Spyker Squadron opens its Le Mans Series GT2 championship campaign at the F1 Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, this weekend. The 1000 km of Catalunya marks the first time the Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R will race this season. Spyker will again compete in the five round Le Mans Series championship and, in June, in the famous and most gruelling race of all: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As announced earlier, Dutchman Tom Coronel will share the wheel with the Czech race talent Jarek Janis.
The team used the long winter to further improve their Laviolette GT2 racer and optimised it to perform well under the latest Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) technical and sporting rules. To name a few of the changes: the new GT2 cars have gained 20 kgs and now weight 1145 kg, the ride-height has been increased by 5 mm and the air restrictors are 5 percent smaller; all with the goal to further increase the safety levels by reducing the overall speed and performance of the cars.
The Dutch team tested various components and systems of the car over the winter period at various tracks in Europe. The most recent test, the official Le Mans Series test at Paul Ricard earlier this month, was used to test their GT2 car in full 2009 specifications.
Peter van Erp, Managing Director Spyker Squadron: ‘I think you could say that we have never been so well prepared for our first race in the season. We had a good test at Paul Ricard -the team claimed the third quickest time in GT2- and will bring some new updates, such as a new rear wing and front splitter, to this first race in Barcelona. Both aero devices have been further optimised and will increase down-force whilst reducing drag at the same time’.
Peter continues: ‘We have also fitted the final version of our new rear-wheel suspension to our Barcelona car. A system that we tested earlier on at our Vallelunga test but not at Paul Ricard earlier this month. The new rear-wheel suspension will result in better and most of all ‘easier’ steering behavior. Of course the efficiency level of all these new post-Paul Ricard updates depend on our abilities to maximise the use of the two 1.5 hour training sessions to correctly set-up and align all updates. If we can manage that, I do not see why we cannot drive top-5 times’.
Also new this year are the pit stops; In previous years 4 mechanics with a total of 2 wheel guns changed the tires. This year only two mechanics, sharing a single wheel gun, will have to complete the very same job. These new pit stop rules have been implemented by the ACO with the idea to drive the tire manufacturers to develop double stinting capable tires to further reduce costs.
The trucks left the team’s workshop in Zeewolde last Sunday. The first official training is scheduled on Friday but the team will immediately start practising their new pit stop strategy on Thursday. Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday 15:00 CET. The 1000 km or six hour race will start on Sunday at 11:30.