Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button says his first experience of Le Mans was “another world” from what he is used to, but ended the official test day happy with his confidence levels.
Button completed 20 laps around the Circuit de la Sarthe in the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER he shares with fellow ex-F1 racer Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.
“I was reasonably happy, but in the morning I found it another world – driving around here in a car I don’t really know,” Button said.
“I found it quite disconcerting. But we made some good changes over lunch, and I was much happier with the car in the afternoon.
“[I had] a lot more confidence. High speed, good confidence, and the braking was much better too.
“A lot of the corners here are very tight and they come up on you very quickly, which is very different from what I’m used to.
“I definitely got to grips with it in the afternoon, much happier. But you always want more running, and new tyres.
“Hopefully we get some good laps in the Wednesday tests.”
Petrov ended the day fifth quickest with a lap of 3m21.603s, but the team’s on-track running was limited by two issues, one in the morning and another just after lunch.
Button’s best time was a 3m24.002s, set on his penultimate lap of the day.
“We lost a lot time because of a sensor issue this morning, so we lost a couple of hours just in the garage, it was a shame,” he explained.
“Then we had another small issue after lunch, so our track on time was quite limited. I only ran one set of tyres, not a new set.
“I think I did 20 laps, but I learnt a lot. This place is all about building confidence and gaining time.
“You can go out and be as quick as you can, but there’s a big chance you’ll go off.
“You’ve really got to respect this circuit. It’s tough.
“I feel very confident now at the end of the day, but I’d rather have had another 50 laps.”