Following the difficult start into the Blancpain GT Series with the Sprint Cup at Zolder last weekend, the racing circus continues for the Emil Frey Lexus Racing team with the first race of the Endurance Cup at Monza next week.
The drivers of the Lexus RC F GT3 #14, Albert Costa Balboa and Christian Klien, are joined by Marco Seefried, whilst Markus Palttala teams-up with the sister car #114.The team returned disappointed to Safenwil after two retirements and two race results outside the Top-10 is now using the two weeks between the races to evaluate the collected data and information from Zolder.
“Despite the track characteristics of Monza being completely different to Zolder, it could still be a rather difficult weekend for us”, analyses Jürg Flach, Technical Director Emil Frey Racing.“We have to look at the data from Zolder and take actions respectively. However, it is unrealistic, that we will have sorted out all issues by Monza since there is not enough time. We find ourselves in a continues development process and now it is recommended to understand how we can improve the driving behaviour and performance. Especially for Monza it is essential to have a good driving balance and braking stability. Therefore, we work on the Setup for the Lexus primarily in that direction.”Monza is known as a high-speed track, which asks for a high-end speed and a good delay, all features of the Japanese racing car.
“Due to all the uneven surfaces and bumps, as you can find them at tracks like Zolder, the Lexus RC F GT3 reacts nervously and the drivers can´t take the curbs as other cars can”, says Hannes Gautschi, Technical Coordinator Emil Frey Lexus Racing. “We have tested a few days at Monza and even if we have not found the perfect Setup, I am convinced that Monza will be better for us.” In addition to some test days, the Emil Frey Lexus Racing team has already raced at the six-kilometre-long track suited within the Parco die Monza last year as part of the International GT Open.
“Monza is not a stranger to us and we are more familiar with the Endurance than the Sprint Cup”, adds Lorenz Frey, Team Principal Emil Frey Racing. “There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we are excited about the next race and look forward to Monza.” The Endurance Cup takes place at Monza from 20 – 22 April 2018.
The three-hour race starts Sunday, 22 April at 3:00 pm and is streamed live at: www.blancpain-gt-series.com/watch-live
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #14
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
“Zolder showed us that there is still a lot of work for to do, especially with the Pirelli tyres. The Lexus is a very fast car, but we have to work into the right direction and lay all focus on that. Monza should be better, because we tested there and were pleased with the lap times. We are all very good drivers, we are a great team and the results for the next race should look better.”
Christian Klien (A)
“The season opener at Zolder was very difficult, but we managed to improve every day. Monza is a totally different track and should suit the Lexus much better. However, our speed is still not there where it should be to keep-up with the fastest teams.”
Marco Seefried (GER)
“I think, there is a certain amount of pressure on us, because it does take something to be one of only a few representatives for a brand such as Lexus. In addition to new drivers there have also been a number of new people joining the team during the winter. I felt comfortable right from the start with the Lexus, as the car gives a lot of feedback. It is important, that there is one driver per car, that knows the Lexus from last season, that helps a lot.”
Driver Quotes Emil Frey Lexus Racing #114
Stéphane Ortelli (MCO)
“With 13th and 14th place at Zolder we were certainly not happy, but we are in a learning curve. We know the whole project goes back to good teamwork and we will come back stronger. We must work hard to catch our competitors, but we as Emil Frey Lexus Racing are fighters and even if there is not enough time until Monza, we will give our best.”
Norbert Siedler (A)
“We must put a few more tests into the car, to understand the Setup with the new tyres better. Our winter tests at Monza were good, but we should not expect too much for the race weekend. It would be good to qualify in the Top-20 and together with Stéphane and Markus, we have three strong drivers, it should be possible to make up some positions during the race.”
Markus Palttala (FIN)
“I am looking forward to my new challenge to start for the Emil Frey Lexus Racing Team. We showed a good performance at the winter tests and despite Zolder being difficult for the whole crew, I am positive that we will be better at Monza. The team is excellently positioned, the Lexus is a highly-developed car with many great features, we simply have to find our way as a team in both the Blancpain GT Series and with the Pirelli tyres.”