Dominique Heintz, who co-founded the team with rally legend Sébastien Loeb, looks forward to a busy 2013, including a two-McLaren GT effort, a multi-car French Porsche Cup season and sights set on Le Mans with help from...Pescarolo?
For their first year of competition, Sébastien Loeb Racing were at the top of their game, whether it was in Porsche Matmut Carrera Cup (France), European Le Mans Series or French GT Championship. Founded just a year ago by Sébastien Loeb and Dominique Heintz, the team took the three Carrera Cup trophies (A, B and Teams.) With a shortened ELMS season, the Marroc/Sarrazin/Minassian trio were unable to show their full potential in the ORECA 03 prototype, but the potential was clearly there. In 2013, the objective will be to bring home even more titles to Soultz-sous-Forêts, the team's headquarters. The team have already begun their 2013 season with a shakedown of two McLaren MP4-12C in Navarra last week. Although next year's programs are not totally finalized, Dominique Heintz sat down with us to talk about next year and notably about a possible collaboration with Henri Pescarolo at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Laurent Mercier: Dominique, at what stage are the 2013 programs for Sébastien Loeb Racing?
Dominique Heintz: "The 2013 season is complicated to put into place, but we're working hard to get it complete. What is certain is that we are returning to the Porsche Matmut Carrera Cup with four or five cars. Most of the drivers are confirmed and an announcement will be made by the end of the year or beginning of January at the latest. It will follow the same format as 2012, with a presence in A and B. We'll have three young drivers to fight for the win. After taking all three titles, we can't do less well. We're very happy with our season and we'll do everything we can to win the titles again."
And the GT program?
"We just received the two McLaren MP4-12C and had a two-day test session at Navarra. It's the high point of this end of year. The car is fantastic and we saw this in the last GT Tour event at Paul Ricard. For us, Santa Claus has already come and it allows us to prepare for the 2013 GT season which will be one of our major programs with the Sprint Series as soon as they confirm the championship. We have one car confirmed, with Sébastien behind the wheel, and a second car should be present as well. We will know more in a few days when the championship is announced and put into place. Sébastien's co-driver isn't confirmed yet. Nico (Marroc) tested a McLaren at Navarra because he's our team driver, but he's not scheduled to take part in the GT program, but if the opportunity presents itself, why not."
Will the McLarens be entered into other championships as well?
"The idea is to also run in the French GT Championship, but it's a little complicated in terms of drivers. As for the Blancpain Endurance Series, we're planning on taking part in the 24 Hours of Spa with a Pro-Cup driving squad. If we go there, it's to be in contention and Sébastien could also be part of the driving team."
Are you continuing in prototypes with the ORECA 03?
"Yes, and it's very important for us! We want to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as early as 2013, and for that to happen we must compete in one of the Le Mans series, either the World Endurance Championship or the European Le Mans Series. At the moment, our efforts are focused on the European series, but we're not closing the door on the FIA WEC option, even if it's complicated to get the necessary budget together."
Will Sébastien be involved in the prototype program, notably at Le Mans?
"No, he won't be in the car at Le Mans. He's already finished second overall there, so if he makes a return it's to win. Nonetheless, he is planning to be present as team boss. He'll also be available to be with guests, which would have been complicated had he been driving."
Will Sébastien Loeb Racing bring in reinforcements for the Sarthe classic?
"We're in discussions with Henri Pescarolo, because it's possible he could join us for the 24 Hours. Things would be coming full circle, as it's him who gave Sébastien his first start at Le Mans, back in 2005. I think it could be something good, because Henri knows every little detail about this race. For the time being, it's only a project and we're trying to find a solution. It could also bring more partners on board."
Translation by Rainier Ehrhardt
Original article by Laurent Mercier/Endurance-Info.com