Joining Cambridgeshire team Greaves Motorsport at Estoril in Portugal this week, the venue for the final round of the ELMS campaign last month, 18-year-old BRDC SuperStar Charlie and 2015 team-mate Sir Chris Hoy each had the chance to pilot Greaves’ LMP2 title-winning Nissan-powered Gibson 015S.
Although the majority of the test took place on a damp track, the Whyteleafe racer did have chance to experience a brief five lap run on slick tyres at the end of the day and he made a major impression on team principal Jacob Greaves.
“I would have no concerns about Charlie being competitive in LMP2 next year”, said Greaves, “He is a quality driver and his performance in the test and his feedback was very good – he’s a very mature driver in the car and chipped away all day, improving his times by three or four tenths every lap.
“Initially, Charlie ran on a damp track on intermediate tyres and he instantly got his times down. He did a really good job and his times were equivalent to LMP2 in qualifying at Estoril at the final round of the season, when the conditions were very similar.”
Greaves added: “At the end of the day it dried out and he had a short five lap run on slicks, a big jump in grip but we could see the confidence which was building and the improvements in pace. More and more time would have come if Charlie had been able to have a few more laps. It shows LMP3 is a good proving ground for LMP2, Charlie really did do a great job.”
The Scottish teenager, who is targeting graduation into LMP2 in 2016 after a sparkling maiden season in sportscars this year on his way to LMP3 championship glory and the ‘Rookie of the Year’ title with Team LNT in a Ginetta-Nissan, thoroughly enjoyed the test run with Greaves and was left wanting much, much more.
“The day was absolutely amazing”, commented the Investigo and Curo-sponsored racer, “We ran on inters to begin but you can’t believe the grip which is available, there’s so much grip with the LMP2 inters and the first 20 laps were amazing.
“It’s such a cool car, the brakes are the biggest difference between P3 and P2 and you can push the braking zones more and more. While the top end isn’t too different between the two classes, the corner speeds are huge in P2 and the ability is there to push much more than you think. I had five laps in the dry at the end and that gave me a great insight, it’s like a whole other world on slicks.”
Charlie continued: “I’m over the moon with how the test went and the team was a dream to work with. I did push the boundaries a bit more in the final run and I feel I did a good job, hopefully I made a good impression!”