from driving two recent IndyCar races – was able to get his mandatory night laps out of the way, as was car owner Scott Tucker. Marino Franchitti was stranded without a lap as the red flag came out in what he considers his favourite session of the year.
The Level 5 team were about to strap on a new set of Michelins to allow Franchitti to set a time in the HPD-Honda.
Early tomorrow morning will see another two 120 minute qualifying sessions.
Friday evening Australian time (6:30pm AEST) will also see NISMO unveil its much awaited electric “Garage 56” machine live on NISMO.TV. It will be unveiled at a press of a button by a member of the public “virtual racer” that won the opportunity in the Le Mans town centre (see below for video). A simultaneous unveil will take place in the paddock.
The NISMO Le Mans Spotter’s Guide can be downloaded here: http://t.co/WMLUfE0gO2
Australian TV coverage is as follows:
Friday, June 21
3:00am Qualifying LIVE
5:00am Le Mans 24 Minutes LIVE (one hour)
6:00am Qualifying LIVE
Saturday, June 22
5:00pm Warm-Up LIVE
6:00pm Legends of Le Mans Race LIVE
10:45pm Le Mans 24 Hours LIVE
SPEED TV AUSTRALIA:
Saturday, June 22
10:30pm Le Mans 24 Hours LIVE
Live Timing and Web Video Coverage:
VIDEO: Nissan’s Garage 56 Teaser