What the drivers said after the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day
The final rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, second round of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), saw rookie Fernando Alonso clock the fastest time of the day at the wheel of his Toyota TS050 Hybrid prototype.
The Spanish driver was alongside the drivers with the fastest times of the Test Day: in LMP2 it was Nathanaël Berthon from DragonSpeed, Porsche GT Team’s Patrick Pilet in LMGTE Pro, and Julien Andlauer from Dempsey-Proton Racing in LMGTE Am.
Fernando Alonso, Toyota Gazoo Racing (LMP1) – No.8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID
"It was a good day for us, a great way to prepare for the big race in two weeks. The car was perfect from the outset. I familiarized myself with the circuit as I had only done it in a simulator, not in real life. It was a lot of fun out there, and this circuit is beautiful, especially for this type of car. It’s even better than Spa which reminded me of F1. This car was definitely designed for the Le Mans circuit."
Jenson Button, SMP Racing (LMP1) – No.11 BR Engineering BR1- AER
"The speed at which these cars can go into turns is impressive. You really need to have faith in your car. The problem is there is a considerable amount of traffic and it’s difficult to overtake in certain corners. I would have liked to do even more laps. You always want to drive as much as possible and be able to leave the pit with new tires to explore the potential of the car but you have to stay focused on the agenda of the session. I can’t wait to move forward because we still have some improving to do."
Nathanael Berthon, DragonSpeed (LMP2) – No.31 ORECA 07 Gibson
“The car has been great this weekend and I think it will be good in two weeks’ time as well. We had a big programme to work through it and went well so we’re pretty happy. Our aim for the test day wasn’t to be quickest but it’s a good way to finish! I didn’t drive much so that Pastor [Maldonado] had more time, as well as Roberto [Gonzalez]. We know we’ve got a quick car and the tyres are good and our aim was really just to work through our programme towards the race. It was a good boost for the team who have all worked so hard [especially following the accident at Spa of the team’s LMP1 entry].”
Juan Pablo Montoya, United Autosports (LMP2) – No.32 Ligier JSP217 Gibson
"I got here today at 8:00 am and drove the car for the first time this afternoon. Here, the fast corners are fantastic. I’ve loved that my entire life, so I love the Porsche Curves. The marshals do excellent work, they’re just extraordinary."
Patrick Pilet, Porsche GT Team (LMGTE Pro) – No.93 Porsche 911 RSR
“To be honest we weren’t completely happy as we felt we had some time still to find but we’re going in the right direction. We can’t match the Fords on top speed so we can’t pass them, even if we’re good in the quick corners like the Porsche Curves, so we’ve still got some work to do to find the best compromise on set up. It’s the first time the American part of the Porsche GT Team has come here to Le Mans and it’s all new for the mechanics with a lot of pressure. They’ve worked hard all day so it’s a good reward for them."
Julien Andlauer, Dempsey-Proton Racing (LMGTE Am) – No.77 Porsche 911 RSR
“My first aim was to learn the track even though I raced here in the Porsche Carrera Cup last year as the curtain raiser for the 24 Hours. I was really excited to do my first laps with this car on this track. It was a really good day and I was able to improve and try different lines – I think the results weren’t too bad for my first day there. I tried to get into a rhythm and just improve step by step during the day. The traffic was probably the thing that was most difficult to get used to, as it’s so different from what I’ve done until now, and the speeds of the faster cars. You have to concentrate really hard!”
The next step for competitors set to take the start at the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be Scrutineering on Sunday 10th and Monday 11th June in the centre of Le Mans.