A record-breaking 62-car field will take to Circuit de la Sarthe in the 2019 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and RLR MSport is part of a 20-strong LMP2 class comprising top-line teams from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and Asian Le Mans Series.
RLR MSport’s Le Mans preparations have been meticulous, and the Bolton team fully expects to be on a strong footing when it hits the track in free practice later today (Wednesday 12 June).
The official Le Mans Test (2 June) enabled Farano and India’s Maini to get acquainted with the ORECA 07 LMP2 on the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe, which is part purpose-built racetrack and part public highway.
However, the next couple of days will provide an opportunity for all three drivers, including RLR returnee Nato, to clock-up more meaningful miles before qualifying and the 24 Hours of Le Mans itself.
As ever, all are keen to perform at their best and race at the sharp end of the LMP2 field, but especially in front of the 250,000-plus trackside spectators.
“I know RLR MSport well and grew up with the team, and everything is going well to this point,” said Nato. “My teammates and I are trying to be as prepared as possible, because we won’t have time to do anything but drive, eat, hydrate and rest once free practice starts.
“Everything felt good in the test, although the task was only for my teammates to learn the track. No event compares to the 24 Hours of Le Mans – it isn’t just one day, it’s a full week, and this is why the goal for free practice is to simply stay on-track so John (Farano) and Arjun (Maini) get as many laps as possible.”
Nato continued: “Of course, this is RLR MSport’s first Le Mans experience with the current generation LMP2 car and, while we want to do well, we don’t have any extra pressure to do anything but reach the end of the race on Sunday afternoon.”
Maini added: “Overall, we had a good test. The main objective was for John (Farano) and I to get as much mileage as possible so we could familiarise ourselves with Circuit de la Sarthe, while also adapting the ORECA 07 to the track.
“Grip was low and the car was tricky to drive in the morning, but we got quicker and quicker as the day went on, before Norman (Nato) did a few laps to get a feel for the car. I think we can be quite competitive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans itself. It was be interesting to see how different the track is come the race weekend, but I believe we can battle at the top of LMP2 with a little bit of fine-tuning.”
The on-track action begins with FP1 at 16:00 and Qualifying-Practice at 22:00 today (Wednesday 12 June), and more Qualifying Practice is scheduled for 19:00 and 22:00 on Thursday (13 June).
The 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans commences at the traditional 15:00 start time on Saturday (15 June) afternoon.
Source. Leveridge Promotions