Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden believes there is still room for improvement in qualifying this evening but admits that Toyota will still walk away with the race unless an Equivalence of Technology change is made.
Hayden isn’t expecting to see any changes to the EoT but would like to see the fuel flow rate for the non-hybrid LMP1 cars moved back up to 110 kg/h from the current 108 kg/h configuration, as was the case in the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener at Spa.
Nevertheless, he’s hopeful that the Swiss team can make some improvements to its pace in this evening’s pair of two-hour qualifying sessions.
“I’m not expecting any [EoT changes] but obviously I’d hope to see some,” Hayden told Sportscar365.
“We’d like to get as close as possible to the Toyotas to make it an interesting race for everybody.
“I think if they’re just going to walk away with it then it’s just a little bit less interesting. We hope that there’s a change but I’m not sure that we’ll see one.
“The main one is the fuel flow rate, which is at 108 at the moment and was at 110 at Spa. We’d like to see that back at 110.”
Bruno Senna set the team’s best time in Qualifying 1 on Wednesday with a 3:19.662, which put him 2.392 seconds behind the fastest Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
However, Hayden says Senna’s time wasn’t 100 percent representative because the Brazilian driver hit a Slow Zone at the end of his lap, meaning he couldn’t beat the team’s best Free Practice time of 3:19.426 set by Thomas Laurent.
Hayden therefore believes the team can improve upon its provisional qualifying time if tonight’s sessions remain dry, with possible rain showers forecasted.
“I don’t think the pace is far away, actually,” he said. “We’ve been trying to learn about the car here at Le Mans since the Test Day and we’ve had all sorts of different setups on.
“I think on the Test Day we had a setup on that we were quite happy with, but we’ve just been trying to evolve that here.
“I think we’ve got a little bit of work to do but we aren’t far away.”
Julian “Really Happy” With DragonSpeed Pace
DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian, meanwhile, said he’s pleased with the performance showed by his BR Engineering BR1 Gibson on Wednesday.
However, he says they’re not looking at the Toyotas as competition and therefore have different goals to Hayden and Rebellion.
“I don’t care about the Toyotas,” Julian told Sportscar365. “I’m not here to race them, I don’t think that we should be entitled to claim that we’re adversaries.
“In P1, we had a really good day, considering what we’ve gone through. It was a great day and the pace of the car is there.
“In theory, we thought we could run around doing 3:20s and 3:21s, and then we went out and did it. That’s good, and I think that’s what the race pace is going to be.
“The engine mapping had some issues in the night which we can now build on.
“The lap time which had been done in quali, which is not representative, with everything correct on the engine side, is a mega lap time. We’re really happy with that and confident.”