17 LMP3 and 8 GT3 cars took to the track this morning for the first of two official Michelin Le Mans Cup test sessions at France’s Circuit Paul Ricard. The LMP3 class is an almost 50/50 split between Ligiers (9) and Duqueines (8) whereas the GT3 class could be renamed the Ferrari class with competitors fielding six Ferrari 488 GT3s, one Mercedes AMG GT3 and a single Porsche 911 GT3 R.
United Autosports topped the times for the four hour session when Wayne Boyd set a 1:48.299 in the #23 Ligier JS P320 which put him 0.440s ahead of Cool Racing’s Ben Barnicote, also in a Ligier. Third place went to Rob Hodes who peddled his Duqueine M30 D08 to a respectable 1:48.906. 5.128 seconds seperated first from last place.
In GT3, competition was a little closer with 3.291 seconds separating first from last. Under 1.5 seconds separated the six Ferraris with the #74 Kessel Racing car coming out at the top of the pack after David Perel set a 1:54.238. Hot on his heels was Giacomo Piccini in the #8 Iron Lynx whose 1:54.336 was just 0.098s behind. Claudio Schiavoni closed out the top three in the #77 Iron Lynx setting a 1:54.769. The ‘best of the rest’ was Patrice Lafargue in the IDEC Sport Mercedes AMG GT3 whose 1:57.529 was good enough for 7th place. The final spot went to the #2 Porsche of Pzoberer Zürichsee by TFT.