German experiences CT-05 for first time at Spa-Francorchamps
Saturday 23 August 2014 11:13, UK
Andre Lotterer says he was surprised he can push his Audi LMP1 car harder through a corner than the Caterham CT-05.
The 32-year-old is a triple-Le Mans winner with the German marque and a former World Endurance Champion, but this weekend’s Belgian GP will be his F1 debut.
It should be noted that the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Lotterer competes in is the car to beat in the WEC, whilst the Caterham is arguably the slowest car in F1, which perhaps makes comparision difficult given they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
“There is a lot more power – it would be nice to have that much power in an LMP1 car – but then in the corners it is the opposite,” Lotter told Sky Sports F1.
“I think our Michelin tyres are a bit better, we can push them much harder and do over 700km on one set of tyres and more downforce as well so you can push an LMP1 car a bit more in the corners. So that was the surprising thing, but we did come a bit low on downforce here so I expect the car to become better. But you do have to restrict yourself and apply yourself a lot.”
Lotterer is missing the Motegi round of the Japanese Super Formula series in which is currently second in the Drivers’ Championship to race at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, but he says the opportunity was too good to turn down.
“Three weeks ago I got a phone call from the team and then I had a bit of a dilemma,” he added. “Doing a Formula 1 race is something I’ve always wanted to do and the opportunity came. I don’t feel rested, but our LMP1 cars are quite fast and also I race in Japan in single-seaters so I don’t feel out of shape.
“For sure it is a big challenge to come in like this and get up to speed and learn everything, but I don’t have much to lose, it is a good opportunity and my career doesn’t depend on this race so I’m pretty relaxed."
Whilst his career may not depend on his performances at Spa-Francorchamps, Lotterer has impressed onlookers with his pace relative to Marcus Ericsson.
Despite having no testing, the German was immediately on the pace and quicker than the Swede in Practice One, before finishing the day’s second session just 0.043 shy of the man who has been driving the car all season.