The Murphy Prototypes Endurance Racing Team came away from the official test for the forthcoming Le Mans 24-hours yesterday extremely satisfied with the outcome, having set the fastest lap time in the LMP2 Class and successfully completing its planned test programme.
Changeable weather conditions punctuated proceedings at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe for the official prologue that takes place two-weeks ahead of the annual 24-hour race. The test event provides teams the opportunity to run on the 13.629km (8.46-mile) track – which is only used in this format once-a-year – for a four-hour session in the morning and another four-hour session in the afternoon.
The morning runs started dry and all three Murphy Prototypes drivers: Karun Chandhok, Mark Patterson and Nathanaël Berthon, each took turns at the wheel of the team’s Nissan-powered Oreca 03R before the rain came. The weather conditions were repeated for the afternoon session and, with the team having established a good set up for the car, Chandhok was able hook-up a perfect lap to secure the fastest time in the LMP2 category – and the 11th fastest time overall – just before the rain returned.
The team was pleased to have successfully run through its planned test programme during the day and to have established a good set-up for the car – an achievement endorsed by its competitiveness alongside the other 21 cars running in the LMP2 category.
The build up for the Le Mans 24-Hours starts on Sunday 7th and Monday 8th June with scrutineering at Place de la République in Le Mans, followed by two free practice and qualifying sessions on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th June. The race starts on Saturday 13th June at 3:00pm.
Greg Murphy, Team Principal (Dublin, Ireland)
‘I’m extremely happy with the outcome of today’s test. We have ran through our programme and worked on our strategies for the race. Everyone in the team has done a great job and Karun setting the fastest LMP2 lap is testimony to their efforts. All three drivers ran well in both the wet and dry conditions and, with a strong set up in the car, it puts us in a great position ahead of the race.”
Karun Chandhok (India/Brackley, England)
“It’s been a good day. It was a little frustrating to begin with as there was only time for a couple of laps in the morning before it started raining. But it dried out again for the start of the afternoon session and I was able to build up to some strong laps and set the fastest LMP2 time of the day.
“Other than a brief test at a Paul Ricard a few months ago, it has been a year since I last drove this car, so I was very pleased to be straight on the pace. The car ran consistently well throughout the test and the team did a great job. It’s an excellent start to our Le Mans fortnight.”
Mark Patterson (RSA/New York, USA)
“As a team we made some great progress today and I feel we’re in a good place before the build up next week and then the race. The car felt extremely good which meant all three of us drivers were happy with the set-up for both wet and dry conditions. Everyone in the team worked hard and it was great to see Karun posting the fastest LMP2 lap of the day. As always, Le Mans presents a big challenge, but I’m really looking forward to it, especially after the outcome of today’s test.”
Nathanaël Berthon (Romagnat, France)
“With the team claiming a podium position in round two of the European Le Mans series two weeks ago at Imola, we were aiming to build on that result for the test today – and that’s what we did. The car felt very good in all conditions and although, of course, there is a long way to go to get to the end of our Le Mans journey, we are very happy with where we are with two weeks to go.”
For further details and to find the latest news on the Murphy Prototypes team, plus images and videos, visit the team’s Facebook page and website: www.murphyprototypes.com