Priaulx targets more testing

Andy Priaulx is hoping that a solid performance during his maiden Formula 1 test for the BMW Williams team at Valencia on Thursday, as a reward by BMW for winning the FIA European Touring Car Championship in 2004, will lead to more miles behind the wheel of a contemporary grand prix car in the future

Priaulx targets more testing

Priaulx, who ended the test with a best time of 1m12.790s having completed 64 laps of the Spanish track, was just over three seconds slower than regular Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia. The Guernseyman is reported to have impressed the team with his composed approach and consistent lap times, despite running into several technical problems during the day that necessitated a gearbox and engine change.

"I've had a fairly good day," Priaulx told autosport.com. "I think the team is happy. I'd say my times came down really quickly, but then we didn't get time to do a new tyre run. We stopped several times and then I think David Coulthard stopped in the last minutes of the session when I was about to set a lap on fresh tyres."

"I think we did quite well to get 64 laps in. In the morning the first two runs were really cold and the track temperature was minus two. It was really cold, and we couldn't really do anything because it was difficult to get the tyres up to temperature."

"The team mentioned to me that they were very happy and all the mechanics were really buzzing," he added. "[Williams technical director] Sam Michael did mention that he would bear me in mind for stuff so... They have used drivers like that in the past and I think I could dovetail it quite nicely into my world touring car programme. It all depends on whether they are in that frame of mind I suppose. It will be down to them really, but I desperately want to get back in an F1 car!"

Priaulx admitted that he was disappointed not to have gone faster, despite not having previous knowledge of a contemporary F1 car, and not having had the chance to go for a low fuel run with fresh tyres.

"I must admit I think I could have done the same time as Jenson Button managed today had I had a run on new tyres," he said. "But you never know, Button might have been pounding round with a high fuel load on old tyres. But I think I could have achieved a mid-1m11s lap with new tyres and I think I would have been quite happy with that."

Sam Michael, who is overseeing the build programme on the two new FW27s prior to the team launch at Valencia next Monday, said: "Andy drove one of our FW26s. It was his first time in an F1 car and he handled himself well."

BMW Motorsport boss Mario Theissen, who was instrumental in making the test place, was also impressed. "The performance of Priaulx was pleasing," he said. "He drove 64 consistent laps and, had it not been for technical problems, he undoubtably would have improved his lap times."

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