Signature Plus: Le Mans preparations begin with Magny-Cours test

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Signature Plus team has this week carried out an important one-day test at the Magny-Cours circuit in France as part of their final preparations for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans which takes place in just under one month's time.

Signatrure Plus heads to Le Mans, one of the most prestigious events on the international motorsport calendar, buoyed by some encouraging developments to the Dunlop-shod Aston Martin LMP1 car in recent weeks, with further progress made in this latest test.

A dry session at Magny-Cours enabled the team to make a useful validation of the set-up work that has been carried out during the opening two rounds of this year's Le Mans Series championship, as well as working on a range of procedures in anticipation of the unique challenges that Le Mans poses both to the team and the drivers. The test lasted for eight hours, running from 17.00 until 1.00am, allowing the team to simulate fully all the aspects of night-time driving.

Signature will be taking on the might of the Le Mans 24 Hours race for just the second time but this year they will be participating as Official LMP1 Partner of Aston Martin Racing. The team finished in 11th place in last year's event, but will be looking for improvements this time around, tapping into the team's experience from 2009, as well as benefitting from the technical support of Dunlop and Aston Martin.

Franck Mailleux
"Although we only tested for eight hours, it was a very productive session for all of us," said Franck. "Le Mans is the highlight of our season, so it is important we go there as well prepared as we possibly can be. We looked closely at the base set-up of the car, carrying out aerodynamic tests and tyre evaluations with Dunlop, while also acclimatising to the night-time aspects of driving, which is such a critical part of the Le Mans race. I have also started intensive physical preparation for the event with my sponsor Sojasun who have created a special Le Mans endurance diet for me, which is being developed alongside my training programme for what is a physically demanding event for drivers. Last year's Le Mans holds good memories for me, but I feel much more confident this time around."

Pierre Ragues
"After finding quite a competitive rhythm from the car at the last race in Spa, it has been good to keep that momentum going with our preparations for Le Mans, definitely my personal highlight of the year. Together with Signature we had a good event in 2009 and it hardly seems like a year ago that we were preparing for our first Le Mans race together. I think we have come a long way since then so our objectives are raised for this year. The Magny-Cours test allowed us to conduct some set-up, aero and tyre tests, as well as to get used to night-time driving again. It is the final chance that we have to get ourselves into the best shape possible before the event gets underway in just a few weeks. It is a demanding race for drivers, so I am also increasing my physical preparation with a thorough training regime. I have already received some fantastic words of encouragement from my sponsors, Groupe Auto Union, who are also looking forward to this fantastic race."

The team will not undertake any more tests prior to the Le Mans weekend with just a shakedown scheduled at Lurcy-Levis on Friday 4 June with scrutineering starting at Place des Jacobins from Sunday 6 June. The 78th Le Mans 24 Hours Race will take place on the weekend of 12-13 June.

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