FIA World Endurance Championship had called all teams to a collective test day at Monza ahead of the season. It was mandatory to participate for all the teams who want to participate in the full season FIA WEC 2017. So there was plenty for the spectators to enjoy, who by the way had free entry to the track and the paddock area.
We have split up our reports from the weekend into four separate reports: one report per class.
This one it is about LMP2.
10 cars have entered the LMP2 category this year. A category that will look a bit different from what we have seen before. All cars are closed cockpit cars due to safety, and the chassis choices are limited to four manufactures. All cars will compete with Dunlop tires and a Gibson engine fitted.
The variation in the FIA WEC is even more limited – unintentionally. All 10 cars in the 2017 season are ORECA 07 chassis’s, even though Signatech Alpine has been allowed to call their car an Alpine A470.
For the Monza test we saw nine cars, because Manor had left one of their chassis’s at home, and collect all their drivers in one car.
Vaillante Rebellion got the best start on Saturday morning, with car number 31 being fastest ahead of their #13 car. The Rebellion team has already done a lot of miles in the car, because they have already competed in the Daytona 24 hours and the 12 hours of Sebring this year, as well as all their pre-season testings. So it wasn’t surprising that they were quick out of the box.
For the afternoon test the team went for some other setup options, and that meant that Signatech Alpine #36 was fastest ahead of CEFC Manor TRS Racing #24. The first seven cars in class were split by less than half a second – but it is of course the same car, so it’s all up to the setup of the car and the ability of the driver.
There was a night practice Saturday evening in partial darkness. That combined with a few showers meant that a lot of the teams chose to stay in the pit and save the car for the Sunday. So it wasn’t really of much importance that Vaillante Rebellion #13 was fastest ahead of Signatech Alpine #36 and #35.
Sunday morning started with a damp track, which proved to be a bit of a test for many of the drivers, who had to use bits of the run-off areas or run straight through chicanes to stay on the asphalt. For the first time this weekend we saw TDS Racing #28 on top of the list, while G-Drive Racing was the second fastest.
The final session for the nine cars on Sunday afternoon saw Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 on top of the table ahead of Signatech #35.
Otherwise there wasn’t much to report, other than a few technical challenges, but that’s only normal for race cars.
If we take a look at the top speeds, it was Signatech Alpine #36 with the highest LMP2 top speed doing 314 kph, while G-Drive Racing #26 and Signatech Alpine #35 both did 309,5 kph. Even though all cars are equal, there was 11,5 kph difference from the fastest #36 down to the slowest car Jackie Chan Racing #38.
The next time we will have the cars back on the track is in one and a half weeks at Silverstone.