Rookie Reckonings

Thoughts from some of the lucky drivers new and old who took to the track for the Bahrain Rookie Test

After two sessions on track on the Sunday after the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain end to the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, some of the drivers both new and previously acquainted gave their thoughts.  

Rookie test line-up can be seen here

Morning session results

Afternoon session results

Lilou Wadoux (Official WEC Hypercar Rookie): 
It was a very good experience. The speed of the GR010 HYBRID was impressive and the hybrid boost was very nice; it felt good to experience that for the first time on my first lap. For sure, it is very different to an LMP2 car because it’s heavier and different to drive. I learned a lot during this test, particularly with the hybrid system which is very new for me and takes time to adjust to. It has been a nice experience, so thanks to the team and to WEC for giving me this opportunity. It was a dream for me to drive a car like this and I would love to race a Hypercar in the future. It’s nice to be the first woman to drive a Hypercar but I hope there will be more.

Ben Keating: 
Those first laps were really good. The feel of this car is significantly different than the Aston Martin that I've been driving the last two years and the last three days. I don't know how many laps I did... maybe 10 laps this morning and I'm still learning a lot about the car. It's very impressive. It's fun for me as a driver. I think I've driven almost every single GTE car now, and they're all a little bit different in the way you find speed. Obviously, the Corvette is no different. You have to learn where to find the speed and how to work the car. It's been really interesting. In looking at the data, and as an example I was one gear too low in every single corner; I was over-slowing the car in every single corner than what I needed to because my brain isn't calibrated to how quickly the Corvette can go through a corner. That's just an example of the things I need to learn, and I'm excited to do that. It's one of the things that makes this experience so much fun and exciting. You get to learn to learn how to make the best use of a new toy!

Nicolas Varrone: 
I'm really delighted. Thanks to Ben Keating and Corvette Racing for the opportunity. It's just an amazing car... a pure race car that I enjoyed driving. It's really fun. The brakes surprised me. The braking efficiency is really amazing. There was a learning experience because I'm used to other cars, but the team helped me a lot during the day to try new things and improve every time I went on track. It was good and I enjoyed it a lot.

Axcil Jeffries: 
Honestly the car feels great, but not only that the team is fun to work with. It's a really nice group of guys. It was nice getting up to speed with the car. I expected quite a lot from the car. Obviously, it's a factory program and I expected everything set to the highest level, and it really delivered. It would be great if this opportunity could happen in WEC. Let's see what how it works. I tried my best, and now the decision will be up to the team and Ben.

Garnet Patterson: 
It’s my first time here in Bahrain and testing is pretty good. Just playing around with the set-up - we go again tomorrow.

Yasser Shahin: 
I’ve had a wonderful experience being here in Bahrain, driving such an advanced piece of machinery with a sophisticated operation like United. In the end, we set some fantastic pace so I’m feeling really good for tomorrow.

Dan Schneider: 
Testing is going super well.  Even though this isn’t a circuit we will race at in the European Le Mans Series, it is well worth coming here to acquaint myself with the car – especially because this circuit has very low grip. It’s completely different to what we’ll usually face, so it’s a different style and you have to be more careful. Of course, we’re only at the beginning, with a lot of hours ahead to work on my goal – to close the gap to the pros.

Andy Meyrick: 
Always exciting to be here in Bahrain, it’s a mega track with the challenge of adapting your style for such low grip. Nelson is a great addition to the team and doing a fantastic job so far. Really enjoying the step up to LMP2.

Nelson Piquet Jr: 
Good to be back in Bahrain, I haven’t been here for a couple of years. Just getting used to the car … the set-up is good. The focus over here is to get Daniel up to speed – but I can’t wait to start the 2023 season.

Dorian Pin:
Today was really significant for me. Being selected by FIA WEC as part of the Iron Dames to test an LMP2 car is an important step in my career and for women in motorsport. 

I have learned a lot from today. Experiencing an LMP2 car was just amazing, the speed it can take in the corners and the downforce is quite different to the GT cars and you need to be accurate to get some good pace. Additionally it was the first time for me driving at this circuit and I enjoyed a lot experiencing a new track.

This has been the perfect way to end a really great season for Iron Dames. Not only have we made history multiple times this year, but now showing that young women can have a career at the highest level of motorsport is something I am very proud of, thank you to everyone who made it possible.

Freddie Lubin after morning session in the #10 Vector Sport LMP2:  
The morning is done and I did about 30 laps [32], mostly on old tyres and low fuel.  I’m very happy with the car which is a bit different to the ELMS set up [I’ve previously experienced] with regards to the downforce, and the guys from Vector Sport have put down a really good package.  We seemed to come up to speed quite fast so the afternoon is, I think, going to be quite straight forward with a similar run plan.  Ryan [Cullen] is going to do some base line runs for me and then we will see how close I can get.

As far as the heat is concerned, honestly, it’s not too bad.  We’ve got the AC and there are fan ducts so you do get fresh air in the car.  It’s obviously very different to single seaters but all season racing in Europe we’ve had hot temperatures so it’s not too bad and I’m getting used to that environment.  It’s happening pretty fast but I’m happy!