Signature Plus : Pierre Ragues racks up the kilometers in first Aston Martin test

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Signature Plus Aston Martin
Pierre Ragues brought his first official test session as an Official Aston Martin Racing Team Driver to a positive conclusion at Circuit Paul Ricard on Monday. An official two-day test allowed Pierre and the Signature team to get to grips with their new race car for the forthcoming Le Mans Series.

The Paul Ricard test marked the official start of trackside preparations for the season-opening race, which also takes place at the southern French circuit in one month’s time. Teams will be hoping for nicer driving conditions after battling continuing cold weather, coupled with the common and often disruptive feature of the Mistral wind.

For Pierre, it was the first occasion to get properly behind the wheel of the Lola Aston Martin LMP1 after a successful shakedown of the car at Lurcy-Levis last week. Joined by his team-mate Franck Mailleux, with whom Pierre will be sharing driving duties for a second consecutive season, Pierre embarked on initial exploratory set-up laps with the car, evaluation of the aerodynamics and the beginning a new working relationships with tyre suppliers Dunlop.

The duo completed an astonishing 300 laps over the two days and although the Signature team were not seeking fast lap times, the performance of the Aston Martin allowed both Pierre and Franck to frequent the top end of the timesheets throughout Sunday’s morning, afternoon and night-time sessions, as well as throughout Monday.

Pierre said: “Our aims for this test were simply to begin getting a good basic understanding of the car and to evaluate the complete package, including the aerodynamics and Dunlop tyres. Because we are in the early stages of development, we were not chasing fast times, but we were able to get a good feeling from the car and picked up some good pace – in spite of the cold and windy weather conditions. It was hard work and we completed a lot of laps after a big effort from the whole team, so thanks must go to them. The support we have received from Aston Martin has been fantastic and I think we will go from strength to strength from here. We have a really good base to build from now, starting at the next test in Magny-Cours in a few weeks.”

Pierre will resume pre-season testing at the Magny-Cours circuit in France at the end of March before the first race weekend of the season at Paul Ricard from 9-11 April.
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