Team RLR head for Estoril run

"We will continue with other systems checks and mapping development this weekend"

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18 February 2011 - 21:35
Team RLR head for Estoril run

TEAM RLR’s preparations for the new Le Mans Series season will continue at the end of this week with a two-day test at Estoril. The trip to Portugal comes after some initial testing in England over the last two weeks. But driver Barry Gates says the team expect to make significant progress with the development of their MG-Lola EX265 this weekend.

"Over the last week or so we’ve had the car out doing some shakedown tests including a session at Silverstone in the hands of Rob Garofall, but that was mostly to make sure the various systems worked within the car," said Gates.

"We will continue with other systems checks and mapping development this weekend but these two days are mainly about working on the handling of the car, which is different from last season, not just because we have our new Judd HK engine fitted, but also with the weight increase that has come about through changes to the regulations.

"To conform with the new LMP2 rules, the car has gone up from 825kg to 920kg this season. So we’ll be putting a lot of effort into optimising the balance and handling of the car.

"While we’ve been able to do certain things in England the fact is that at this time of year it is still pretty cold and wet, hence Portugal as our destination.

"Ideally we’ll have it dry and warm, but the weather forecast says a maximum of 17 degrees and rain on at least one of the days. There again, if we are going to race in the rain and the cold we might as well test in it as well!"

While Garofall - who will also attend this weekend’s test - is a proven winner around the former Grand Prix circuit at Estoril, this will be a first visit for Gates.

"Rob has raced there for the last eight years and he and Simon Phillips, who will again be one of Team RLR’s drivers this season, won a six-hour race there last year. While I’ve been watching a lot of in-car footage from races around that circuit, I’ll be gleaning as much as I can from their experiences as well, which will be important given that the final round of the LMS will be staged around Estoril in September."

Source : Team RLR

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