The Dutch SNORAS Spyker Squadron will start from an eleventh position in Saturday’s Le Mans 24 Hours. The Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R will be driven by Spyker regulars Jarek Janis (CZE) and Tom Coronel (NLD). 2008 LMP2 class winner Jeroen Bleekemolen (NLD) will accompany the driver pair.
The organisation decided earlier to skip the official test weekend and changed the two two-hour Wednesday qualifying sessions into a single six-hour free practice session. Spyker Squadron used their first hour on the French non-permanent track to run-in their gearbox. After an hour with a maximum of sixty percent throttle Jarek did five laps on race speed. Although it had been raining the whole day Jarek had a small window of dryer conditions as was able to set the third quickest time in GT2. When Tom went out it started raining again. He tested the intermediate- and wet tires and completed his laps.
The Dutch team continued its quest for a better time and tried to re-find top speed which is lower compared to recent years due a change in the regulations. Jeroen got in the car and tested a variation of splitters, wings and ducts to reclaim overall speed. Later in the six hour session the team stopped the car to analyse the data and wait for the 22:00 signal. After ten o’clock the drivers all completed their mandatory night laps to be eligible to compete in the race. After 43 laps and having set the 4th quickest time in the ‘night’ practice the team decided to stop earlier than planned because of the rain – the weather forecast for the race is dry, warm and sunny.
The night before qualifying was used to swap the engine for the race engine. The first two hours of the Thursday qualifying session were used to let Tom and Jarek qualify for the race. The handling of the car was great but the team decided to call in the car to change the gearbox ratio’s to again see if more top-speed could be found.
When Jeroen went out on fresh tires, 15 minutes before the end of the first two-hour qualifying session, to find a quicker time he had to return to the box with a problem with his right front tire. After a 45 minute break the second session started. Jeroen completed three laps on soft tires and three on mediums and set the eleventh quickest time in a field of 17 GT2 cars.
Peter van Erp: “We are expecting good weather this weekend for the race and in these conditions our drivers can all do a 4:09 easily without pushing the car to its limits. We decided to stop earlier in qualifying – We can go a lot quicker but there was so much traffic and the track was very dirty that we decided to call it the day and save the car for the race”.
Jeroen Bleekemolen will start the race for SNORAS Spyker Squadron tomorrow.