The two IDEC SPORT LMP2 cars covered more than 1100 miles during the four days of pre-season trials with some very encouraging performances as we approach the start of the season.
“If the season goes as well as these trials, it would be fantastic!” That is how Frédéric Ducastel, team principal withIDEC SPORT, summed up the four days of private trials carried out in Barcelona and in Le Castellet. “The weather was ideal and we didn’t encounter any major technical problems. Everything went well. That doesn’t happen often, but apart from a few minor details, which we have now overcome, the trials went really well. The cars didn’t have any problems and the drivers drove intelligently without making any mistakes.”
The three drivers in each team took it in turns during the four days of the trials and each car clocked up more than 1100 miles while remaining reliable. “We were able to drive as we intended, even if the Ligier was running in still in Barcelona. The drivers know that circuit but have never driven there before in LMP2. They soon found their feet, which meant we were able to run through various adjustments,” explained Frédéric Ducastel, who was also pleased with the driving in Le Castellet: “We were all alone for our session. Usually we drive around with other LMP2s or LMP3 and even GT3s, but this time there was just us. We were able to drive hard in race mode. We pushed the car all the way. It puts a strain on the mechanics and the tyres. So we were able to go a long way in the tests and get ready for the new season.”
After driving in GT3 a few weeks ago, Paul Lafargue took the wheel each day and was able to get used to the Oreca. His co-driver Memo Rojas also took part in these trial days as did the rookie, Stéphane Adler, who took the wheel of an LMP2 for his first laps of a race course. “Stéphane Adler drove well. The goal was to find his feet. He started off calmly and then built up from there.” While Patrice Lafargue, Erik Maris and Paul-Loup Chatin were unable to take part in all the tests, they took each mile seriously. All of the drivers were able to prepare for the season and get used to the high performance LMP2 prototypes.
Racing 1100 miles on a race track is quite something. The cars and all the parts were put under pressure, including the tyres. “We tried out various types of Michelin tyre and they all perform well. Over the four days we went through more than twenty sets of tyres. That allowed us to train for the pit-stops, even if part of the team was in Sebring (for the WEC). We’ll really test things when in race mode for the prologue,” explained Fred Ducastel before concluding: “The most important thing is that the cars showed that they were reliable. But there was one other thing that was important. The Ligier proved herself to be competitive against the Oreca.”
The prologue for the 2019 European Le Mans Series will take place on the Paul-Ricard circuit on 8th and 9th April. More than seventeen hours of driving is scheduled divided into five sessions lasting between 120 and 240 minutes.