Team SARD MORAND is stepping up its preparation for the challenges of 2015 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The team has just completed the first of its scheduled tests in Spain on the Motorland Aragon circuit, testing out new 2015 aero packages and Dunlop tyres.
This test saw the new Swiss-Japanese partnership spend four days working together for the first time.
“When I look back at these four days of testing everything went so well, communication is very good.” said Hideki Noda, SARD principal. “We collected a great amount of data regarding the tyres, the engine and the drivers’ line-ups. Everything was new between SARD and Morand but we really have a good pace with all the drivers, who were consistent and made no mistakes, and so did mechanics and engineers.”
“We learned to know each other. I think we are on the good path after these four days of testing.” added Benoit Morand.
The test saw Christian Klien, Koki Saga (#39), Pierre Ragues Tristan Vautier and Oliver Webb (#43) share the wheel of the two Morgan EVO SARDs. During the four days, Swiss native Zoel Amberg was also behind the wheel. The six drivers covered about 4,000 kilometres and shifted gears 24,000 times.
“The team is bigger now. We have a lot to learn so it is very good for all of us to have four days of testing.” said Christian Klien.
“We got to know new people, new team mates. We made very good progress the last couple of days to understand the new package. We had the new 2015 evo package on the #39 car, which is quite different regarding aerodynamics and mechanical grip. Koki made great improvements in the last couple of days and he showed a great potential.”
“This is the first time I race outside Japan. I am very happy and feel very comfortable with Team SARD MORAND.” Koki Saga told reporters.
“I am still learning about the car but during these four days of testing I gained experience. I am now quite confident in my ability of driving faster and faster. Before coming to Spain I visited the Le Mans circuit. For me, it was a kind of dream as I realized I would be coming back later this year to race there.”
The step-up from the European Le Mans Series to the FIA WEC saw many additional challenges and entering two cars required the addition of new drivers, engineers, mechanics, and also new logistics.
During the tests Morgan EVO SARD proved fast, reliable and consistent and the team has high hopes it will be in the top positions of the LMP2 class.
In less than a month, the team will be back on the track at the Prologue of the FIA WEC, to be held with all the contenders of the 2015 season on March 27-28 in the south of France at the Le Castellet circuit.