The European Le Mans Series held its annual pre-season Test at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet on March 22 and 23.
In LMP2, 13 of the 15 full season entries were present for the test, the missing cars being the #1 Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S – Nissan and the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 05-Nissan.
In LM P3 21 cars were provisionally entered for the test, the majority being Ligier JS P3s which will form the bulk of the grid in the LM P3 class in 2016. In LM GTE 7 of the nine full season entries were scheduled to appear.
Day One of the Test on March 22 consisted of three sessions. The morning session began at 09:00 and lasted for four hours, prior to a one hour lunch break during which on-track car-to-car photography took place. A further four hour afternoon session concluded with a one hour break after which a two hour night session, beginning at 19h00 took place.
Two further test sessions were run on March 23 with a four hour session beginning at 09h00 and a final three hour session at 14h00.
After Day 1 the #40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 topped the time-sheets with a 1:48.100 set by Oliver Pla in the morning session. The #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05-Nissan was second quickest with a 1:48.297 set in the afternoon by Pierre Thiriet. SMP Racing, with the #32 BR 01-Nissan, set a 1:48.745 with Stefan Coletti driving in the final session of the day.
In LM P3 fastest lap honours went to Alex Brundle in the #2 United Autosports’ Ligier JS P3 with a 1:53.364 set in the morning. Dino Lunardi in the #19 Duqueine Engineering set a 1:54.191 in the morning, choosing not to run in the afternoon, and Peter Kox in the #21 Kox Racing entry closed out the top three with a 1:54.511.
Marco Cioci led the LM GTE field on Day One with a 1:57.304 in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia, set in the morning, with his team-mate Matt Griffin close behind in #55 car with a 1:57.592. JMW Motorsports chose not to run in the morning session but Andrea Bertolini set a 1:57.622 in the afternoon.
On Day Two Memo Rojas moved the #41 Greaves Motorsport Ligier JS P2 up to the third in the overall classification with a 1:48.596. Elsewhere Harry Tincknell set the fastest time of the test, at 1:49.004, for the venerable #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S. United Autosports time set on the Tuesday was not bettered in LM P3 on Day Two. In LM GTE however Marco Cioci improvged the #51 AF Corse’s time with a 1:57.252.
“It’s been very good,” said Memo Rojas on Tuesday night following his first experience of the Greaves Motorsports Ligier JS P2. “Obviously it is the first official test, I am very happy to be here. I’m getting acquainted with the new team, the new car, a new circuit; everything is new with many differences between America and here. The way of racing, the way the team works but it is very professional and interesting to me. I’m really looking forward to racing in the ELMS.”
The first round of the European Le Mans Series will be held at Silverstone on April 16.