The first race of the 2008 season Le Mans Series was run in Cataluña last weekend
Hideki had his first “real” test sessions with the “Kruse Schiller Motorsport (KSM)” Lola B05/40 chassis which is powered by a 2000 cc Turbo-charged Mazda engine. His first impressions were that the KSM team has provided a very solid and above all fast package for the 2008 season, Good chassis, very powerful engine, competent team, mechanics, engineers and management. So all seems to be in place for a successful season in the European Le Mans Series this year.
The reason that this was the first real testing with the car was that when the team went to Magny Cours in March, the car arrived there straight from the Lola factory, so many things had to be build up and checked, double-checked after which a thorough shakedown of the car has been done by the team drivers Hideki Noda and his team mate Jean de Pourtales. In the 3 free practice sessions Hideki and the team did lots of work on setting up the car for the race.
In all 3 sessions Hideki and the car have performed very well. Hideki ran the qualifying session on Saturday and managed to get the car on a solid 8th place in the LMP-2 class, a very good result considering the little testing that has been done with the car.
In the Sunday race Hideki started as first driver but had to make an irregular pitstop after about 30 minutes for various check-ups on the car. After having lost about 15 laps he went back out, He managed to put in some very decent lap times but after the driver change the team decided to lower the max RPM on the engine to preserve the engine as the “problem” that occurred was not identified yet. On the 2nd time Hideki went out he had to come back to the pitlane as he experienced a problem with the gearbox.
The KSM team will completely rebuild the car for Monza after which all the small problems should be fixed. Hideki is looking forward to a strong season with the KSM team