Peugeot 1-2 on day 1 testing at Road Atlanta
The first day of testing for the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda belonged to Peugeot as its two diesel-powered Peugeot 908 factory prototypes finished 1-2 on Sunday afternoon at Road Atlanta.
The No. 7 Peugeot Sport Total entry of Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais and Anthony Davidson turned a best lap of 1:08.291 (133.898 mph) in the day’s second session. The second Peugeot of Stephane Sarrazin, Franck Montagny and Alexander Wurz was just 0.519 seconds behind.
Audi Sport Team Joest’s two Audi R18s sat third and fourth, paced by the No. 2 entry of Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish. Their car set a best lap of 1:09.440 (131.682 mph).
A total of 23 cars turned laps Sunday – which was split into a two-hour morning session and a five-hour run in the afternoon. Many drivers commented on the amount of traffic for a test day. Fifty-three cars are expected to start Saturday’s 1,000-mile/10-hour finale of the 2011 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n, the largest grid in the history of the Road Atlanta enduro.
Level 5 Motorsports’ HPD ARX-01g of Joao Barbosa, Christophe Bouchut and Scott Tucker set the pace in LMP2 with a lap of 1:14.799 (122.248 mph). It was 0.694 seconds quicker than Oak Racing’s Oak Pescarolo-Judd of Jacques Nicolet, Patrice Lafargue and Frederic Da Rocha. United Autosports, also running an Oak Pescarolo, was within a second of the Level 5 entry; Zack Brown, Stefan Johansson and Mark Patterson are driving.
Corvette Racing’s two Corvette C6.Rs went fastest in GT, led by the No. 4 entry of Oliver Gavin, Jan Magnussen and Richard Westbrook at 1:20.692 (113.320 mph). The second Corvette of Olivier Beretta, Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner was just 0.154 seconds back. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long was third at 1:20.971 (112.929 mph).
TRG’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup of Duncan Ende, Peter Ludwig and Spencer Pumpelly was the fastest GTC entry of the day at 1:25.654 (107.243 mph) and just 0.886 seconds clear of the second TRG entry of Ben Keating, Jim Norman and Dion von Moltke. The Magnus Racing Porsche of John Potter and Craig Stanton was third at 1:27.666 (104.305 mph).
Genoa Racing’s ORECA FLM09 of Jordan Gregor, Aldous Mitchell and Bassam Kronfli was the quickest LMPC entry at 1:18.302 (116.779 mph). Larbre Competition’s Corvette C6.R of Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Gabriele Gardel was the quickest car in the GTE Am class at 1:23.078 (110.065 mph).
Testing at Road Atlanta continues Monday with a pair of four-hour sessions.
The 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda is set for a 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 1 from Road Atlanta. The race will air on ABC at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 2. Live coverage will be available in the U.S. on ESPN3 or outside the U.S. on americanlemans.com. Ticket and schedule information is available on the ALMS schedule page.
Romain Dumas, Audi Sport Team Joest
Audi R18 TDI (LMP1)
“The car was quite quick this morning. The Peugeot did a (1:09.5 in the morning) and I did a 9.5. So it is already very, very close. We did much testing over the winter in preparation for Le Mans so I got to drive the car many times. But it is nice to be back in the Audi R18. Already there is a lot of traffic. It will get much worse later in the week. I do think that this will be most difficult race of my career.”
Martin Ragginger, Team Falken Tire
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (GTE Pro)
“Everything is OK for us and seems to be going to plan. That is what you want on a test day. The traffic doesn’t bother me. There will be even more cars throughout the week. In Sebring when I last drove with the team, we were on the lead GT lap nearly the whole time but then had a difficult end. But the team and the Falken program have come a long way. Look at the races they have won. So I think we will have a good car. Our goal should be to be ahead of the Flying Lizard Porsches because they are another very strong Porsche team and it would help us in the championship standings.”
Adrian Fernandez, Aston Martin Racing
Lola B09/60-Aston Martin (LMP1)
“It’s been a tough year but the win in Monterey was really good. We didn’t get the car until a month ago. There were some new rules for this year and we had to make some changes. We made more after the first session at Laguna and it really improved the car.”
Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing
Corvette C6.R (GTE Pro)
“Traffic isn’t dreadful. When you are running a test program, you are wanting consistent laps and consistent data coming in. In the race, you try to make the most out of it but it’s just a little inconvenient when we are testing. Some guys are out there getting their first looks at the track, others are going through progressions. (Compared to Le Mans), I’d say this is going to be more mentally challenging because it is a relatively tight track and so many cars. We’re in the middle of it all – having to look behind us for the prototypes while going around the GTC and slower GTE cars. It will be exciting and interesting, that’s for sure.”
Alexandre Premat, Oak Racing
Oak Pescarolo-Judd (LMP1)
“This is my first day here so everything is new to me. I like this track a lot; it reminds me a lot of the Nurburgring with lots of ups and down. I have heard a lot about the track and racing in America so I’m really excited to see it. For sure there are already a lot of teams here testing but it is the same for everyone. I can imagine as the race gets closer the track and the traffic will be amazing.”