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LE MANS 2023

PURPLE SECTORS IN TESTING AND FREE PRACTICE 

"Wednesday marked the first time I’d have the privilege to drive the legendary track of Le Mans. Track time was very limited, and with 70 plus Ferrari Challenge cars on track, track position was vital in order to get the most out of the session. 

 

No one had had the opportunity to test the Le Mans track, other than one driver who was racing in the 24 hour race, so it came down to the drivers ability to adapt and learn, as well as the team getting the correct set up and tyre pressures. 

 

We topped both testing and free practice, collecting all available purple sectors. Interestingly we were down in the speed trap, but the ability to take the corners fast and accurately each time meant we could maintain our lead. We have since discovered why our speed trap was lower than other drivers, and have found the solution. 

Thomas Fleming's Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo

AN INTERESTING QUALIFYING 

With 70 Ferrari Challenge cars on track at the same time across the near 14 kilometre track, it was extremely vital to be able to get a clean lap without disturbances of dirty air or slow moving traffic. Going into the session, it was clear that a clear lap would be half the battle for pole.

After a brief mid-session red flag, the team worked perfectly and put me out on track with no one in front. It was looking hopeful until my car decided to have a traction control failure, meaning I had to pull over and restart it. 

From there I had to reassign my bearings to the traffic on track whilst praying the issue to not return. I had only a few laps left in the session to put me up the front of the grid. 

After a blistering sector 1, I was held up significantly at the most important part of the circuit ; down the Mulsanne straight. A car not on a flying lap almost perfectly placed himself in my way, which effected my speed all the way down the rest of the long, flat out section of track. I did a lap that placed me P3 which was frustrating given the time lost behind the slow moving car.

By the time I had done a cool down lap, I had no one in front of me, so as a team we decided to do one more push lap. As I started I got another PB in sector 1, and then a red flag came out meaning I had to stop and come in. The session did not restart. 

Thomas Fleming's Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo

A THREE LAP RACE

We lined up on the Saturday, the morning before the infamous 24 hour race started. The start wasn’t perfect on anyone’s behalf, but the race carried on. I was unable to gain any positions, but remained close behind. 

With 70 plus cars on the grid, everyone had anticipated a couple of yellow flags and maybe a safety car, it was bound to happen.

In the end, the total race length was about three laps after a massive crash on the second lap. We were stuck behind a safety car for the remainder of the race apart from one lap at the end. 

It was a frustrating race, I believe without any safety cars we had the potential to win it, but it wasn’t meant to be.

 

Despite the result of P4, it will always be a memorable time, and I am so honoured to have been able to race at this incredible track. It was certainly a pinch me moment."

-TF

Thomas Fleming's Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo
Thomas Fleming's Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo

Click image for an onboard lap around Le Mans 

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