Betting on stability – the same pilots (Miguel Pais do Amaral and Olivier Pla), the same brand (Zytek), the same brand tires (Dunlop) and the same technicians – Quifel ASM Team will race in 2011 in the queen class (LMP1) of Le Mans Series in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a natural promotion for an ambitious team that took first in the LMP2 class in 2009.
“It didn’t make much sense to continue competing in the LMP2 class, both for economic reasons and those regarding the sport”, said António Simões, the Director of the Quifel ASM Team. The team presented the organizational structure and the competitive program for the season of 2011 at its headquarters in Lisbon this afternoon.
“It is financially more productive to modify the car to adhere to the new regulations of the LMP1 class, than to those of LMP2 class, mainly because we have already taken first in this class. We’d like to take the opportunity to pursue a more ambitious project”, adds António Simões, justifying this action of moving Zytek to the main class this year, in conjunction with major changes in regulations for prototypes.
Having clinched its invitation to participate in the next event of the 24 hours of Le Mans in June, the Portuguese team bets on the stability of its structure and in the improvement of organizational processes and of technological sophistication.
Maintaining a connection to Zytek, with which it has been closely working to prepare the car for the LMP1 class, the Quifel ASM Team stands by its pair of pilots, the French Olivier Pla and Miguel Pais do Amaral, the “gentleman driver.” The team continues to enjoy the priviledge of being Dunlop’s partner in technical development and it cultivates the loyalty of its team of technicians and engineers that have been doing a great job.
“We would like to get to the last race of the championship that is to be held in September, in the Autodrome of Estoril, in a position of being able to discuss the title in the Le Mans Series, which would make the Portuguese public extremely happy”, continues Miguel Pais do Amaral, who strives to achieve its best classification in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After having carried out two sessions of tests with the Zytek modified for the LMP1 class – in October, in the Autodrome of Portimão, and in the beginning of February, in the Italian race track of Vallelunga – the Portuguese team is preparing for a last series in the official tests at the French circuit of Paul Ricard, where the Le Mans Series 2011 will take place in the first weekend of April.
“The results of the trainings have been great because we have been competing at the same level with the most prominent non-official teams of the main class, and our car has still a margin of progression”, stresses António Simões.
In fact, Zytek of Quifel ASM Team received a set of new equipment and mechanical parts that have allowed it to gain approximately one second per lap when compared to the previous version. The team’s engineers believe that the efficiency of the vehicle might be further developed with new solutions.
Some of the most important changes introduced to Zytek include an increase of 75 kg, an engine with 40 to 50 additional CV, new tires and bigger brakes. There is plenty of room, however, for improvements in several areas, such as suspension, aerodynamics, the gear box, differential and electronics.
“We bet on the reliability of the car, in the consistance of the pilots and in the competence of the technical team to rapidly develop and to be positioned for the fight for the first places among the non-official teams. Because the other teams, like Peugeot and Audi, when they will come to compete, they will naturally be on a higher level”, concluded António Simões.