During the coronavirus pandemic season, the traditional Le Mans test, two weeks before the race, was canceled and most of the practice and qualifying was focused on the day. To make the matter a little more complicated for the team founded by FIA World Endurance Commission Chairman Richard Mille, drivers Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Flörsch and Beitske Visser have shared the car together so far. There was never.
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Fortunately, the first all-female prototype lineup at Le Mans since 1991 was able to guide them through the jewelry of the endurance race calendar, seeking experience in Philip Sino’s Crack Signatech outfit. And, certainly, they lay a promising foundation for next year’s return in the trouble-free 9th place class.
A 24-hour 2018 and 2019 class winner using the same machine with the Alpine badge, Signatech leads the FIA as it has been running a 4.2-liter V8 prototype since its introduction in 2017. There are few better qualifications than the Shino team for. Women of the Motorsports Commission-Supported the trio through its nuances.
“We are used to working with newcomers,” says Sinault. He states that there is no difference in the trio working with a male partner. “In 2016, we had great success with LMP2. [winning the World Endurance Championship title] There are two newcomers in Gustavo Menezes and Stephen Richermi.
“”now With these three girls, we achieved the first level we expected at the end of the year. They participated in this endurance platform and proved to everyone that they could perform well. The Foundation is there now and they wouldn’t be surprised next year if they were in the top five on a regular basis. “
# 50 Richard Mille Racing Team Oreca 07-Gibson: Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Flörsch, Beitske Visser
All three Richard Mille drivers had a steep learning curve to adapt to Oreca. This was maximized at 330 km / h with the low drag trim of the Marzanne straight on the circuit de la Salt. A fast corner to Formula 2 Dallara, where she raced in 2019, even if Calderon performed equally well at downforce levels.
“Sure, driving in low-speed corners is a little difficult. [extra] Calderon, who first experienced a sports car with a Lamborghini GT3 car in early 2020, said: “I was impressed with how difficult endurance racing really is because of the need to adapt quickly to different situations. It’s a lot more complicated than I initially thought it would come from a single-seater.”
Indeed, there are several considerations for Richard Mille Racing drivers to manage during a stint. With countless slow LMP3s (European Le Mans Series rounds) and GT cars for each lap, in addition to tire and fuel management, truck variations are widespread. Conditions from day to night.
However, at least Calderon was installed at Paul Recard from the beginning of the ELMS season, with W Series race winner Wisser joining after a test crash that broke the leg of team “Captain” Katherine Legge, but Formula 3 racer Froche was her. Miller Racing, who only made Richard, bowed a few weeks before Le Mans in the Spa ELMS round due to a conflict between the two programs.
The last 19-year-old woman to drive on the roof at Ginetta Jr. had little idea of what to expect, but the most extraordinary factor was sensitive power steering, which needed to be “more careful.” .. It has inputs to extend the life of the tire. Given the whims of multi-class endurance racing, it’s not easy as almost every lap requires overtaking.
“I push 100% of all laps while I’m in the car,” she says. “It doesn’t matter where you are. You still have all the slow GTs and LMP3s you have to handle and overtake as quickly as possible. I was always happy when I lapped the clean lap, especially Portimao. Was a vehicle hell because he was talking about traffic! “
# 50 Richard Mille Racing Team Oreca 07-Gibson: Sophia Flörsch, Beitske Visser
As an inevitable product of the pandemic, Sinault explains that the Richard Mille racing team’s test program wasn’t as extensive as initially expected-“they learned a lot only in the race”-but the drivers soon Impressed the team’s bosses with their “smart thinking”.
“Girls have a strong brain,” he says. “They quickly understood the gist of the endurance game. Sure the girls are fast, but the main quality of this package is that they are really smart. They are the perfect copy for us and Richard Mille. They made no mistakes, always stayed on the course and did a great job. “
Looking back on 2020, Shino is pleased with the lessons learned by the Richard Mille racing team, and as the 2021 season begins, his prosecution takes a step further, benefiting from the year’s experience behind them. I am confident that we can move forward.
“The main thing was how they had to use the tires,” says Shino. “We worked with the girls to take the first steps to create a predictable car that will help us understand the world of durability.
“The current path of progress is to gain a better understanding of tires and the consumption and traffic management they use. We will be working on new tires next season. [Goodyear control] Tires and traffic. In one lap they can work very well, it doesn’t matter. Now it’s about managing all the elements of endurance.
“We have a year of experience together and they are familiar with the team now. We know all the qualities of the girls and how to improve them, so we decided to do a good job for next year. I am positive. “
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