After one of the most intense periods that anyone in the team can remember, RML AD Group is in positive mood ahead of this weekend's 79th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Just four weeks ago the squad's HPD ARX-01d was virtually destroyed in a high-speed accident in practice for the Spa 1000 Kilometres, yet the team overcame a logistical mountain to have a replacement car ready for this week. Arriving with realistic aspirations, the team has been very pleased with the progress made in free practice and qualifying, and everyone is looking forward to the race with confidence.
The replacement tub for the HPD chassis arrived at the team's Wellingborough workshops late on 26th May. Inside a week the team had the car fully rebuilt and ready for a shakedown test at Snetterton, where the car performed faultlessly. "The quality of work achieved by the team is simply amazing," said Thomas Erdos. "They always produce a car that feels good to drive from the moment you climb into the cockpit. It's like a Swiss watch - precision engineering through and through."
"Reliability is everything," said Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. "The chassis and suspension is proven, and we know it's a successful 24 hour race-winning car. The unknown quantity is the engine, which is all-new for this year, but HPD has run it extensively on the dyno and as a team we have the experience to make the most of a very positive situation."
Mike Newton recovered remarkably quickly from the 30G impact he sustained at Spa. Consistently quick laps during the shakedown test at Snetterton last Friday were followed by some personal best times in practice and qualifying at Le Mans. "I'm feeling very comfortable in the car now," he said. "Overall, I'm confident we have a great race car that just gets better every time we go out. We don't know yet exactly what our outright pace could be, since we've not had a chance to run on soft tyres, but our times give a fair indication of what we should be capable of setting in the race."
Ben Collins is thoroughly enjoying the experience of being back at the Circuit de la Sarthe. "It's eight years since I was last here, so I'm taking things as they come. The car feels really inspiring to drive, so reacquainting myself with the track has been a pleasure. The Porsche Curves are especially impressive. Hammering through those corners with your foot pinned to the floor is a fantastic experience, and completing each lap can't fail to put a smile on your face. This circuit has such tremendous charisma, and being here is just living a dream. I love it."
"We are very pleased with what the team has achieved in the last two weeks," said Pauline Norstrom, Motorsport and Marketing Director at AD Group. "To reconstruct the car from scratch in just five days and then put in such a solid performance in free practice and qualifying is a great reflection on the professionalism and engineering prowess of the team and drivers." "AD Group will have some of their most prestigious clients at the circuit this weekend, as ever sporting the distinctive RML AD Team shirts," she added. "The objective is to demonstrate our innovative technology, highlight the synergy between motorsport and AD Group's engineering expertise, and develop lasting business relationships. Effective partnership and teamwork are the key elements of success in endurance racing, and the key elements of success in business."
Thomas Erdos will take the start in the RML AD Group HPD #36 on Saturday.