The amazing 24 Hours of Le Mans adventure of the Inter Europol Competition team finished by taking the chequered flag on Sunday 15 June. Maybe not in the way the team wanted, but cross the line the #34 LMP2 did. And what an adventure it has been.
It started in September 2018 when the team bought a Ligier P217 to take the next step up from their Ligier JS P3. With this purchase, the 24 Hours of Le Mans was always on the wish list. One way to get an entry to the 24 Hours was to participate in the Asian Le Mans Series and win. Which is exactly what we did in our LMP3. And that is how our adventure to the 24 Hours of Le Mans started at the end of February this year.
The pressure was on. With only three and a half months between the Asian Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours, the LMP2 crew worked incredible hard in the workshop to get to know and prepare the car. Test day were organised and in the meantime the team participated in first two races in the ELMS. The third race for the team with the LMP2 was this 87thedition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Through the incredible hard work of the whole team and the drivers, Kuba Smiechowski, Nigel Moore and James Winslow (and Léo Roussel), the goal was reached; to finish the race and take the chequered flag.
Kuba Smiechowski took the start. In the first six hour of race the car was trouble free. In the seventh hour, the team had to change the end plate twice as the tail lights wouldn’t work. In that same hour, the compressor problem started and a new one was put in. During the night, all went well and no problems occurred. Then with five hours to go, the #34 LMP2 suffered a flat tyre. That was the easiest of the problems. With three hours to go the team’s new compressor broke and was replaced with again a new one. Then more technical issues occurred which the team tried to solve before the end of the race. Just in time the team solved a couple of the problems and Winslow went out to take the chequered flag for the whole team.
James Winslow:“It was nice to cross the line and to take the chequered flag for the team. They all worked extremely hard. It is not an easy race specially if you come here for the first time. But the team showed its potential through hard work.”
Nigel Moore: “It was always going to be hard, especially for a team being here for the first time. But we stayed out of trouble and we finished. Yes, we had problems due to components, but nothing the team could have prevented. They fixed what could be fixed and we did cross the line. Which in itself is a great achievement. A big thank you to all and my two teammates.”
Kuba Smiechowski:“I am happy that we finished the race. For sure it was not the way we wanted to finish. With every problem the car gave us, the team worked through it to get it out again. I think the crew did an amazing job, so it is all thanks to them. They never stopped working on the car. I also thank James and Nigel for being my teammates. I learned a lot. A big thanks to the whole team.”
Sascha Fassbender (team manager): “As expected it was going to be hard for us. We had some technical issues, like the compressor. We had to change it three times during the race. The whole crew worked very well together and always tried to get the car out better than before and very quick too. It was the first race for Inter Europol Competition team here at Le Mans and we are very happy to have taken the chequered flag. I think this has showed us how well we work as a team. A big thank you to all members of our team. Without their dedication, it would not have been possible.”