There are now just four weeks to go to the highlight of the Blancpain GT Series and Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Total Spa 24 Hour race. Reinforcing the message that this is the “big one” when it comes to GT racing is the fact that a whole day is given over to pre-Spa testing, with over 60 cars taking part in today’s session featuring 8 hours of track time.
Naturally, Kaspersky Motorsport was in action, although you might have been confused if you were looking for our usual eye-catching green, white and red liveried Ferrari 488 GT3. The team was bedding in a new chassis and there had been no time to paint it yet, so that we ran the day sporting the Prancing Horse’s famous “rosso” colour.
Kaspersky Motorsport will be fielding its usual driver line-up for car 55, but today James Calado was not present, so that testing duties fell to our Italian duo of Giancarlo Fisichella and Marco Cioci.
Running a different chassis meant that the first part of the day was given over to working on its basic set-up, before starting to make changes to see how the car reacted, when modified to suit this specific circuit and the demands of racing for 24 hours. In the afternoon, the focus moved to looking at actual car performance, fine tuning the car to produce the best race pace, ensuring the balance was still effective towards the end of a stint, which for the Spa race means around 23 to 24 laps. There was also time to evaluate tyre performance, from new rubber to how the tyres worked with a lot of laps completed and how tyre pressure affected overall performance. Further work is now required on aero balance and ride height and this will be done with help from programmes run by Kaspersky Lab as well as from using its simulator.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “The test day went very well for us but we are not getting carried away because the only important result is at the end of 24 hours of racing. During the test, the car looked very competitive which is a great start but we have plenty of work to do. I expect a very close race, which would be fantastic for the fans; we cannot wait to be part of it. We have been working all year to be ready for this and I am looking forward to driving with James and Marco again. The car looks strong so we have a chance, but we know 24h of Spa is a very tough, long race which requires the best preparation. Now we are fully focused only on the race and we expect to fight at the front again.”
Marco Cioci: “The 24 Hours of Spa is the highlight of our season. I think there is a big opportunity for us this year and we need to make sure everything runs smoothly and that we are as well prepared as possible. The big challenge of Spa 24h is that so many things can and will change during the race, so you never know what’s going to happen. Our car is quick as you could see from the times today, we have prepared well and everyone in the team is pushing like crazy to be ready for the race. Our pre-race work is not over yet. We need to analyze the data, and do a lot of work on our Kaspersky Lab simulator in London. Spa is always a special moment in the season and it always creates strong emotions. This year I hope they are happy ones!”
Source. Kaspersky Motorsport