(English) February 2024 news roundup

16 lutego 2024

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

The season is underway, with the Rolex 24 now in the rear view mirror, the European Le Mans Series, and further LMP3 races and tests on the horizon. Not to mention the small matter of the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

It’s the start of a busy season ahead, with most race seats now firmed up for the 2024 campaign…

Rolex 24 review
January was all about the Rolex 24 at Daytona, our second race of the season and our first with the LMP2 Oreca 07. It was a dramatic race, full of twists and turns, and ultimately, we finished fourth, having run third for much of the event. It was frustrating to lose out on the podium, but now we look ahead to Sebring, the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Race report >>

Meanwhile, Clement Novalak had to sit out the Rolex 24 after sustaining an ankle and a rib injury in a pitlane incident. He has reported that his recovery is going well; still in a little pain still, but he is heading in the right direction. He will be fighting fit for the upcoming European Le Mans Series Campaign.

Sascha Fassbender, Inter Europol Competition, Team Manager & Bobby Oergel, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, Team Principal, reflect on the Rolex 24 and the upcoming challenge of Sebring. Read here >>>

Michelin Le Mans Cup entry list
Michelin Le Mans Cup announced recently that Inter Europol Competition has secured two of the 29 LMP3 entries into this year’s championship. While the final driver lineup for the first round in Barcelona in April has yet to be confirmed, we can say that Rik Koen and Alex Bukhantsov will compete together with us in the series.

Rik (Q&A below) is new to the team and LMP3 competition, while Alex has plenty of experience, having raced with us in the Asian Le Mans Series in the past and recently winning the 2024 title. He will also race the #88 LMP3 in the European Le Mans Series alongside Pedro Perino and Kai Askey. Entry list >>

The Twelve Hours of Sebring
We raced at this circuit in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023 and return for the second round of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in March.

Thursday March 14
09:40 – 11:10 – Practice 1
15:00 – 16:30 – Practice 2
19:45 – 21:15 – Practice 3
Friday March 15
10:55 – 12:00 – Qualifying
Saturday March 16
09:40 – Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
All times listed ET, CET +6H, GMT +5H

Meanwhile, back at base…
Inter Europol Competition welcomed Radio WNET to its Warsaw workshop in early February, taking a tour of the team’s impressive facility, examining the cars being prepared for the European Le Mans Series, while chatting with driver Jakub Śmiechowski and team coordinator Alek Jezewski.

A return to the Prototype Winter Series
Pedro Perino will join our Michelin Le Mans Cup racer Rik Koen for the final round of the Prototype Winter Series in Barcelona on March 9-10.

It marks Rik’s LMP3 race debut – and Pedro’s second of the year – and will bring valuable information and knowledge ahead of the summer season.

Last time out, at Portimao, Pedro (with teammate Sebastian Gravlund) impressed with his speed and race from the back of the field to P2, just shy of the race win.

Introducing Rik Koen
Rik joins Inter Europol Competition to compete in the Michelin Le Mans Cup this season alongside Alex Bukhantsov. It is the team’s second season in this championship, which takes in the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe as the season highlight.

Q) Rik, tell us about yourself away from the circuit. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
“I’m 19 years old and will be 20 on May 5. I live in the Netherlands in the town of Arnhem with my parents and brother; in addition to racing, I have my own company in car detailing and instructing on the track. I also enjoy exercising and spending time on my simulator, but given the choice, I would prefer to be in the race car every day!”

Q) You have a background in F4 and Porsche Carrera Cup. Tell us about your motorsport journey to date and how you became involved.
“I started karting when I was five years old. I wanted to kart earlier, but I was still too small! I did that for seven years to a high level and then got my motorsport license at age 13. That was a dream come true; I thought it was so cool to be able to race on the big circuits. Then I started with the Ford Fiesta Cup, and I did that for two years and came second in the championship.

“After the Fiesta Cup, I started driving the Spanish Formula 4, and that went very well, but I noticed that I was short on test mileage. This was fixed, and I got a lot more in and achieved some podiums.

“After F4, I started doing Porsche Cup and thought it was really cool to be able to drive that car, but my dream from an early age has always been to drive the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I got in touch with (broadcaster and manager) Nelson Valkenburg, and he also told me to achieve that, you must leave the Porsche Cup and enter endurance racing, and that’s how I arrived at Inter Europol Competition.

“I tested the LMP3 at Portimão, and yes, that car is amazing. It felt very good, and it really felt like coming home!”

Q) The LMP3 Ligier JS P320 is new to you; what is your approach to the season and expectations in what will be a highly competitive field?
“My approach for the season is to prepare optimally in the gym, in the simulator and in the car. And I also think that with this team, I have a very good chance of fighting for the podiums and getting the most out of it together.

„Given the history of Inter Europol Competition, I believe that I can certainly achieve that.”

Q) Road to Le Mans is the season’s highlight, but which circuits on the calendar are new to you, and which are you looking forward to most?
“The circuits I don’t know yet are Le Mans and Paul Ricard, and the one I’m most looking forward to is Barcelona! It’s a circuit that suits me very well. And Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans! I can’t wait to race there with the LMP3.”

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