Image credit: Murphy Prototypes.
The official pre-season prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard ahead of this year’s European Le Mans Series, saw the Murphy Prototypes team set the fastest lap time during the two days of testing, with Frenchman Nathanaël Berthon – who rejoins the team for a second season – recording a time of 1:48.155 in the very first session.
Throughout the two-days of testing (Monday and Tuesday 23/24 March), the Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R Nissan-powered LMP2 ran exceptionally well, with the team delighted the car was on the pace straight out of the box. Berthon’s teammates Mark Patterson from South Africa – who now lives in New York – together with Englishman Michael Lyons, also enjoyed trouble-free outings during the remaining sessions, including the night time running on Monday evening.
Following the test, Berthon said: “The testing was really good and I am very happy to have set the best lap of the two days. Everything worked well for me and the team, so I have great expectations about the season ahead.”
Experienced endurance racer Patterson said he was delighted to be back in the car after his season with Murphy Prototypes in 2013 and remarked that the team was ‘well glued in’ for this year. He added that he is looking forward to the prospect of driving alongside his two younger teammates this season, as it creates one of the strongest driver line-ups on the ELMS grid.
Lyons was also pleased with the opportunity of an extensive test. It enabled him to gain valuable seat time before the start of the season, having made the switch from driving a GT car to a Prototype this year. He too was happy with the results achieved over the two days and how it sets up the team’s prospects for this year’s ELMS.
Team Principal Greg Murphy was understandably pleased with the outcome of the past two days: “It’s a very satisfying start to the season. All three drivers showed excellent form and the guys in the team did a great job to roll out a competitive car from the word go. We’re all now looking forward to the season ahead, especially as the potential is clearly there to achieve podium results.”