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WEC - Official Tests 2013

29-30 March 2013
WEC Official tests 2013
02/04/2013 -

The WEC anxious running for the organization, which had marked the opening season with results not always up to expectations, this year has probably left place to major attention to the details which going through a lean period cannot help offering a breath to whom, with sacrifice, goes on investing in endurance-races. After the race of Sebring wise exclusion, which last year had practically seen the cars under 2011 configuration, WEC has started during the holy week with private tests on the circuit of Le Castellet. An inheritance received by Le Mans Series, with the cars of the new ELMS FIA that have run on Tuesday and Wednesday, introducing the two-day tests destined to the entering cars the world race.

As foreseen, there was the absence of the leaders of the category “Audi and Toyota” which involved the obligatory appearance at this event of the Porsche 911RSR, entered by Manthey Racing with a direct support of the Company and the presence, even if in dribs and drabs, of the Lotus T128 LMP2, the beginning of a project which should be enlarged next year by participating among the P1s.

Porsche has revealed its new creature on Thursday in the stands of Var circuit, in the presence of Hartmut Kristen, Olaf Manthey and the six drivers selected for 2013: Bernhard Dumas, Pilet, Bergmeister, besides Lietz and Lieb as usual. Derived from 991 Carrera, the RSR goes on mounting a 6-cylinder boxer 4000 cc, but it has significant novelties in comparison with the previous version, such as 10 cm longer wheelbase, articulated arm-front suspension and above all a systematic use of carbon fibres to succeed in lowering the barycentre. On the track the references have been successful with the times in line with the ones got by the rivals.

The Lotus T128, whose homonymy with the single-seater which in 2011 had raced in Formula One, has created some media problems, finished in the circuit garages and has run few rounds between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening with Rossiter. Designed under the flag of the Lotus make by the Monaco Adess AG (Advanced Engineering Systems Solutions AG) and Kodewa racing team, that have already worked jointly to develop HRT Formula One, the prototype was generated thanks to James Key’s co-operation, now working under Toro Rosso, and Daniel Simon, a futurist designer brought up under Walter de’Silva’s wings.

In spite of that Lotus name is due to the exclusive right of the make belonging to Kolles family for LMP2 and LMP1, more than a real interest by the company set up by Chapman, in the Ricard stands the experts were eager to see the stand opening so as to have a closer look at the newborn car. Under a significant resemblance with Audi and Toyota there is a hidden carbon fibre monocoque with suspensions with push rod and double overlapped triangles fitted both on front and rear axles. The Driveline is assured by a Hewland TLSM 200, six-speed gearbox, while the engine chosen by the official team will be a four-litre Judd HK, derived by a BMW S65, but the chassis will be also arranged to host Nismo or Honda. Moreover, the engine will be re-named Praga in order to seal the recent relations with the old car make of Czech Republic, multi-decorated unit in the latest seasons among go-carts, which in 2014 should take to develop a LMP1 design. The Lotus team has also entered with one of the two old Lola's which took part in last year championship, and unlike the newborn has run a long time allowing the experts to check the betterments of the engine set up by Judd, that after the poor results of last season seems to have a new sap. In fact, if the Morgan-Judd of Moran team has managed to set best time during the two-day race devoted to ELMS, Lola-Lotus has continuously run by setting interesting time among WEC cars.

There was only the presence of one Rebellion, driven by Jani and the Acura of the Strakka team, driven alternatively by Watt, Leventis and Kene. Aerodynamic changes made by the Swiss team have aroused interest as far as the rear wing is concerned, in line with what exhibited by Toyota at Silverstone, in search of major load in mixed grounds without jeopardizing peak speed. Its best time was 1:43:521 in the two-day race, with two-second lead over the rival.

P2s were much many, with three Morgan cars with a Nissan engine of Oak Racing, involved a long time on Var circuit and able to set the two best times in practice with Baguette, which will share the seat in this start of season with Gonzales and Plowman, and Pla with co-driver Alex Brundle. Even if it didn’t show any particular technical features in comparison with last year, Morgan seemed more efficient both on dry and long run. Pizzonia’s debut at the wheel of the Oreca of ADR team was remarkable. The juggle boy was soon able to drive the “barchetta” gaining the third time in the category, three tenths over the fastest lap. It was luckless the other car of the team, named G-Drive Racing because of its Russian sponsor, that bumped into the wall on Friday afternoon after the driver losing car control coming out of Signes.

GEC’s were absent, and with two only GTPro’s on spot, major comparisons were possible between GTAm’s, with the Ferrari of AF Corse taking the lead of the group thanks to Gerber’s time, before the twin car of 8-Star Motorsport, in “a cannot be proposed orange” colour, driven by an excellent Peter as usual. The Aston Martin with Campbell-Walter was faster than envisaged, ahead of the Corvette of Larbre and Porsches of Proton and IMSA Performance. To remark the team Proton that exhibited two different Porsches on the track, one will take part in the WEC and the other in ELMS.

After one week of interval, next WEC and ELMS meetings will take place at Silverstone on 13-14 April.



article by Marco Zanello
Photo Giacomo Zanello - Marco Zanello

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