Thunderhead Carlin Racing will take to the track for the first weekend of the 2019 European Le Mans Series this weekend as the season kicks off at the Paul Ricard Circuit, France. Having already launched the team’s new livery to much admiration ahead of a two day test earlier in the week, drivers Jack Manchester, Ben Barnicoat and Olivier Pla (substituting for Harry Tincknell) will pilot the team’s Dallara P217 this weekend as free practice commences on Friday.
Sunday afternoon saw the Thunderhead Carlin Racing Dallara P217 break cover for the very first time showcasing an incredible Sean Bull Design livery of asymmetric lines adorning the car in chrome, white and blue. The exciting livery, brought to life and displayed for the first time this week, set the tone for the team’s inaugural season in the highly competitive championship.
The Thunderhead Carlin Racing car hit the track on Monday for its first laps in the official prologue event at the Paul Ricard circuit. After two days of combined running, the Thunderhead Carlin Racing Dallara P217 had completed 220 laps over the course of five sessions, including the team’s first experience of a night session. All three Thunderhead Carlin Racing drivers took their turn behind the wheel as they prepared for the opening round of the season and the team’s debut in the championship.
Manchester said, “We learned a lot at Paul Ricard this week; how the tyres behave, the characteristics of our car, managing traffic, all the time trying to get as many laps under our belts as possible. Considering we haven’t had the car very long, what the team has achieved in such a short space of time is really impressive. We know this weekend’s race will be tough, but the atmosphere in the team is great and there is still a lot more to come from the car. With a strong, clean run we’ll see where we end up after 4 hours!”
Barnicoat said of the upcoming weekend, “The official test went well. It was great to get on track with our amazing livery and get our first feeling of the car heading into the race weekend. We have areas to improve on before the race, but this is a steep learning curve for all of us here. I have no doubt we will all do our best and have a solid start to the season.”
First out on track Pla said of the test. “For this first test we’ve been concentrating on improving balance of the car and we have made gains but as ever there is always more that we can work on as a brand new team entering our first weekend. The entire team is working hard to prepare for the weekend ahead.”
Track action will get back underway on Friday with a 90-minute Free Practice taking place at 11:05 before a second practice and qualifying on Saturday and finally the 4 Hours of Le Castellet race on Sunday afternoon.