Aided by Paul-Loup Chatin, the IDEC Sport trio had its first outing on the Le Mans 24-Hour track on Sunday 4th June. This first drive went well for the team, but there is a lot of work to do before the start on 17th June.
The goal of this test day was simple for IDEC Sport: they had to drive around the track without making any mistakes and get as much data as possible for the next sessions. The 2014 ELMS champion, Paul-Loup Chatin was present in the IDEC Sport team to help the engineers, mechanics and drivers make the most of his experience.
“Apart from being a great chap, Paul-Loup is a good driver. He really helped us and thanks to his feedback about the car, we saved a lot of precious time,” explained Patrice Lafargue. “In spite of a few problems, it was a good test day. We had a few problems with the quality of the car and tyres, but nothing serious.”
The Ligiers were rather quiet in the tough LMP2 category, as we have to go to fourteenth place (out of 25) to find a JS P217. IDEC Sport covered the 13.629 km of the legendary track in Le Mans in 3:35.968, just 7.822 seconds off the best time.
These few seconds did not prevent the rookie Paul Lafargue from making the most of his first drive. “It was a huge pleasure. On the first lap, you look at everything and you almost forget that you are on the 24-Hour track. One of the Porsches was very close and that immediately gets you focused. It took a few laps to find my feet. Le Mans is quite unique,” declared a very pleased Paul Lafargue, who went over 310km/h for the first time. “We’re going to try to keep cool, stay simple and make progress with each session.”
As for David Zollinger, he settled in after almost two months without driving the P2 #17. “It’s not easy, I drove here seven years ago and I had to start again from scratch this time. The goal was to do 10 laps calmly to work on what lies ahead. In the afternoon, I worked on the braking and taking the fast bends.”
Don’t miss the 2017 edition of the Le Mans 24-Hour race
There are still ten days to go before the start of the 85th edition of the Le Mans 24-Hour race, but the fans are there a week before the the green flag for the legendary technical checks in the Place de la République: the weighing ceremony. It is free and the sixty cars and their drivers enjoy having their photos taken. IDEC Sport will be before the judges on Sunday 11th June from 3.20 to 3.50 just before the two Porsche LMP1s.
Patrice Lafargue, Paul Lafargue and David Zollinger will then have a busy week ahead of them with the official photo on Tuesday 13th June, followed by the second gathering with the crowds for the 2017 edition of the Le Mans 24-Hour race at an autograph session from 5 to 6.30. They will be back driving again on Wednesday 14th June with four hours of free trials from 4 to 8 in the evening and two hours of qualifying trials from 10 to midnight. Two other qualifying sessions will take place on Thursday 15th from 7-9 in the evening and from 10 to midnight.
The magic of Le Mans also includes the drivers’ parade in the city on Friday 16th June. The 180 competitors will drive their historic cars through the town centre in front of thousands of spectators.
The IDEC Sport drivers will be able to take advantage of a 45-minute warm-up on Saturday morning to carry out their final adjustments and to ease into the race. The start itself will be flagged by the 2015 world endurance champion, Mark Webber.
IDEC Sport will be busy trying to offer you the insider’s view of this great adventure so log on to the Android app: IDEC SPORT, our Facebook page: IDEC SPORT Racing and Twitter: @IDECSportRacing and Instagram: idecsport_racing_officiel17