Several teams test before Le Mans

Images courtesy Fausto Mattei

Several teams test before Le Mans

Le Mans/WEC

Several teams test before Le Mans


With the Le Mans Test Day and race week proper approaching fast, many of the FIA WEC and ELMS teams teams have been out testing to get some mileage in ahead of the big race next month.

At Monza, several teams have been taking part in a multi-day test this week following the European Le Mans Series’ meeting last weekend.

In the LMP1 ranks, Rebellion Racing was present, trailing the R-13’s low-drag aero kit for the first time, in addition to getting more milage for its car which is still very new. The team ran the No. 1 in Italy, the newer of its two chassis which, prior to the running at Spa in the WEC opener, had only completed a brief shakedown.

LMP2 teams Larbre Competition and Eurasia are both testing the new 2018 “Joker” Ligier JS P217 low-downforce aero. Notably, Eurasia’s Ligier was driven by Italian Andrea Bertolini, who is getting his first taste of prototype driving.

“Until now I have only driven Formula cars, including of course a lot of F1 cars, GT1, GT2, GTE and GT3 cars. It was my first-ever time in any LMP car!” Bertolini told RACER.

“The car felt very good and I was delighted that when, later in the test, Pipo Derani drove, his lap times were very similar to mine. He is quick in LMP2 cars and has a lot of experience and success in them.”

And in GTE, Chip Ganassi Ford, Porsche GT Team, BMW Team MTEK and AF Corse Ferrari all hit the track, the notable story here being the aforementioned Pipo Derani running in the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, ahead of his Le Mans run with the team.

Image courtesy Pipo Derani

“The test went accordingly with the plan,” Derani told RACER. “Myself and Toni [Vilander] drove at Monza and it was a very good first time with the car. It was also a special feeling to be in a factory Ferrari car for the first time!”

Elsewhere, Jenson Button completed his first LMP1 test with SMP Racing last weekend at Magny Cours, explaining on his social media channels that it was a successful maiden outing in the No. 11 BR1 AER.

“I’m smiling from ear to ear!” he said. “Had my first test in SMP Racing BR1 and absolutely loved it, nice for my first test to be around Magny Cours as it’s one of my favorite circuits and I have a lot of great memories from racing there. It felt very much like old-school F1 from when we raced there back in ‘05-‘06.

“A solid five hrs of testing and I’m already feeling comfortable behind the wheel of the beast! Still some areas of improvement needed but a good starting point thanks to Vitaly Petrov & Mikhail Aleshin.”