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MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX
Sepang International Circuit. 26 March 2019
March 07, 2019

 

After the rain hit session back in China, the WTF1 GPVWC Superleague circus headed to the Circuito de Jerez for the third pre-season test of 2019 season with some welcoming blue skies greeting the teams.

As mentioned in the last article, the Circuito de Jerez is a very different track to the two we have been to so far, primarily in the fact that this is a very high downforce circuit, meaning the teams have a fantastic chance to check the balance and aero of their cars are working well around the tight and twisty turns.

This week, in what may come as a surprise, MadCape finally showed the rest of the grid that they mean business by not only fielding a full line up, but going fastest with Luke Maguire setting a searing pace. His table topping time of 1.12.162 was a massive 0.601s ahead of the rest of the field which may mean he was on a 'quali-style' simulation run, but it is certainly not a time to be sniffed at.

The test this week also saw a landmark for the first time this pre-season, in that the entire grid managed to get 100% R&D point gain for the session, meaning the teams are finally getting their heads down and trying to gain every last point possible in their bid to create the best challenger for the season. A total of three teams managed to do the test in the perfect fashion (31 laps per driver), who were Hawkeye Racing, Measuric Racing and Scuderia Basilea which was a first for both Hawkeye and Measuric.

We can also go back to delving a little closer into the average team times for the session and some closer inspection of times which do show some signs of who is going to be competitive come Melbourne in two weeks time. For this test, the team with the best average time was MadCape (1.13.553) which also underlines their intent to show the grid they have what it takes to be with the big boys. There were 12 best times set on the US tyre (with the top 9 being included in that), one best time being set on the SS, 11 best times set on the Soft, 14 being set on the Medium tyre and finally 6 on the Hard compound tyre, meaning there was a big variance on what tyres were being used throughout the session.

A few things I would like to pick up on are some time comparisons between drivers. One I immediately see is a comparison between Fournier and Brljak (Epic and Edge respectively). They both set very similar times and did so very late on into the stint and on the same tyres. Both drivers did their stints in one hit on the softs so a great comparison can be made. Now, both drivers are very high calibre (both were race winners last season in the league) but there is one glaring difference in their stats for their best laps. Brljak had much more fuel on board for his fastest lap which means, fuel corrected, he could very well be much further ahead. Is this a sign of things to come for the highly rated Edge man?

Another thing I have noticed is Alex Cooper, who has religiously stuck to the Hard compound tyre in both dry sessions we have had so far. Alex, who has won several championships of his own during his time at GPVWC, is no slouch and having come off a couple of iffy seasons where his true potential hasn't been shown, his pace on the Hard tyres isn't exactly slow. Ok, he may have ended up 2.663s off the top of the time sheets, but when you think about it, that was compared to a flying US lap done by Maguire. Alex set his fastest lap on the final lap of his stint (31) and on those Hard compound tyres. In my opinion, that is arguably the best lap of the test. Could we see a return to the top for Mr Cooper this season?

For the final pre-season test, we head to Abu Dhabi for the Yas Marina Circuit, very much a love/hate circuit for the drivers. The track is a good mix of long straights and low speed corners so will be a good opportunity to test the final few things before we head on Down Under for the season to properly begin. Catch up with next weeks article where we will have the final results, who did the best job of pre season and an average of everyones best laps so we can see who was the fastest driver during pre-season!

For a full snapshot of the Jerez test results, please follow the link below:

http://en.gpvwc.com/competitions/results/?comp_id=1&target=1007&sess=T



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