Galant Le Mans Effort Ends in Retirement for Pickering
Gavin Pickering's 2004 Le Mans 24 Hours ended in retirement when his Epsilon Sport Courage C65 engine cried enough at approximately 2.10am.
This was the first non-finish for the 24 year old British driver in 3 starts at the famous Sarthe circuit. Despite this he was philosophical with the outcome. "Of course, it was a shame but the team were superb".
He continued "Michel Lecomte's team worked non-stop to bring the car to the race and I am very grateful for their efforts. They had such a short time after the original engine supplier pulled out a week before the race. The IES engine was very good however. Retiring is all a part of racing at Le Mans. It's very hard to take when you do and its very character building because there is such a big emphasis on finishing this great race".
Gavin was full of praise for his number 35 C65 car. "The Courage chassis is fantastic to drive. It inspires confidence very quickly. It's the fastest car I have driven at Le Mans and it has loads of downforce. Cornering at the Porsche Curves was fantastic!".
Along with his team mates Gunnar Jeanette (from West Palm Beach Florida) and Frenchman Renaud Derlot, Gavin's Agnew Higgins Pickering backed Courage lead the LMP2 class for over an hour after the factory Courage AER hit transmission trouble. Gavin then put in an impressive and consistent double stint as the late evening dusk turned to darkness. "We were pacing ourselves to last the distance, then we hit starter motors problems. This took about 45 minutes to change but the team sorted it and we continued on our way with Gunnar driving" Gavin added.
Just when the little hard working Epsilon Sport team from Le Mans had settled their drivers into regular stints, news on the radio from Gunnar that the engine had seized, was received by the pit crew.
In summary Gavin commented "This experience was actually really good, despite the fact that we retired. I would like very much to race with Michel and his very professional team again. As a driver package we were really evenly matched and well suited. I would be happy to share with Gunnar and Renaud again. Le Mans with Epsilon was definitely a very good choice for me. My thanks goes to the entire team and to my sponsors Agnew Higgins Pickering, Cranfield University, Crash.net and, Planet Le Mans.com for their faith in me".