JMW Motorsport: Practice & Qualifying Review

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Free Practice (1st session 12.40, 2nd session 16.10 CET )

At last the new season was properly upon on us and the whole team were eager to get cracking for Friday’s two, hour long practice sessions. Unlike the pre-season test at the HTTT circuit, which was bitterly cold, Friday saw the colourful French circuit bathed in spring sunshine.

From the onset of practice, with Rob and Darren behind the wheel, the car was showing good pace posting the 4th quickest time in the first session with a 2:00.437. By the second session in the afternoon, the two minute lap time was comfortably broken, putting the team 3rd quickest with a 1:59.024

Saturday 10 April 2010

Free Practice (3rd session 09.45 CET)

The third practice session of the weekend saw the team continue to find time, but what was become clear was just how close the GT2 class was going to be. JMW posted the 7th quickest time of the session with a 1:58.558, but with just over three-quarters of a second covering 1st-9th it became apparent that qualifying was going to be a very close battle.

Qualifying (13.40 CET)

Rob took the wheel for the 20 minute qualifying session but it was to be a mad dash for the line with the majority of GT2 teams waiting until the last 7 minutes to get out and post their flying laps, making for a nail-biting qualifying session. An attacking lap from Rob put the team 5th on the GT2 grid with a 1:58.549 but closer examination of the figures show just how close the top end of the field it. 3rd, 4th and 5th (JMW) were covered by just 0.074secs! What a teaser for the right hour racer ahead…!

After qualifying we took the chance to grab JMW’s Chief Engineer, Steve ‘Doc’ Bunkhall for some words on the team’s performance.

First qualifying with the new car over, how’s the team feeling?

SB: We’re quietly pleased, 5th on the grid means we are in the mix, though of course at JMW we come to be P1! The gap to third is minuscule and we want to take the Aston right up to the front. This is a pretty solid start.

Some people expressed surprise that the JMW Aston Martin was one of the slower straight line cars.

SB: This track is a bit of a strange one in the fact it’s one which is all about playing with the downforce. It has a very long straight, very much akin to Le Mans and for that reason this is why teams like to come and test here, but it also has very fast corners. We have to perform a balancing act. The nature of the Aston is that it makes good downforce but the pay off is drag. It’s all in the downforce tweaks, so don’t be surprised to see us able to take on those ‘top speed’ cars.

Tomorrow is somewhat of an unknown quantity for the team and this Aston Martin GT2, what are your expectations?

SB: This is a new adventure but we head to tomorrow’s grid with the sole aim of winning, it’s what we always set out to do! We are the single Aston Martin out there, the other manufacturer’s have many more ‘car hours’ behind them than we do. We are in the early days, but we are extremely proud to be part of this Aston Martin development programme and we’re determined. We have garnered a lot of support from back home, that feels very special to the team, and we will repay that support by giving it our all.
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