SUNDAY 24 APRIL 2011
SIMONSEN SETS FASTEST GTE TIME EVER AT CIRCUIT DE LA SARTHE

Allan Simonsen has set a new benchmark by topping the timesheets at the recent LM24 test day, with a time of 3m 59.966 secs driving the new Hankook Farnbacher Ferrari 458 Italia GTE.

Until now, no one has ever bettered the 4 minute barrier. Simonsen held off a similar Ferrari driven by ex-F1 star Giancarlo Fisichella to take the honours in the newly created GTE class.

For 2011, the ACO has revamped what used to be GT2 into a dual class called GTE, that itself split into GTE-Pro and GTE-Am(ateur).

Simonsen was naturally in the Pro division at the now re-instated test day, which had been on hold for the last two years, as a result of the GFC fallout.

Until now, the sportscar rubber wars were predominantly the domain of Michelin and Dunlop, yet Korean manufacturer Hankook has worked tirelessly over the European winter to provide a tyre than now performs beautifully in hot, dry conditions.

Another interesting fact is that Simonsen now has the honour of being classed as the worlds' fastest ever driver of a road-going Ferrari derivative.

It was a very busy weekend indeed for the Danish born Monte Carlo resident, with dual championship duties in two countries.

On Saturday he was at Oulton Park, qualifying for the first race of the British GT Championship season with their updated Ferrari 430 Scuderia 430 GT3, alongside his regular co-driver Hector Lester.

An late afternoon flight to France put him in sync with the Le Mans test day crowd, where he had to go through another apparel scruitineering.

Once the two four hour practice sessions were complete, it was back to the UK for the second BGT race, being held on the Monday, since it was Bank Holiday weekend. But he hitched a ride with a private jet (see other story)


Allan achieved fastest ever time for a road-derivative Ferrari @ LM writing himself into sportscar history

First time a 458 Italia has appeared at LM


Quicker than several LMP2 and FLM cars

With Dominik Farnbacher committed to the first round of the ADAC GT Masters Championship at Oschersleben, aboard the ESET Ferrari 458 GT3, alternative driver duties fell to American Leh Keen, who had driven the car to 2nd place at both 24 Hour events at Le Mans and Nürburgring in 2010. Leh is no slouch, been 2009 Grand-Am GT champ. Nice guy too!

So, if you think that's a busy weekend just look at this:

Al's 2011 calendar is so packed, he is competing in the Le Mans Series, British GT, German VLN Series, alongside selected Australian GT and Historic Masters event.

He'll also join New Zealander Greg Murphy in the Pepsi Max V8 Supercar for this years enduro rounds, Phillip Island and Bathurst in September and October.