RML AD Group completed a very successful first test of the team’s Lola HPD at Silverstone last week, braving blizzards and treacherous conditions on day one, but being rewarded by a drying track, occasional sunshine and some very encouraging running throughout the second day. It was the first time that the installation of the Honda Performance Development HPD LM-V8 has been tested in the Lola coupé chassis, and the initial reaction from drivers, mechanics, and data engineers alike has been universally favourable. “Considering the weather conditions, this has been an excellent shakedown and test,” said Phil Barker, Team Manager at RML. “I couldn’t have asked for a better start to our 2010 season. We’ve had very few of the usual new-build teething problems, and anything that has arisen has been very minor. That alone is enormously satisfying, and is largely attributable to the quality of the preparation, which is a credit to all the guys in the workshop and the excellent interaction we’ve had from HPD.”

Brazilian Thomas Erdos carried out all the first day’s “winter” testing, tackling gathering snowdrifts and icy puddles, but emerging with a broad grin across his face. Given first stint on Wednesday, he was then able to make the most of the much improved conditions. “My first impressions are extremely favourable,” he said. “Both the engine and the gearbox work so smoothly, and the gear changes are virtually seamless. The overall driveability is impressive as a result. I’m really very impressed, and I just love that V8 sound!”

“The car instantly inspires confidence,” suggested Mike Newton, CEO of AD Group and co-driver of the Lola HPD. “The power delivery is so smooth, and the gearbox allows you to shift up or down at almost any time. It’s very accommodating. We also appear to have picked up much better chassis rigidity, which comes as an unexpected but very welcome bonus.”

Recently signed as the team’s third driver this season, and fresh from the Sebring tests in America, Andy Wallace was on hand to witness the Lola HPD’s first test. “The car looks brilliant, and it sounds fantastic,” he grinned. “I just can’t wait to drive it at Paul Ricard.” Although he tested the cockpit for size Andy has yet to carry out a full seat-fitting for the Lola coupé, so was unable to drive at Silverstone.

All pictures All pictures Marcus Potts/CMC.