Virgo Motorsport Set for Le Mans Test
31st May 2008
Virgo Motorsport head to Le Mans today, preparing for the official test day of the Le Mans 24 Hours race which takes place on Sunday. The team will make its debut at the world-famous endurance event this year, although all three drivers – Rob Bell, Tim Sugden and Tim Mullen – and many of the team personnel have previous experience.
The team, competing in the GT2 class with a Ferrari 430, is one of the established Le Mans Series teams, taking the title last season. Jim McWhirter, Team Owner, says of the team’s first assault on the 24 hour race, “It’s a new challenge for Virgo and one we’re all relishing. We’ve put together a strong driver line-up and everyone in the team has many years of endurance racing experience, so we head to Le Mans feeling very positive. However, we also know just how big a challenge we’re taking on. This event is a one of the toughest tests, both for the car and the personnel, so we don’t underestimate what lies ahead for us.
“For me this event will be particularly special, as I have never been to the Le Mans 24 Hours race, not even as a spectator. I’ve heard so much about it, but I’m not quite sure what to expect. The test day will be a good introduction, although I’m sure that the atmosphere two weeks later will be even bigger and better than this weekend.”
Bell raced in the event last year, driving a Panoz, but for his second attempt, he joins Virgo Motorsport, the team with which he competes in the Le Mans Series. He says of the upcoming test, “Sunday is a useful opportunity for us to prepare for the race. We’ll have the full 2008 update kit on the car for the first time, so we’ll be looking to find the right balance with this, as we expect it to be slightly different than our current car. As I’ve only been at the track once, I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with it, and as it will be the first time there in the Ferrari for me, I expect it will feel different. I can’t wait to get there, it’s a great place.”
Mullen returns to Le Mans for the fourth consecutive year. He says of the test day, “It’s a chance to get set for the race, finalising the set up. This will the first time I’ve driven with Virgo Motorsport, so it’ll be a chance for me to get to know the team, although I have a fair bit of experience with the Ferrari, so I’m not anticipating too many problems. Virgo is a great team, it’s good enough and the drivers are good enough to win, the first step is the test, and I expect this to be very straight forward.”
Sugden is also confident that the test will not present any problems. He says, “It is just a test. Virgo are a very good, well organised team and they know what they are doing, so there’s no reason why the car won’t be good straight out of the box. I raced with the team in 2006, so I know everyone, and know Rob and Tim as well, so it should all be very straight forward. I’m looking forward to getting in the car, it’s always a great place to drive.”
The 76th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race takes place from 14-15 June, with the official test on Sunday 1st June.