(English) April 2024 news roundup

26 kwietnia 2024

Przepraszamy, ten wpis jest dostępny tylko w języku Amerykański Angielski.

Barcelona recently hosted the opening rounds of the European Le Mans Series, the Michelin Le Mans Cup, and the Ligier European Series. With 13 drivers and six cars, it was a big event for Inter Europol Competition off the back of an intensive pre-season test program.

In just a few days, all eyes will be on Circuit Paul Ricard, where testing will begin on Thursday, May 2, ahead of the second round of the European Le Mans Series.

Team Roundup

European Le Mans Series, Barcelona
The nine European Le Mans Series drivers started the season with two days of testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Between them, 998 laps were completed, and then it was into the official practice sessions, qualifying, and the four-hour race.

Ultimately, sixth and eighth positions for the #43 and #34 LMP2 Orecas and sixth position for the #88 LMP3 Liger proved to be a disappointment. The team is determined to make gains at Paul Ricard! >> Read more

Michelin Le Mans Cup, Barcelona
The #34 and #43 numbers, this time on the Ligier JS P320s, featured again, and with the former pairing – of Alex Bukhantsov and Rik Koen – claiming the team’s first-ever Michelin Le Mans Cup podium, it was a most satisfying performance. To cap it off, the #43 duo of Tim Creswick and Sebastian Gravlund also finished in the points >> Read more

Ligier European Series, Barcelona
It was a roller coaster weekend for new IEC recruit for our second season in this championship. Qualifying second and taking the chequered flag first after a fin driver ultimately went unrewarded courtesy of a post-race penalty. So from first to ninth for Romain, while he struggled with the Michelins in the second race and finished fifth following further post-race penalties, this time for his rivals. >> Read more

Coming up
ELMS Paul Ricard race weekend

Just a five-hour drive, if direct, from the opening round of the European Le Mans Series in Barcelona, is round two, at Circuit Paul Ricard. The ELMS racers have tested at the French venue, while some of the Le Mans Cup racers, competed at the circuit recently in the Ultimate Cup Series.

Provisional schedule*
09:50 – 10:50 LMC FP1
11:50 – 13:20 ELMS FP1
14:55 – 15:35 LMC Bronze test
18:00 – 19:00 LMC FP2

10:10 – 11:40 ELMS FP2
12:55 – 13:10 LMC LMP3 qualifying
15:05 – 16:10 ELMS LMP2 & LMP3 qualifying
17:50 – 19:40 LMC Race**

09:40 – 10:10 Autograph session
11:30 – 15:30 ELMS 4hLeCastellet Race**

School day
Kuba Smiechowski with Aleksander Jeżewski visited the Maria Kann Elementary School No. 319 in Warsaw this week. The occasion for the meeting was the Talent Days organised by the school.

Kuba and Aleksander talked with the pupils about their careers in motorsport, racing, and dedication to sport for success.

They also had the opportunity to demonstrate safety equipment and various elements of a race car.

Sebastian Alvarez Q&A

Like #43 European Le Mans Series teammates Vlad Lomko and Tom Dillmann, Sebastian Alvarez is new to Inter Europol Competition this season.

He made his race debut with the team in the opening round of the championship in Barcelona, where he enjoyed a spell at the front of the field before finishing in sixth position.

Q) Welcome to the team, Seb. Please tell us a little about yourself, how you got involved in the sport, your current journey, and your hobbies and interests away from the circuit.

„Hi all, I’m Sebastian Alvarez. I was born in Monterrey, Mexico, but I’ve lived my whole life in Mexico City. I first got involved in racing when my uncle took us go-karting, and my brother really liked it! I admit that at the time, I was not so interested, so they bought my brother a kart, and then he lost a little interest.

„So, my dad told me to try it again. We have a kart, and it’s ready to go, and that’s when my passion for racing kicked in. Every time I drove, I loved it more and more, and that was the start of the journey to where I am now.

„I don’t have other hobbies, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, I started playing paddle, something I have learned to really enjoy. I like fishing, too; it’s really cool to do when we’re all on holiday, but as I say, racing is my main passion.”

