Testing times at Le Mans for Ross Gunn

Touring car race victory for James Ingram at Knockhill

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 6:08 am
ALL ROADS LEAD TO LE MANS: Ross Gunn was on-track at the Circuit de la Sarthe during Sunday's Le Mans Test Day (Photo courtesy of Andrew Hartley)

Ross Gunn kick-started his 24 Hours of Le Mans challenge on Sunday when he took part in the race's Test Day at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe in France, writes James Beckett.

Gunn was on-track at the wheel of the number 95 TF Sport-entered Aston Martin Vantage GTE, a car that he will share in this weekend's 89th-running of the Grand Prix d'Endurance with John Hartshorne and Ollie Hancock.

Held under a blazing sun, Sunday's test day offered all competing teams and drivers the opportunity to drive on the part public road course at Le Mans for the only time ahead of the running of the world's most famous motor race, and sixty-two cars were in action.

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Gunn, an Aston Martin factory-supported driver, took to the track early on Sunday morning to check the systems of the TF Sport entry, a car that will contest the highly-competitive LM GTE-Am class. However later in the morning, an accident while Johns Hartshorne was at the wheel ,saw the car damaged in collision with barriers on the approach to the first Mulsanne Chicane. Hartshorne was uninjured in the crash, but track officials were forced to red flag the session as a result.

Repairs were required, and TF Sport engineers worked hard to prepare the car for further action, and the car returned to the track during Sunday afternoon's second session - allowing the team to check the car ahead of today's opening race week track action (Wednesday).

Gunn said: "Le Mans is a special place and sometimes it can bite. The track is very fast in places and a small mistake can be very costly. The Aston Martin Vantage is a really strong car and is actually well suited to Le Mans. The LMGTE-Am class is very tough this year, but we know we can run strongly and with some luck, we could be in a good position on Sunday afternoon!"

Topping the timesheets overall was the Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus 007 Hypercar, driven by French racer, Olivier Pla. The US-Italian car, outpaced rivals Toyota and Alpine during the final hour of the test day to set the fastest time.

The twice round the clock race starts at 4pm (3pm UK) on Saturday afternoon.

* Alex Kapadia will start his quest for victory at Le Mans today (Wednesday) when track action for the Michelin Le Mans Cup competitors starts at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Two Road to Le Mans races will feature during the 24 Hours of Le Mans event, with forty-six cars taking part in two one-hour support races.

Kapadia, a two-time Le Mans 24 Hour race competitor, will drive the number 15 RLR-MSport JSP30-Nissan with Martin Rich, and the duo are hoping for success in races that feature both LMP3 and GT3 specification Prototype and GT cars. Kapadia and Rich will be supported in the race by a second RLR MSport entry, driven by Mike Benham and Malthe Jakobsen.

Speaking this week, Kapadia said, "I am really looking forward to this week. Le Mans is such a special event and to be part of it is always amazing. Last year no spectators were allowed to attend due to the pandemic, and although only a restricted number can attend this year, it will be good to see crowds back at the track."

Following today's Free Practice sessions for Le Mans Cup competitors, Kapadia will race tomorrow evening and again on Saturday afternoon, the second Road to Le Mans race scheduled as the warm-up event prior to the actual 24 Hours of Le Mans.

* Tom Ingram scored an impressive victory in the third and final Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Knockhill on Sunday. The local racer snatched the lead on the final lap, from long time race leader, Stephen Jelley, to secure victory at the wheel of his Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars Hyundai.

Ingram said afterwards: "I am so happy, so, so happy! This was our aim to be in a position to win one race here at Knockhill."

Adding, "The team did a great job all weekend, and we were knocking on the door in every race. Tenth and sixth in the opening two races, the final one was the opportunity to win - and we did."

Colin Turkington (BMW) and Ash Sutton (Infiniti) won the opening two action-packed races, and with the championship set to continue at Thruxton on August 29th, Ingram is placed just fourteen points behind Sutton in the title race.