The 1000 Km of Spa presentation in Brussels: definitely a success story In the heart of Brussels, on the famous Grand Place, Le Mans Series displayed, in front of interested city passers by and tourists, 5 of the 52 cars entered for the ...
The 1000 Km of Spa presentation in Brussels: definitely a success story
In the heart of Brussels, on the famous Grand Place, Le Mans Series displayed, in front of interested city passers by and tourists, 5 of the 52 cars entered for the forthcoming 1000Km of Spa on 7, 8 & 9 May.
Audi, Peugeot, Signature, Prospeed Marc VDS's team, represented by their drivers such as Allan McNish, Vanina Ickx, Bas Lenders came to support the eagerly awaited meeting.
With the active help of Brussels' Burgmester (Mayor), the Organisers were able to welcome many journalists inside the prestigious Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges house, in the presence of Belgian motor racing legend Jacky Ickx.
Read Vanina Ickx's interview.
Five questions to Vanina Ickx:
"My target? To be happy with myself. Which is not that easy!"
Vanina, we can consider that this presentation of the 1000 km of Spa could take place on the Grand Place of Brussels thanks to you.
"Yes, my career is made of lucky coincidences and happy encounters. Actually, I know one of the partners of the Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers which was launched a couple of months ago. He kindly offered to give me a hand and offered a room for any promotion operation. And you did the rest! I do wish to thank the city of Brussels which was so welcoming as well as Signature Plus' managers, Philippe and Nathalie Sinault, to whom we owe the display of my proto in such a unique location worthy of Aston Martin and the 1000 km of Spa's prestige".
Which conclusion do you draw from your first participation with your LMP1 Lola Aston Martin LMP1 in the 8H du Castellet?
Definitely positive. We had a debriefing in Bourges and the team has considered that my performance was more than honourable for a first. Even if my French team mates could make better times with the new tyres on one lap, I was within the same second during the race, without making any mistakes. So, I must say that I'm satisfied. And I long to drive this proto again, it is the most performing one I have ever driven. This kind of machine asks for a progressive control. You have to domesticate the 700 horses you have behind you. You learn something new at each test and you become faster."
What is the difference with open prototypes such as the Pescarolo or the Creation?
Visibility is clearly reduced. I feel like I am in the DTM Audi. Save that here I am sitting on the road. In the hairpins and tight corners, you can't see the bend. Or only at the last minute! Thanks to God there is a high wall to let me understand that I am at La Source! Everything is filtered inside my cocoon. You are less in contact with the elements: you do not feel the turbulences with the helmet, you can't see the spectators on the grandstands, the noise of the engine is lessened and when three rain drops touch the windscreen it looks like it's raining cats and dogs. During the refuelling, I can only see knees and it is much more difficult to jump out of the cockpit than from a roofless proto. It requires a bit more suppleness."
The grid at Spa is definitely stronger that it was at the Castellet where you ranked 6th. So, what is your aim?
As for Peugeot and Audi, this race is a dress rehearsal for Le Mans. We could see that at the Ricard, we had to improve the changes of driver and the pit stops. This is where we lost time. The team has already done a lot of work on the subject and we will carry on until these movements become natural from the first free practices on Friday. Now, for the result, I hope that we will have heavy rain so that everybody will slip off the track, save us! (Laugh). No, I'm not a utopian. I understand that we have no chance against Peugeot and Audi works cars. I would be most happy to rank right behind them both, first petrol engine or first private team. I hope that Signature will gain a maximum of points for the Le Mans Series championship where they are able to have good results."
And for Le Mans, what's the target?
"I'm not keen to give my objectives in terms of figures. I just want to achieve my job. That the team is proud of me and mainly that I am personally happy with myself, which is the most difficult. A podium would for sure help to find additional budgets to continue the Le Mans Series season. But I don't want to get carried away! Unless the Organisers organise a podium for the petrol LMP1s. Doesn't that make sense?"