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Le Mans Test Day: Saturday Paddock Notes

DSC's first set of notes from Le Mans in 2018

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Alonso raring to go

With his Le Mans debut fast approaching, Fernando Alonso, Toyota told DSC that he’s been extremely eager to get going, and has spent much of today “out back with a steering wheel and pedals, beating the over drivers on the PlayStation in the back of the garage”.

Roussel happy to be back in the saddle

DSC caught up with Leo Roussel, who is back with the CEFC TRSM Racing team this weekend after sitting out the team’s ill-fated run at Spa-Francorchamps.

“It’s so good to be here, for the greatest race of them all,” the reigning ELMS drivers Champion told DSC. “Spa is in the past, now we’re happy to be here, and looking forward to getting stuck in.

“For me, it’s all about extra mileage. Since my run at the prologue, I did a private test with the team, and managed to get about 500kms in, which was great. But obviously I need more, we all do. So tomorrow we’ll be looking to get laps in and see where we are.

“It’s good to have Mike with us in the car now, he’s so experienced, he’s done so much with Ginetta, so he’s the perfect guy to have in your time. With him, and Charlie, who is a former LMP3 champion let’s not forget, and has done so much development work on the car, we have a great team.”

Walliser talks retro liveries

Porsche’s retro liveries for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours have been much of the talk of the paddock thus far ahead of the test. Speaking to DSC, head of Porsche GT Frank-Steffen Walliser said he’s really impressed with how the liveries came out.

“The cars look really nice, so does the garage, which has so much detail in it,” he told DSC. “We felt we had to do something for the 70th Anniversary of Porsche, something special, more than just running a sticker on the car. So our marketing department came up with some ideas, and putting iconic colours on our WEC cars was the one we chose. It was an easy decision!

“And I must say, they really suit the 911 RSR.”

Updated liveries

In addition to the spectacularly-livered GTE Pro Porsches, there are a few more colour scheme changes since DSC’s first look down the paddock earlier in the week.

Panis Barthez has a slightly altered look for its Ligier JS P217

As does the Graff’s #39 ORECA 07, featuring G-Drive colours.

The Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligiers meanwhile, are still in the process of having their liveries applied.

LMP2 reserves

There are at least three reserve drivers now listed in LMP2 – Wayne Boyd at United Autosports, Alexandre Imperatori at G-Drive (TDS) and Anders Fjordbach for the #35 SMP Racing squad.

To be nominated as an approved reserve the driver must have completed at least one race in ELMS, WEC and/ or Asian LMS and must complete 10 laps at the Test Day in the car they are a reserve for.

DSC understands that Imperatori, a Gold-ranked driver, could substitute even for Silver-ranked Andrea Pizzitola if the Frenchman became indisposed, the dispensation for the #26 car that caused so much controversy at the start of the year reportedly still in place.