Productive Le Mans Test Day for TUSC Drivers

by Jake Kilshaw

A group of Tudor United SportsCar Championship drivers completed the marathon task of driving on two continents over two days last weekend, after attending the Le Mans Test Day in preparation for the French endurance classic.

Straight after racing in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle in Detroit, MI on Saturday afternoon, TUSC regulars Chris Cumming, Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell shared a private jet directly to Le Mans. Jordan Taylor also joined them in Le Mans, but decided to take the public route, on a commercial flight to Paris.

“The logistics worked pretty well,” said Cumming, who will drive for OAK Racing in LMP2. “We arrived in Le Mans about 6:30 a.m. local. We all got a few hours of sleep during the flight. Once we arrived, we all had to do administrative checks, photos, and meetings with the stewards and race director; this took until 9:45 a.m.”

“I was only at the track for about six hours, and I only did about 10 or 15 laps in the wet,” said Taylor, who has raced at Le Mans for the past three years. “But it’s always nice to do laps around Le Mans. I didn’t have to go, but I wanted to get laps in the car – race week is short and really intense. It’s good to learn things before going back. It was raining on and off, and the races at Le Mans can be like that – you never know how the conditions will be. We tested to see how the tires worked in those conditions, so if we have similar conditions in two weeks, we’ll know what tires to use.”

Jordan Taylor will race at Le Mans in the #64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in GTE-Pro along with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

These drivers are just a small handful of the racers who took part in the Le Mans Test over the weekend. For Le Mans newcomers, it is compulsory to drive 10 laps of the circuit, as well as spend some time on the simulator before being allowed to enter the gruelling 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“I would say the weight of the ‘hallowed ground’ hasn’t hit yet,” commented Keating, who will race the #53 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R in GTE-Am along with fellow TUSC driver Bleekemolen and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge regular Marc Miller. “When going out in the rain, I wasn’t able to think about anything other than keeping the car on track. The weather was tough; I did not get any dry laps, so I still have a lot to learn next week. I expect to see big gains from additional track time, but I got valuable time in wet conditions at the test and that could be great for the race.”

“I think the magnitude of the event will all come like a ton of bricks next week,” Keating said. The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on June 13/14.

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