After another two days of testing this week before the GT Open season opener, it was Drivex School which again ran fastest, its Mercedes AMG GT3 of Brazilian pair Allam Khodair and Marcelo Hahn setting a 2:01.709 on the second day of running.
The Spanish team had a productive run, showing pace, and managing 134 laps with its full-season car and drivers, book-ending its positive pre-season, after topping the times at the first GT Open pre-season test at Barcelona last month.
The test at Paul Ricard was affected by the poor weather across Europe, which prevented many of the teams on the entry from arriving at the circuit on time. Originally 25 cars were due to attend the test, many arrived late at night and eight eventually failed to turn up.
Among the absentees were a few big teams in the series, Imperiale Racing, Team Lazarus and SPS Automotive Performance. It was a particularly disappointing outcome for defending champion Imperiale, which announced its three-car programme at the end of last month, and subsequently sat out the first test at Barcelona.
In fact, all three teams will head to Round 1 without any running in the official pre-season tests, as Lazarus and SPS both missed the trip to Spain also.
On track, the rain came early in Day 1, but was quickly replaced by sunshine. It was a very productive two days of running for BMW Team Teo Martin and new outfit Luzich Racing, which debuted its Ferrari 488s with a full line-up of Mikkel Mac, Alexander West, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Michele Rugolo and Marco Cioci.
BMW Team Teo Martin finished up with the second fastest time of the test, a 2:02.345 on Day 1 by Andres Saravia in the #18, the fastest tour of the French circuit of the day. For the team, Saravia, Márcio Basso and João Mauro shared its pair of M6 GT3s.
Luzich Racing meanwhile, completed the top three in the combined times, its #51 Ferrari of Mac, Cioci and Pier Guidi completing a 2:02.489 on Day 1. More importantly, the team was able to get a lot of running in with its new machinery.
The aforementioned #51 ended up with 131 laps, while the #71 of Alexander West and Michele Rugolo completed 138.
The American-flagged outfit wasn’t the only one trackside representing Ferrari, as much of the rest of the field was made up of 488 GT3s, a further seven from a combination Rinaldi Racing, Spirit of Race and Kessel Racing.
The remaining three entries were from Mercedes team Lechner Racing and Lamborghini runners Ombra Racing and Vincenzo Sospiri Racing, the former Huracan GT3 team setting the fourth fastest tour of the two days, a 2:02.648 on Day 2. The team had ex-Aston Martin factory driver Fernando Rees and Damiano Fioravanti behind the wheel for the test.
With the official pre-season tests now over, all eyes are on the opening round of the season at Estoril, which will take place in six weeks time.
Photos courtesy of GT Open