Team Essex makes season debut this week-end.
This is it. After several months of preparation in the workshop and on race tracks all over Europe, Team Essex has finally reached their first real challenge in the 2008 Le Mans Series season.
This weekend sees the premier round of the Le Mans Series on the Spanish Grand Prix circuit Catalunya, a close neighbour to Barcelona, and here the Danish team will face direct and intense competition from 47 other adversaries, including an impressive 14 in the LMP2 category.
“When looking at the competition here I Spain, I see that we are close to being back to the latest grand era in sports car racing, back when I was racing in Group C” John Nielsen says.
“Back then, all the major manufacturers like Jaguar, Mercedes and Porsche all came in the strongest line-up possible, and we are close to having that exact same situation now, only with other brands and different teams” John Nielsen continues.
The field in this weekend’s race consists of 2 types of car – The street based GT cars and the purebred prototypes. These 2 main groups are again divided into to other groups – LMP1 and LMP2 for prototypes and GT1 and 2 for the GT cars.
The LMP classes are currently being dominated by the 4 diesel driven factory backed cars from Audi and Peugeot, and they are expected to dominate the first 4 positions, which means that the real fight for positions will be for the fastest LMP2 and private owned LMP1 cars.
“My estimate is that there are 7 teams in LPM2 alone that stand a really good chance in taking the chequered flag first, that’s how competitive this field is” John Nielsen says and continues “A lot of the other team are really professional and looks to be really sharp and ready to go. Especially the new closed cockpit car from Lola/Aston Martin shows some potential, and two of the drivers, Andrea Belicchi and Xavier Pompidou really know what they are doing.
Friday is the first day when the Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder will take a spin at the asphalt of Catalunya and ahead of the main race, the team will engage in 3 training passes and 1 exciting qualifying, determining the grid position of the cars in the 1000 KM long race, starting at 11:35 on Sunday the 6. Of April.
”I feel that our preparations for the race is as good as it can ever be” states Casper Elgaard who will be sharing the Nr. 31 car with John Nielsen “It will be the first real race for us at that makes it extra exciting. Naturally, we are going for the top podium in the LMP2 class, but when we take into consideration that it is our maiden race and that some of the other teams have experience in the series already, we have to be satisfied with making it into the top 3” Casper Elgaard says.
“When we hit the track on Friday, it will be the first where we really have the chance to measure ourselves against the other teams and their real potential, and even though we have a solid idea about where we stand, Friday will tell us exactly where we are when we all race under similar conditions, something we are looking forward to with a lot of anticipation” Casper Elgaard sums up.
Practical information about this weekends race in the Le Mans Series:
Friday 11.45 60 minutes free practice.
15.45 60 minutes free practice.
Saturday 9.45 60 minutes free practice.
14.40 20 minutes qualification for LMP1/LMP2
Sunday 9.00 20 minutes warm-up.
11.35 Start on the1000 km de Catalunya
17.35 The latest finish of the race (6 hours or 1000 km)
Sunday 11.15-12.00 Eurosport
11.15-12.00 Motors TV
13.00-15.00 Motors TV
16.00-17.45 Motors TV
for coverage in your area
Circuit website: www.circuitcat.com
The series website: www.lemans-series.com