Young Driver AMR: GT1 Paul Ricard Preview

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tough nut for Young Driver AMR in France

Fourth round of the GT1-World Championship at Le Castellet
As the summer heats up the FIA GT1 World Championship returns this weekend with the fourth round at the “HTTT Paul Ricard” in Le Castellet in the south of France. But the French round of the World Championship will be anything but a holiday for Young Driver AMR and the four drivers as success also means added weight in the GT1-World Championship. So after two strong weekends of Young Driver AMR with the Aston Martin DBR9s at Silverstone and Brno, the V12-engine powered coupés were penalised with additional weight by the organisers. The Young Driver-Aston Martins have to start 30kg heavier than at the previous round at Brno and for the double podium car #7 with Darren Turner and Tomas Enge the situation on the former formula 1 track near the Mediterranean Sea will be even worse, as they have to carry an additional 30kg “success ballast” around the 5842-meter long French track.

The Young Driver AMR team is a regular guest in France, as the team travels to France for the fourth time this year and have already tested twice at the Paul Ricard track in 2010. But the drivers are fresh of the successful Le Mans experience three weeks ago, where Christoffer Nygaard, Tomas Enge and special guest Peter Kox finished third in the GT1-class which was also the very first appearance by Young Driver AMR in the legendary French endurance classic,. Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner also used the Le Mans break in the World Championship calendar to race at Le Mans, with Mücke finish sixth overall in the 007 LMP1 Aston Martin, while Turner in the 009 LMP1 Aston Martin had bad luck as his car retired in the last hour of the race. So hopefully it will all add up to a great race despite the added weight.

All four Young Driver AMR-drivers are very familiar with the Paul Ricard track, which actually celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, as it is often used for testing during the winter month. Just back in April, Stefan Mücke finished second in the 8h of Le Castellet in the LMP1 for Aston Martin Racing.

What the drivers have to say before the race:

Darren Turner (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin): “After Le Mans, where I drove the LMP1-car, it will be quite interesting to switch back to the GT1-car this weekend. I guess it will take me a few laps to acclimate again. I expect the race in Paul Ricard to be very difficult. We have 30kg success ballast after our second place at Brno and also another 30kg “Balance of Performance” weight, which is hard for me to understand. At the last round at Brno it seamed all cars where quite well balanced. Now it’s shaken up again. But the team is very strong and they have done an absolutely brilliant job so far this season including excellent pit work. In every race this season we have gained positions due to our pit crew, I hope that will continue in France. But one thing is for sure, we will try our best!”

Tomas Enge (#7 Young Driver-Aston Martin): „This weekend will be hot, very very hot. With the additional ballast in the cars it will be hard work and especially for the #7 car of Darren and myself which will be 60kg heavier than at the last race at Brno. But we will try to make the best out of it even though It will not be very easy with so much weight. I hope we can score as many points as possible in France and maybe climb a little bit in the driver’s championship. At the last race at Brno, our good pit work was the key to our success. And as the team is really one of the best in terms of pit stops, maybe this will also make the difference at Paul Ricard.”

Christoffer Nygaard (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin): “The World Championship race in France is my first race in the Aston Martin DBR9 since the 24h of Le Mans. At Le Mans I got a lot of race miles with our car under my belt. I collected a lot of experience and I’m really familiar with the car now. Le Castellet will for sure be a very hard weekend. It’s a popular test track, so all drivers will know the track quite well. The last races of the World Championship have been action packed and showed that almost everything can happen. For us this means that if we don’t make any mistakes, we can end up in a very good position.”

Stefan Mücke (#8 Young Driver-Aston Martin): „After Le Mans in the LMP1-car, it’s quite fun to be back in the GT1 car. I know the track very well and have some good memories, just back in April I was on the podium in the Le Mans Series race. I have already tested with our Aston Martin DBR9 at Paul Ricard back in spring and we found a really good set up for the car. My teammate Christoffer Nygaard raced in our car at Le Mans and is now really familiar with the car. But it’s very difficult to make a forecast for this weekend, as we don’t know if the track layout suits our car well. I think we will only have a clear picture after the free practise. Our main goal at France is to collect points for the championship.”

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