CEFC TRSM Racing sporting director Graeme Lowdon was left disappointed after a challenging first day of on-track action ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The pair of Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachromes logged a combined total of 59 laps in Free Practice and Qualifying 1 on Wednesday with a best provisional qualifying time that’s 13 seconds off the pace from the leading Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
The British outfit suffered several mechanical problems on both cars, including a forced engine change between sessions, which prevented it from competing more laps in the day’s six hours of on-track action.
“All in all, a huge amount of effort and not much in return,” Lowdon told Sportscar365.
“I have to say, the guys in the garage did an absolutely mega job and it’s about time they got some reward for the effort that’s going in. That’s the way it is.”
Lowdon said a “configuration problem” was found early in Free Practice on the No. 6 Ginetta, which has had a new engine since the Test Day, forcing the team to work on both cars to eliminate the issue.
The cars then went back out on track but the No. 6 Ginetta later developed an engine problem.
“We did an engine change between Free Practice and qualifying so by the time we started, it was less than two hours for the guys to complete a full engine change in an LMP1 car,” Lowdon explained.
“It was a really impressive task, just disappointing that it had to be done in the first place.
“That put us on the back foot, big time, going into qualifying because we missed the first 15-20 minutes which is the only time you get any clear track.
“Then it was pitch black and we were just playing catch-up from there.”
The No. 5 Ginetta was able to log some quicker lap times in Q1 with Leo Roussel setting a 3:26.246 lap, although all of the Frenchman’s laps were deleted due a pit lane speeding infraction.
The same car also had an electrical problem that brought Mike Simpson to a halt early in Free Practice, which was initially masked by the configuration problem.
Ginettas “Need to Find More Pace” in Thursday Qualifying
Lowdon is concerned that the team might not be able to improve upon its qualifying positions in tonight’s two sessions, with rain forecasted.
The best recorded lap time for the team in Q1 was a 3:30.339 set by Alex Brundle in the No. 6 entry, with the cars last in class and almost 11 seconds behind the fastest non-hybrid entry.
Simpson, however, did post a 3:25.203 lap in Free Practice.
“Obviously, if it rains as forecasted today, it would really put us in not a great place at all for the race,” Lowdon said.
“It certainly seems as if, under [the Equivalence of Technology] restrictions, we don’t have the instant lap time that you would hope to get.
“Everything that we’re seeing on the car itself is as predicted, but we clearly need to get more pace.”