….. After a winter of relaxation, catching up with all the delayed D-I-Y projects of home, we finally come to the stage when we can finally get out to the track and start listening to the high pitched whistle of the lesser spotted Audi R18, the elusive Toyota TS50 and the fleet and nimble Porsche 919!
Sadly, developments at home meant I was not able to attend the prologue at Paul Ricard as planned in person, but it seems to have been a huge public success, judging by the numbers of fans who attended the free fan day last Saturday (26th).
But what did we learn for the season ahead? Based on times only, the Porsche again appears to do the fastest laps – but was everyone working to the same schedule? It has already been reported that on at least 2 of their hottest laps, the Toyota would score significant sector times on the first and second sections of the lap, only for the car to be pitted and the lap not Audi to always be there near the top without ever appearing to push hard. And then when you look at the top speed figures, only the Toyota was able to get ahead of the non-hybrid LMP1 cars, with Porsche and Audi some 30 to 40KPH slower in a straight line. Confused? I guess we have not seem the full hand of all the players yet, and that the fireworks will start at Silverstone and Spa.
LMP2 was no clearer, with all the cars covered by less than 2 seconds, and including the Manor WEC team, a new and welcome addition to the ranks.
For GT, things look to once again be a lot closer, continuing the trend of their being an exciting race within a race for class wins. It was good to see the new Ford GT in amongst everyone, rather than tailing in at the rear as new boys often do. I hope the balance of performance Ford have been given is correct, and allows another exciting element within the ranks of manufacturers working for race wins, podiums and championship title aspirations. Time will tell.
It’ll soon be time to get yourself StickeredUp, gather your raincoats, bobble hats and scarves (we all know what Silverstone is like in April!), deckchairs and Thermos flasks, and get yourself down to Silverstone for the first instalment of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.
I’ll be there, I hope you will too ……..