- First finish on the podium for Grenier and Siedler (#14) after R1
- Collision with Mercedes leads to early retirement for #163 in R1
- Strong grid – less than two tenths between P10 and P1 in the qualifying
Magny-Cours (France), September 13th 2020
Private Test Session – Thursday
To the drivers of Emil Frey Racing, the two-hour private test session taking place on Thurdsay from 20:15 to 22:15 presented the perfect opportunity to prepare for the first race on Saturday night. It was obvious from the get-go that drivers Costa (#163) and Siedler (#14) had been familiar with the circuit from past races. For their colleages Altoè (#163) and Grenier (#14), however, Magny-Cours was a first. The dark lighting conditions weren’t ideal for a first «getting to know you», but they nevertheless offered a good base for the upcoming weekend. An hour after the private testing sessions started, it had to be interrupted due to a Bentley that caught fire. The only two Lamborghinis participating ended their late-night test session on P9 with #14 and P4 with #163.
Free Practice / Pre-Qualifying – Friday
Mikael Grenier started out strong with #14. Unfortunately, only two minutes into the free practice, the car of a competitor skidded off-road and landed on the gravel, which led to the training being halted momentarily. Norbert Siedler was handed over the Lamborghini and immediately felt at ease, with his lap times being incredibly strong. Giacomo Altoè as well gained more confidence with each lap before handing the Lamborghini over to Costa, who then finished at P6. Meanwhile, #14 raced to P12. At the Pre-Qualifying later that night, it was Altoè and Grenier who went first for their respective teams. The setup of both cars were continuously optimized according to the demands of the circuit and #14 finished on P9 while #163 finished strong as well on P8.
Qualifying & Race – Saturday
Although Italian Giacomo Altoè was able to race to P3 right at the beginning of the qualifying, he lost valuable time only two minutes before the finish line because of slightly driving off the track, giving him an end position of P11 after qualy. Meanwhile, Mikael Grenier with #14 solidified his advantage with each lap and finished strong on P2. Luck continued to be elusive for Altoè at the race later that night. Only a few minutes after the start of the first race, a Mercedes and his Lamborghini #163 touched. The resulting damage led to an early end of the race, which left the whole #163 crew disappointed. Unfazed, Mikael Grenier was able to continuously improve his pace before turning the car over to Norbert Siedler at a solid second place. Siedler managed to defend P2 until the very end, helping the whole crew #14 achieve their first podium, at 2nd place.
Qualifying & Race – Sunday
Albert Costa and Norbert Siedler were pumped and ready to take on the second qualifying of the race weekend. The qualifying was kicked off with a very strong start by Costa, with him reaching P1 after only 10 minutes. Siedler as well proved to be strong competition and raced to P3. One minute before the finish, Costa had to reduce speed in the midst of his fastest lap due to yellow flag. He concluded the qualifying on P5 with his #163. Siedler with #14 lost two valuable tenths during his fastest lap due to being blocked by a competitor, giving him a starting position of P10 for the second race. Fun fact: First place and 10th place were only two tenths apart.
A powerful amount of adrenalin gathered at the circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. At 13:45 sharp, 23 cars kicked into gear and immediately caused a turbulent start. 35 minutes into the race, a rather unfortunate pitstop by crew #163 caused for valuable time to be lost. Reason for this time loss was a crash with vehicle #66, which led to the crew experiencing difficulties in putting on the tire during pitstop. In the meantime, Norbert Siedler fought his way all the way up to P5 in his #14, before it was time for a pitstop and time to change drivers, to Mikael Grenier.
25 minutes before the end of the race, #163 was given a stop-and-go penalty because of the aforementioned crash and found itself at P12. Meanwhile, Canadian Mikael Grenier was clocking in increasingly fast lap times. With only 10 minutes left to go, the positions for Emil Frey Racing were P12 for #163 and P8 for #14. In the last 2 heated minutes, Grenier once again gave it his very best. He gained one position and reached P7. For the second race day, Emil Frey Racing finished on P7 with #14 and P12 with #163.
Lorenz Frey-Hilti, Team Principal
How tight the series is, was once again spectacularly proven at this race weekend. Every hundredth of a second matters, especially in qualifying. I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am extremely elated over reaching 2nd with #14 at the night race. Grenier and Siedler did a great job. It’s so rewarding to be on the podium with Lamborghini. On the other hand, the crash between the Mercedes and our #163 was very unfortunate. Alas, we have to accept it. As fort he second race, I’m happy with the performance of both Lamborghinis. Of course, the stop-and-go penalty was rather regrettable because we had great chances of placing well. Still, I’m looking back at a very fruitful race weekend and am already looking forward to the next one in Zandvoort.
Jürg Flach, Technical Director
We were quite optimistic about Magny-Cours. We improved steadily in the sessions and delivered a solid performance in the qualifying. It was our goal to get on the podium – something we reached with #14 thanks to great results in the qualy. It’s a pity that we fought hard but still weren’t able to meet expectations with #163, owing to a small crash in the first race; a penalty; and a pitstop which took too long after a collision in the second race.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #163
Albert Costa Balboa (ESP)
After a strong qualifying I was confident and really motivated to start the race. But after one lap I couldn’t find the confidence in the car like I was able to in qualy. I lost one position after the safety car and afterwords, while fighthing against a competitor, I lost another position when we touched each other. I thought he was going straight in the chicane but he didn’t. That’s when we touched each other and he went straight to the wall. After the crash my car was not performing the same way anymore. I want to apologize to the whole team as well as Lamborghini Squadra Corse for my mistake. Only two weeks left until the next race. We need to stay focused as we have a strong team as well as a strong car.
Giacomo Altoè (ITA)
This was a tough weekend for us. We were given great opportunities but weren’t able to make the most out of them. In the first race we just got very unlucky with the crash – and we didn’t even finish one lap! And then the stop-and-go penalty in the second race! We now have to take a step back and look at all the things that went wrong this weekend in order to return stronger to the next race in Zandvoort and to maximize our potential.
Driver statements Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO #14
Norbert Siedler (AUT)
Of course, I am super happy for the entire team who did an amazing job throughout the whole weekend. The Lamborghini’s setup was great from the start, so that we only had to do minor adjustments. In the end, we were rewarded with our first podium of the season, which is great for the whole team. Thank you once again. In today’s race we made it to P7. We’re happy about this, but I think we could have fought further up front in the qualifying. Nevertheless, we gained points and our focus now is in on the next race in Zandvoort.
Mikaël Grenier (CAN)
I am very happy about the weekend. We started very strong from Thursday on and improved in every session. The engineers are doing a great job and step by step we are getting stronger. Norbert was also mega this weekend. It’s a shame that he got blocked in his qualy as he was on a pole position lap and the race would have been different. In any case, a front row start and our first podium yesterday is still very positive.