The past 4 days have been kind to the cars, souls and body -- if one forgets the hard work and workload drivers and teams had to accomplish under hot and humid weather conditions. Indeed it was refreshing to see how all the teams helped each other when needed and the atmosphere in the pits was so up beat and crackling full of anticipation towards the new 2011 season.
Jimmy Antunes, Atlantic Racing Team's first confirmed driver for 2011 was in Sepang for the second time to enjoy a last test with Michelin tires.
In Jimmy's own words:" I had a good test; learned the track; had a couple off excursions while trying a lot of different things on the car. The test was shorter than we had planned, the team did a good job Unfortunately we had not the new tires to test and to learn from them."
"The internal announcement that a new tire is being part of the new series did cut our test dates short; we selected not to go to Zhuhai after all as we see any further testing on the old tires as a waste of valuable track time and money until we are in possession of the new tires. We now plan to use all remaining Sepang test days for gathering data from the tires, new set ups and also give Jimmy more time in the car with these new tires" says Lucas Strackerjan, Atlantic's race engineer.
"Jimmy did an excellent job while testing; we simulated many situations and set ups; uncommon under race conditions so that Jimmy gets more experience and a "feel" for the car under difficult conditions. As with the previous test days Jimmy Antunes was, in terms of lap times right in the first Third of the driver pack, so we feel very comfortable in the sense that we don't have to concentrate on this part of the racing equation, i.e. better times for the sake of appearances to the growing list of people watching Jimmy Antunes. Our second driver selection process has been kind of put on hold due to the anticipated announcement of the new series; our involvement in Europe's LO-Lista Series and now the requests from other drivers to test and possibly run with Jimmy in 2011. After the March test we will announce our decision and that of our team sponsor -- Branson Lifestyle."
It was good to see the CEO of MAL/ AFOS, Mr. David Sonnenscher, coming around the pits and talking to teams and drivers, explaining and answering question of importance; giving the teams a not only much needed level of comfort to be in this series but also rendering further detailed information about the series.
The final announcement of the Series, the new name, the title sponsor, final race calendar, regulations and staff introductions will be given to the public this weekend, quoting Mr. Sonnenscher.
(The Series was formerly announced on Friday as ‘JK Racing Asia Series’ with JK Tyres as the title sponsor)