The 2002 edition of the 24 Hours was only the first stage in the return of the Courage team, the work of which is programmed to continue until at least 2004.
A multitude of things can be done in two hours and forty minutes. For example, you could complete slightly more than a round of the FIA Sportscar Championship, or thirty-three laps of the 24 Hours of Le Mans under this year's conditions. Thirty-three laps were all that the car driven by Cottaz, Derichebourg and Bjork needed to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Courage with a place in the top ten, a reward it would have richly merited, thanks to the performance it showed.
It is not possible to play the match over again, but however ... one hour an 34 minutes were lost due to a clutch bearing, 23 minutes thanks to a broken gear lever, 15 minutes when it broke a second time, 3 minutes in the gravel, and 25 minutes to change a part of the gearbox ... in total, it definitely adds up to two hours and forty minutes.
"Too much, of course," Yves Courage admitted. "However, the main thing is to be able to see that the performance is there. Reliability comes through hard work."
After this full-scale test session, Yves considers that the overall result is positive.
"We discovered a multitude of small things of which we were previously unaware. Not having taken the start during the past two years, it would have been very serious for the rest of the teams if we had won!"
"I would like to remind everyone that Le Mans 2002 is just one stage. Our return is part of a three-year programme, and our objective is to sign a partnership with a constructor during that time. We have some good leads."
"We will be back at Le Mans next year with an evolution of the current chassis, and we will await the publication of the new 2004 rules in October to start up any new projects."