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01.07.2011

A new circuit for Steve Keating and John Hartshorne...

The driver line up this weekend at Imola is the same as the previous rounds: John Hartshorne, well known Le Mans Series driver having participated for many years in the championship, is once again joined by Steve Keating- sportscar enthusiast and owner of one of the two famous factory Marcos LM500s. The third driver is rapid and talented Phil Keen, who earned the team pole position last time in the Le Mans Series round at Spa francorchamps.

The team's gentlemen drivers, John and Steve, having yet never raced at this historic circuit, took the opportunity to spend some time in the simulator a few weeks ago, in the aim to familiarise themselves with the twists and turns of the Italian autodromo. The pair travelled to Silverstone where they were greeted by an oversized arcade game. A prototype chassis, sat on electric springs to give a realistic feel to the experience, was surrounded by three giant screens. Every bump on the surface was felt, and the driver's visions were completely absorbed by the virtual circuit. John commented: "At one point, I was finding myself looking in the mirrors, to make sure there were no cars behind me! It was amazing how suddenly everything seemed real."

Steve mentioned how different the track appeared, once in the driver's seat: "The simulator was incredibly realistic, I had no idea that the circuit was so up and down, similar to a rollacoaster! The only thing that wasn't represented however, was G-force, so it will be interesting to discover this on Friday."

Following several hours of practice, many tours had been completed and it was clear that the practice session had been a success. Steve and John felt more confident, now aware of the different driving lines, breaking points and having finally visualised the circuit from the inside of a car. Both drivers quoted that the experience was well worth doing, from a serious and a more diverting point of view.

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