Testing ahead of the first round of the European Le Mans Series took place at Monza, Italy this week (28-29 March, 2017) in near perfect weather conditions and for the Algarve Pro Racing Team, it was the perfect opportunity to test and develop the Ligier Gibson LMP2 en-route to setting the third fastest time overall.
Matthew McMurry, Andrea Pizzitola, Andrea Roda and Aidan Read all had opportunity to run during the two-day test in readiness for the opening round of the ELMS next month at Silverstone.
The first day of the test saw the sessions split into morning, afternoon and evening night running. Numerous red flag periods restricted track time somewhat in all three sessions, however the team managed to complete 136-laps over the course of the day, running varied programmes of new and old rubber, long and shorter stints.
The night test was particularly important for McMurry as he will be competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the team. A change of differential ahead of the session cured some low speed traction issues, before McMurry and Read completed the first day of testing.
Unbroken sunshine continued on day two and once again numerous red flags disrupted the planned programme – as did a puncture early in the morning – as the team experimented with rear downforce levels to help improve front-end turn in. As the morning session concluded, the team were tenth fastest, having closed the gap to the fastest time to less than two seconds.
The afternoon session saw the team finish its planned programme as they upped the pace with Roda behind the wheel, eventually recording the third fastest time of the session, just a second off the ultimate pace with a further 132-laps in the bank.
“Overall this has been a very good test for us,” explained Team Manager Samantha Cox. “It’s fair to say that the red flags frustrated us a little bit, as did a few issues we had with the car, but then of course this is why we go testing… to make sure everything will be working as planned for Silverstone.
“We varied downforce and camber angles on the second day of running and we completed our programme as planned. We were never really chasing lap times in this test, so to be so close is a bonus and we’re now ready for the new season. With the package we have, and the strong driver line-up, we will be competitive from the outset.”