The 3.2-mile circuit, located at Alcañiz in Northern Spain, was never originally planned to be a part of the Le Mans Cup season, but organisers had to secure an additional fixture to replace the lost second round at Imola, which was cancelled following delays to building works in the paddock.
That means many of the teams and drivers will likely be heading to a relatively unknown circuit, so the grid could be jumbled from the usual order. Recent Le Mans Cup rounds haven’t been kind to Jones and Malvern, with oppressive Balance of Performance settings robbing the new Porsche 992 GT3 R of crucial straight-line speed.
After scoring a superb second place in the season opener in Barcelona, the Team Parker Racing-run machine struggled against its power deficit at both Le Mans and Circuit Paul Ricard, with Jones and Malvern fighting against the odds to keep up their record of scoring points in every race so far this year.
In preparation for this event, the team took part in back-to-back European tests at both Portimão in Portugal and Aragon to both learn the circuits and develop the setup for the new Porsche, focusing on both tyre wear and car balance across qualifying and race simulations.
The pair currently run fifth in the drivers’ championship, still well in sight of the top three, and the trip to the unfamiliar Aragon circuit could be just the reset the duo need to turn the tables.
Nick Jones says: “I’m looking forward to Aragon… even though we were never meant to be going there originally, I was really impressed with the place when we tested there recently. It’s a superb facility. The track is great fun to drive, very challenging with a lot of elevation change and some tight corners so there are lots of overtaking opportunities. I think we managed to dial the car in pretty well during the two-day test, so we’ll be going in with our eyes on some more points. Recent rounds have been tough for us being the sole new 992-gen Porsche on the grid, and we’re learning as we go. The BoP hasn’t helped either. It’s been a battle, but we’ve always been there scoring points and, as this circuit is a bit of an unknown to many, staying out of trouble could be key for this round. We feel prepared and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”
Scott Malvern says: “Any change to the calendar is a challenge, especially when it’s a new circuit for us, but actually the summer break has given us a nice window for some testing work, so we’re perhaps better prepared for Aragon than we have been for either of the recent two rounds. We enjoyed a really good two-day test there, working through both qualifying and race simulations and trying to better understand the tyre degradation of the new 992 Porsche. It’s a new car and we’re still learning it, so track time is really valuable. Aragon itself is a tough track with a lot of big stops, and obviously the heat will make it a very physical challenge. It’s no secret that BoP hasn’t been kind to us recently, so all we can do is maximise our own performance across the weekend and hopefully a good result can come our way.”
Action for the fourth Michelin Le Mans Cup round at Motorland Aragon gets underway with two free practice sessions on Thursday, August 24 ahead of qualifying on Friday morning and the 110-minute race scheduled for 17:40 CEST Friday afternoon. Qualifying and the race will be live streamed via the Michelin Le Mans Cup YouTube channel.