Jenson Button got safety assurances before first SMP LMP1 test

Former Formula 1 driver and 2009 world champion Jenson Button has revealed he received assurances from SMP Racing about the safety of its LMP1 car before testing it at Magny-Cours

Jenson Button got safety assurances before first SMP LMP1 test

Button's first run in the BR Engineering BR1-AER came at the former French Grand Prix venue the week after the World Endurance Championship season opener at Spa earlier this month, where Matevos Isaakyan had a major airborne crash.

Video footage of the incident showed Isaakyan's #17 BR1 lifting off the ground following another car over the top of Raidillon, flipping end-over-end multiple times before hitting the barriers at the far side of the track.

Button, who will make his WEC debut in the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours sharing SMP's #11 car with Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov, said a pre-test meeting reassured him about the car's safety.

He added that changes will be made to the car for Le Mans, although he tested the machine in the exact same specification in which it raced at Spa.

"I don't think any experienced driver would get in the car if he wasn't happy with its safety," Button told Autosport.

"I had a good meeting with the team to discuss what happened and what the chances are of it happening again.

"I believe in the team, and I trust in the team's comments and also in Dallara's.

"They've changed the car for Le Mans, which is great.

"I don't think you have the same situation at Le Mans as you have at Eau Rouge, but still there are some brows, some hills, but they've changed the car to help that.

"When I drove in Magny-Cours, you're driving on your own, you never going to have the issues of the car taking off [as] you're not following a car [and] you don't have the brow of the hill, so I was not worried.

"I am not worried going into Le Mans as well, I completely trust in the work they've done in the wind tunnel and the safety precautions that they've taken."

Button said the BR1's grip in high-speed corners surprised him, describing it as the "opposite" to what he expected.

"The biggest shock was the grip in high speed corners," added Button.

"I drive in Super GT, which has a lot of downforce and a lot of mechanical grip, because you have the tyre war there.

"I expected the LMP1 to be quicker in a straight line, but slow in high-speed corners, but it was the opposite.

"Straight line [speed] was very similar to Super GT, but the high-speed corners surprised me, because there was so much grip there.

"That was the Le Mans [aerodynamic] package that we were running around Magny-Cours, so it shouldn't be a lot of grip, but the car felt great.

"A few tweaks are needed, but not high-speed; it is more braking and traction. But I think that we can solve those issues very quickly at Le Mans."

shares
comments
Promoted - Destination Circuit: Official supplier of your Le Mans solutions
Previous article

Promoted - Destination Circuit: Official supplier of your Le Mans solutions

Next article

2009 F1 champion Button says he owes WEC LMP1 drive to Rossiter

2009 F1 champion Button says he owes WEC LMP1 drive to Rossiter
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

WEC
Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory Plus

The wingless wonder Peugeot hopes will restore it to Le Mans glory

Peugeot went radical with the initial plan for its Le Mans Hypercar project, and then stuck to its guns. Here’s how things are shaping up a few weeks before the debut of the 9X8 in next month's Monza World Endurance Championship round

WEC
Jun 1, 2022
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Plus

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022