Welcome to the 2015 European Le Mans Series. The first event is the prologue, here at Paul Ricard (near Marseilles). Yes – the glorious south of France, that has been cold, grey and wet since we arrived on Saturday night. Today, we have actually seen the sun – hopefully it will remain dry for the cars running on track.
This will be the first official outing for a lot of new and updated cars. The homologation rules mean that changes can only be made after three years. This means we will be seeing an updated Morgan, a new Oreca Coupe, possibly an SMP Coupe and definitely we will see the official debut of the Gibson 015S. We’ve got a new aero package and a lot of new safety stuff (quickly extractable seat, a neutral button, lifting eyes and rear lights in the rear wing end plates. All of these safety modifications have proven very time consuming and difficult to achieve on a car that wasn’t designed for them. The car has met all expectations in private testing, so we look forward to seeing it up against all the other teams.
There were a lot of cars still being worked on at midnight last night, but hopefully they’ll all be on track when the session starts at 9am. We run until 9pm tonight, with a few food stops, and we will have a 5pm finish tomorrow.
Our teams are Jota and Greaves, again. One car each, with two cracking driver line ups. Jota are running Simon Dolan, Felipe Alburquerque and Harry Tincknell (a late call up, having been temporarily released from his LMP1 Nissan duties, following a delay to their plans). Greaves has a four man crew today, and all of them are excellent drivers. Gary Hirsch, Saud Al Faisal, Jon Lancaster and Bjorn Wirdheim.
Three other teams, Pegasus Racing, SMP (car 57) and Algarve Pro Racing, will be testing with the Gibson/Nismo developed Nissan VK45 engine.