JRM Racing aiming to get back to the front in France
FIA GT1 World Championship – Round Seven Preview
Paul Ricard HTTT, France
16th & 17th July 2011
For JRM Racing, the target at this weekend’s round seven of the FIA GT1 World Championship at the Paul Ricard HTTT circuit in the South of France, is all about getting back up the rankings in the Teams’ and Drivers’ points tables.
Following last month’s Championship Race victory in round five at Silverstone, Michael Krumm and Lucas Luhr in car 23 headed the Drivers’ standings, whilst JRM Racing were second in the Teams’. But a difficult weekend in round six at Navarra two weeks ago proved that no matter how good the race-pace or how determined the team is to do well, other factors can come into play.
For Krumm and Luhr this included first-lap contact inflicted by other competitors – in both races - coupled with a circuit that did not bring out the best in the Nissan GT-R. Even so, that didn’t stop them from finishing ninth and sixth respectively.
However, the Paul Ricard circuit is a different configuration to that of Navarra and its long straights and greater frequency of high-speed corners are likely to play to the Nissan’s strengths. That was certainly the case last year when the championship visited the track, as Krumm and Peter Dumbreck proved with an impressive second-place in the Championship Race.
Although both drive for JRM Racing, this year they occupy different cars, with Dumbreck now paired with Richard Westbrook in car 22. After scoring a frustrating seventh and ninth in Spain, the British pair currently lie 11th in the Drivers’ standings and therefore, both know they need success from this weekend if they are going to retain their title aspirations.
Situated on the French Riviera near the small town of Le Castellet, the 5.809km Paul Ricard circuit was opened in 1970 and hosted the French Grand Prix 14 times between 1971 and 1990. It was developed into a high tech test track (HTTT) in 1999 and is famous for its blue and red-striped run-off areas.
The format for this weekend features Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying sessions on Friday, before the competitive action gets underway on Saturday with Qualifying at 10.40. This is followed by the first of the weekend’s two one-hour races at 16.15, with the main Championship Race taking place on Sunday at 15.15.
All times listed are CEST (Central European Summer Time). Please subtract one-hour for GMT (UK).
Michael Krumm (Car 23)
“It was encouraging to have had a relatively good pace at Navarra, on a circuit that did not really favour us. Nevertheless, it was disappointing to not capitalise on our performance. Instead, we were busy recovering after being pushed off the track - but such is racing. I finished second last year at Paul Ricard and it’s personally one of my favourite circuits. The GT-R should perform well here and I don’t see why we shouldn't be able to get into the top three. If not us - as we are still carrying some success ballast - hopefully it will be our team mates.”
Lucas Luhr (Car 23)
“The car went well at Navarra, even carrying success ballast and, if only we hadn’t had to make our way through the field in each of the races, I am sure we would have been satisfied with our results. Although I have driven at Paul Ricard with an LMP car, this will be the first time with a GT car. I think the track will be good for the GT-R, as Michael proved last year.”
Richard Westbrook (car 22)
“We knew it was going to be tough at Navarra, but not quite as tough as it was. Our aim was just to score some points, but our bad luck continued to conspire against us. Still, that’s racing and you just have to take it on the chin and now we look forward to Paul Ricard. I like the circuit and have a fair amount of experience there, so I know it’s going to allow the GT-R to really stretch its legs.”
Peter Dumbreck (Car 22)
“Having had a chance to look at the race from Navarra on the television, I think the drive-through penalty we were given was harsh considering the circumstances. However, we have to keep attacking the races in same way and aim to maintain the pace we’ve had so far - but this time see if we can have some luck to go with it and help us get the result I know we can achieve.”
Nigel Stepney (Team Manager and Chief Engineer)
“If last year is anything to go by, we have seen we can be competitive at Paul Ricard. However, tyre degradation is a major factor at this track and we’ll have to monitor this very carefully. The team is working together well and we should be able to maintain our current pace. After achieving a sub 20-second pit stop at Navarra, we are now raising the bar again and will aim to change all four wheels and swap drivers in less than 18-seconds this weekend.
James Rumsey (Team Principal)
“If we qualify as well as we have been and don't have anyone run into us on the first lap, then I think we stand an excellent chance of getting ourselves back at the top of both the drivers’ and teams’ championship tables this weekend. A good result at Paul Ricard will set us up nicely for the three remaining rounds which all take place outside Europe.”