Mike Simpson says he’s optimistic for this afternoon’s 4 Hours of Silverstone after a good start to the FIA World Endurance Championship season for Team LNT’s pair of updated Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AERs.
The Ginettas’ lap times have improved in each session so far, closing the gap to Toyota Gazoo Racing and Rebellion Racing gradually over the course of Friday and Saturday’s running.
Their qualifying times were 1.2 and 1.4 seconds off the pole-sitting Toyota TS050 Hybrid, while the quickest Ginetta was just two-tenths away from the closest Rebellion R13 Gibson.
“We’ll keep making these big changes, and we’ve got a lot to find,” Simpson told Sportscar365 after qualifying.
“Toyota, however many years they’ve done it, and Rebellion, they’ve run prototypes for ten years. We want to get closer so to be, on average, two-tenths off the next Rebellion and half a second off the quickest [is very good].”
Simpson added that a tire slip-up, which meant the right Michelins weren’t ready in time for his and Charlie Robertson’s first qualifying stints, prevented an even better result.
“The quali tires didn’t get put on the rims by Michelin,” he said. “Charlie and myself went out in the first part of qualifying on completely cold slicks, so we didn’t hit our time until lap three.
“I’m sure if we’d have had a hot tire we’d have been up there, in the 36s, I have no doubt.”
Based on this, and a better than expected showing so far, Simpson remains optimistic of a positive result in this afternoon’s race.
Unpredictable weather forecasts earlier in the weekend suggested rain could be on its way, which Simpson says would benefit the Ginettas, although latest reports are now forecasting a dry race.
“Our plan is to sit there in fifth and sixth, see what happens in front. It’s very encouraging,” he said.
“We are very strong in the wet, I can tell people that, so who knows? If it all goes well, we could sneak a podium, who knows? I’m ever the optimist!”
“Reactive” Nature of Car Helping to Find Pace
Simpson explained that the team took a rather experimental approach earlier in the weekend, trying a variety of different technical approaches to find extra pace.
“We’ve had a lot of experience trying some quite big changes and the car is reacting very well, either negative or a positive,” he said.
“It was a clear direction we needed to work on the high-speed cornering [on Friday] and we’ve delivered that straight away. For me, it’s super encouraging to come here.
“Compared to [Friday], we made some significant changes. Normally, if you want to go quicker in a high-speed corner, you put some downforce on but we went the opposite way and we gained a lot of time.
“It’s just nice that we can put things on the car, take them off, and get such a reaction, which is always the sign of a great package, a great car. It talks to you, you can tune it and dial it in.
“A lot of cars, you’ll make spring changes, torsion bar changes, whatever, and it’s quite benign, whereas this is a very reactive car.”