A full driver line-up and a wholehearted partnership! In its first season in the Le Mans Series, Pegasus Racing proved its merit and the scope of its potential by finishing in the points three times in four starts. During the winter, the team ...
A full driver line-up and a wholehearted partnership!
In its first season in the Le Mans Series, Pegasus Racing proved its merit and the scope of its potential by finishing in the points three times in four starts. During the winter, the team invested all its efforts in an exciting 2010 project: namely, to give the Norma M200, a new French LM P2 prototype, its debut in the major European endurance races. As spring is on the way, and the first race of the 2010 Le Mans Series Championship approaches, the Strasbourg-based team is delighted to announce its full driver line-up. Jean-Christophe Metz and Frederic Da Rocha will share the car, and they will carry the colours of the "Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque" (Heart Surgery Foundation) on all the circuits hosting the rounds of the Le Mans Series.
The new Norma M200 chassis anticipates the evolution of the lower-cost LM P2 category. Once Julien and Claude Schell had decided that this was the way to go, they got down to looking for the various components of the package. For the engine, they chose English tuning wizard, John Judd, who supplied them with a 3.4-litre normally aspirated V8 power unit. After examining different possibilities, the team finally settled on the choice of an Xtrac gearbox for the Norma-Pegasus. Tyrewise, they have opted for Dunlop.
In the meantime, Norbert Santos continued the construction and assembly of the first Norma LM P2. The chassis passed its crash test carried out in the Milan Politecnico with flying colours, and was homologated by the ACO and the FIA. Another eagerly-awaited date was 4th February, the day of publication of the list of entries for the 78th Le Mans 24 Hours. On this occasion, the Pegasus Racing team received a message of encouragement from the Automobile Club de l'Ouest as it was nominated first reserve in the prototype category! Should any of the 21 LM P1s or 9 LM P2s withdraw, Pegasus Racing will take its place on the grid for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The new Norma should be finished for the first round of the 2010 Le Mans Series Championship, the Le Castellet 8 Hours on 11th April. Julien Schell, however, thinks it would be better to wait for the Spa-Francorchamps 1000kms before taking the plunge. "We want to do some private testing before we enter for a race. So at present, it looks like we'll compete at Le Castellet with the Courage-AER we ran last year."
In the driver line-up, Schell will be joined by another Alsatian, Jean- Christophe Metz, and Frederic Da Rocha from the Val de Oise region who has both French and Portuguese nationality. Jean-Christophe is a part of the Pegasus Racing nursery, as he has never driven for any other team from his first outing in Formula Ford in 2004 to his eye-catching debut in the 2009 Le Mans Series at the Silverstone 1000kms. "I'm really looking forward to the new car. I think Norma's done a great job and Pegasus has always given priority to reliability. The combination of the various skills gives me a lot of confidence. As a young driver and entrepreneur, I'm also happy that Frederic's joined us as he has considerable experience in both areas."
Frederic Da Rocha is fifty-six years old, twice that of Jean-Christophe Metz, so he will be the oldest LMP2 driver in this year's field. He also made his debut in the Le Mans Series in 2009 with a Courage-AER, and his season ended with a promising second place in the Asian Le Mans Series. As in previous years, he raced in Formula 3 Classic, the modern Proto VdeV Endurance Challenge in a Norma, and the Classic Endurance Racing Series in a fabulous Lola T298 in which he has scored a few good results.
Like his young team-mate, he has indulged in another of his passions this winter, cycling, to be in tip-top physical form at the beginning of a very special season. "It's a new challenge for me with Pegasus Racing. Last year, we were rivals and I saw just how hard working the team is, and it also knows where it's going. Julien will give me a little extra boost in terms of driving, and racing with younger drivers can only improve my level. I share a real endurance philosophy with them, which privileges team spirit and the ability to look after the car. I also have a lot of time for Norbert Santos, and the fact that Norma is making a comeback to top-level racing played a major part in my decision."
Frederic Da Rocha is the man responsible for the link-up between the "Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque", Pegasus Racing and its drivers. This organisation whose mission is to treat children suffering from cardiac malformations who cannot be treated in their home country, is also a partner of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. "By using our team as a meeting point to welcome contributors, and by promoting the image of the association, we want to encourage people to donate to this exemplary organisation," is how Julien Schell sums things up.
-source: pegasus racing