Racing Engineering


Racing Engineering qualify fourth at Paul Ricard for tomorrow’s opening round of the European Le Mans Series.
Racing Engineering’s first European Le Mans race weekend got underway at Paul Ricard on Friday morning in the first Free Practice session which was, once again, plagued by the rain that had affected the two days of testing held at the beginning of the week. Norman Nato was first out on track and, despite the difficult conditions, he was immediately on the pace going seventh quickest with a time of 1:58.920 and, as he got used to the slippery track, he improved to 1:55.163 to go fastest.

After forty minutes Norman pitted and Paul Petit took over the driving duties lapping in similar times to Norman although he did not improve on his team-mate’s earlier time. With twenty-five minutes of the ninety minutes remaining it was the turn of Olivier Pla and, with conditions now improving, the experienced Frenchman lapped in 1:53.758 for fifth and he was soon down to 1:52.125 which, as the session ended, left the Racing Engineering Oreca 07-Gibson in a very promising eighth of the nineteen LMP2 cars competing.
News 1
The second ninety minute Free Practice session took place this morning at 09:15 local time and the weather was much improved with the sun shining for the first time although it was still cold with air and track temperatures of 13° and 12° respectively. Once again Norman Nato was the first out in the Racing Engineering car and he was immediately going quickly setting the sixth fastest time with a lap of 1:45.731 which he immediately improved to 1:42.541 to go fastest. After twenty-five minutes Norman returned to the pits for some adjustments returning to the track ten minutes later and he improved his fastest lap to 1:42.476. Norman made two further pitstop as the Racing Engineering team worked on their race set-up before handing over to Paul Petit for the last fifteen minutes. There were no further improvements and the Spanish team’s car finished the session in an excellent fourth place.
News 2
The ten-minute afternoon Qualifying session was held under cloudy skies, but the air and track temperatures had increased to 18° and 17° respectively. Norman was the nominated driver for Qualifying and he was one of the first drivers on track and he did one lap before a red flag forced his return to the pits with only three cars having set a time. With five minutes of the session remaining the cars returned to the track, but the problem would now be to find a clear lap in such a short space of time. Norman was immediately on the pace and his first flying lap saw him second on 1:42.130 and he only had time for one more lap, which was fractionally slower and he finished the session fourth.

Racing Engineering will start tomorrow’s race from the second row of the grid and they have a great chance to finish on the podium in their first race in the European Le Mans Series after a very impressive Qualifying performance.
News 3


Alan Queille - Technical Director: “Finishing our first qualifying in ELMS in 4th position is a positive outcome. Each time we go out on track we learn and there is still a lot of work to be done before our first race tomorrow. We did expect a bit more pace given today’s morning session, but we are working hard on understanding this and improving these points. Our focus is on tomorrow’s race now, which will be a completely new challenge for us as we have three drivers in one car, different tyre choices and we will have to keep an eye on how the race itself evolves around us. We are facing a very steep learning curve considering the lack of run time in the dry, but we are all giving our best and we are looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

Norman Nato: “This was an OK qualifying for us today considering that it was the first weekend for me and the team in this championship. To be honest, we obviously expected a bit more regarding pace, but we knew it would be hard to beat the Michelin tyres. The red flag didn’t help neither, but we know where we need to improve. Overall our qualifying position is not bad as this is not like in single seat racing and we have a long race ahead of us tomorrow. We will do our best to finish in a top position.”