Q) We’ve just had the first round of the European Le Mans Series in Barcelona. The #43 team showed good speed at times, but ultimately sixth position was a frustrating result. Please tell us about the race.

„The first round in Barcelona allowed us to show that we have speed and a good driver lineup; we will be able to perform well together over the season. We were a little unfortunate in Spain, but we know we can improve, and then we will be in a great place to challenge for race wins.

„I started the race and had an okay start, trying to keep it clean, but then I got hit in turn two, and I wasn’t sure how much damage there was. Fortunately, the car was fine, and I was able to push hard until the yellow and safety car, but my stint was good. The result, though, was frustrating, as we all felt we could have achieved a podium position.”

Q) Next up is Circuit Paul Ricard, a circuit traditionally good for Inter Europol Competition. Can you tell us about the circuit and the approach you will take to Thursday’s testing?

„We’ll start with an engineering meeting, looking back on Barcelona as a quick debrief on what happened and where we can improve. Then we move on to Paul Ricard, looking at existing data and video whilst working out a plan for the week ahead.

„So, there is a lot of prep already underway, and by the time we leave the pit lane, we will have a clear plan for what we wish to achieve.”

Q) Consistency is always the key to a championship assault. After Paul Ricard, there’s a gap for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and then we’re into a run of races including Imola and Mugello, which are new to the series for 2024. Tell us about the remaining rounds and which circuits you expect to perform well at.

„There’s a gap in the calendar after Paul Ricard for Le Mans. I don’t have a seat yet, but hopefully, the gap will be filled! I’d rather be out in the car, as any gap in track time affects you and makes it harder for the driving to come as it should, naturally. So, regardless of what happens, I will keep training; I have a simulator at home to keep everything fresh to ensure I’m as fresh as possible for the remainder of the season.

„The ELMS calendar is good, and for me, it will be the same in that we always try to maximise everything that we have, especially at the new circuits on the schedule at Imola and Mugello, where we must use our time to the very best.”

Kai Askey Q&A

Kai is a familiar face within the Inter Europol Competition squad, having raced with the team in the Asian Le Mans Series and then the European Le Mans Series last year. He returns for 2024 in the #88 Ligier JS P320 alongside new teammates Alex Bukhantsov and Pedro Perino.

Q) Welcome back, Kai. Tell us about the strong driver line-up in the LMP3 car this year.

„Thank you! We do indeed have a very strong driver lineup this year, with Pedro looking good last year and at the first round in Barcelona, Alex strong in the Asian Le Mans Series results, and a podium in the first round of LMC! I’m very confident that we can prove ourselves this season and show them how it’s done.”

Q) The car sustained some damage in the opening round in Barcelona, making a fight for the podium all but impossible. Sixth position is not what you wanted, but tell us about the race from your perspective?

„The race was looking undeniably strong until the damage, with an impressive start from Alex getting the car up to second place before handing me the car in P4. We were on for a podium at that race, but it’s a shame how this kind of thing happens in multi-class racing.

„The damage affected both mine and Pedro’s stints, leaving us with nothing to do but to bring the car home to score as many points as possible, which is very important for the championship. All we can do now is take the many positives from Barcelona and add to them at Paul Ricard. We know our pace is strong, more than enough for a podium.”

Q) Next up is Paul Ricard, a venue that is usually kind to Inter Europol Competition. What is your plan heading into testing and what area of the car are you aiming to improve most?

„My teammates have carried out extensive testing at Paul Ricard in the past few months so that we will have a strong baseline, but the main thing to improve on will be the qualifying pace. We were extremely fast at Paul Ricard last year, so I’m looking forward to keeping the pace up while showing our true potential overall in qualifying and race pace.”

Q) After the 24 Hours of Le Mans summer break, we have four further races in the ELMS. Imola and Mugello are new to the series this year. Tell us about the circuits ahead and which ones you are looking forward to most.

„I’ll need to check if I can go to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but It’s on my list of races to attend! We had some running/testing in Imola a few months back, and I really enjoyed the track. It is a tight but twisty circuit with many tricky corners, especially with the elevation. I’m also very excited to go to Mugello, as I’ve never been there before and have heard great comments about it. Honestly, I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season!”

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