In preparation for a full assault on the 2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, the Kaspersky Motorsport team joined a field of around 50 cars for the two-day official pre-season test session at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the South of France.
The AF Corse prepared Ferrari 488 GT3 was given a shakedown in a couple of races towards the end of last year, but this test, held on Monday and Tuesday in perfect spring weather was the first real chance for the drivers and engineers to assess the new car in proper testing conditions.
The number 55 car with its striking green, red and white livery is one of 33 cars taking part in this year’s Pro class of what is undoubtedly the premier GT Endurance racing series. Almost a dozen major car manufacturers have committed to the championship, which boasts an impressive driver line-up, featuring former Le Mans winners and Formula 1 drivers, like Kaspersky Motorsport’s own Giancarlo Fisichella.
With perfect weather on the French Riviera, Monday and Tuesday saw the car get through plenty of laps, despite the inevitable interruptions to track time because of red flags. The programme for the first day centred on assessing tyre wear, while experimenting with various ride heights and adjusting the aerodynamic balance of the car. Tuesday, the engineers switched the focus to long runs, having made a few set-up adjustments in the morning to suit the characteristics of the challenging Paul Ricard track.
In the hands of the aforementioned Fisichella and teammate Marco Cioci, the 488 GT3 ran faultlessly and the team was able to work through the entire programme it had set itself for the two days: different set-ups, both hard and soft, engine management and electronics work were all on the agenda. It was only in the final two hours that any thought was given to working on actual performance and that task also delivered encouraging results, with the car posting top-ten lap times.
Testing is all about evaluating every aspect of the car and generating masses of data for the engineers to analyse. This is where Kaspersky Lab’s expertise in managing, storing and protecting that data is a great help to the race team.
“We arrived in Paul Ricard at the start of the week with a wonderful new car and we were quite excited to start the new season,” said Marco Cioci this afternoon. “The first test days are always the days where you hope everything on the car works well and that it’s reliable, and with 103 laps on the board I’d say that wasn’t bad at all.
“My feeling with the car is also improving lap after lap. We’ve made some improvements to the car, collected lots of data, and continued to learn with each lap. We just need to keep our heads down and continue to work as hard as we are already doing.”
“It was a decent test in the car for me and we were able to complete a good number of laps, which is always the main objective with a new car,” added Giancarlo Fisichella once testing was complete. “The two day programme focused on set-up work and data analysis. We have a huge amount of data to work through both trackside and at the factory, where the experts at Kaspersky Lab work day in, day out to understand the ever-evolving risks and possible threats. From this we expect to take another step forwards in our learning.”
Now, the Kaspersky Motorsport crew will go over everything it has learned from these two days to be as well prepared as possible for the first actual race of the season which takes place at Italy’s iconic Monza circuit on 23rd April.
It was a decent test in the car for me and we were able to complete a good number of laps, which is always the main objective with a new car. The two day programme focused on set-up work and data analysis. We have a huge amount of data to work through both trackside and at the factory, where the experts at Kaspersky Lab work day in, day out to understand the ever-evolving risks and possible threats. From this we expect to take another step forward in our learning for the 2017 season. Giancarlo Fisichella