One of the many exciting new additions to the Le Mans test day this year was the introduction of the new-for-2015 LMP3 class. Two cars run by Ginetta ‘works’ squad Team LNT were part of the 64 car entry list, with current European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and Nissan LMP1 drivers all getting an opportunity to sample the new combination.
In particular, ELMS regulars Charlie Robertson and Sir Chris Hoy, along with 2006 GT2 class winner Lawrence Tomlinson, were each given time in the #74 Ginetta-Nissan to acquaint themselves with the 8.4 mile La Sarthe circuit, trading tarmac with some of the automotive industry’s biggest names in the LMP1, LMP2 and GT classes.
Former Ginetta GT4 champion Robertson, who made his test day debut at the weekend, was impressed by all aspects of the Le Mans experience.
“It was awesome to drive Le Mans for the first time”, he said. “It started off wet and I just wanted to complete my 10 obligatory laps first to qualify – it was good to get that box ticked.”
“It dried out for the second half of the day and everything just clicked, the circuit was amazing and to break the four minute barrier was something special.”
“The car ran faultlessly, the team did a great job and I think I proved my worth. I’d love to be back next year with Sir Chris in a Nissan powered LMP2 car – that’s the dream!”
Sunday’s test day was split into two four hour sessions to give teams the opportunity to refine their cars ahead of the main race on June 13-14.
Robertson completed 28 laps in the morning session, setting the car’s quickest time of 3:58.308s just after the hour mark, while in the afternoon he registered 13 laps aboard the Nissan V8 powered Ginetta.
“Driving flat-out down the Mulsanne Straight is a pretty cool feeling and it’s an unbelievable experience when the LMP1 cars come past you – they’re crazy fast”, he commented.
“When you watch the P1 cars trackside you’re amazed by the sheer speed but when you’re actually on track among them, it really is something else. It’s been an incredible opportunity.”
Having gained a taste of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Robertson and Hoy will now turn their attention to the third round of the European Le Mans Series, which takes place at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on July 12.