24h Le Mans: Top ten finish for Charouz Racing System The Aston Martin powered LMP1 car managed to finish the famous 24 Heures du Mans race in the top ten on its first attempt and was also the third petrol- engined car to take the chequered flag.
24h Le Mans: Top ten finish for Charouz Racing System
The Aston Martin powered LMP1 car managed to finish the famous 24 Heures du Mans race in the top ten on its first attempt and was also the third petrol- engined car to take the chequered flag. The number ten car was shared by Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke, with all three drivers contributing to a great comeback after an earlier delay.
The 76th edition of the 24 Heures du Mans is finished. The debut of the brand new prototype, powered by a production-based engine from the GT1 class winning Aston Martin DBR9, showed that the Charouz Racing System team is more than capable of taking the fight to its petrol-powered rivals.
The trio of Charouz, Enge and Mucke showed right from the start that they have the speed to lead the petrol charge behind the factory diesels and that they also have the morale to climb back after things did not exactly go their way. Young Charouz went off at the end of the second hour when he lost downforce and control of the car as he was overtaking slower cars. The team managed to repair the car, which was not as badly damaged as it looked. A fast and consistent pace in all sorts of conditions subsequently provided a good base to climb up the order.
The number ten car was as low as 48th place after the repair, but steadily made up ground on its competitors, with the exception of the diesels. Finally, the car made it back into the top ten and Enge took the flag ninth in both the overall and LMP1 standings. The Charouz Racing System team finished as the third-best placed petrol car and the final gap of eight laps was considerably smaller than the initial deficit.
Jan Charouz: "I have mixed feelings. I am angry at myself due to the mistake at the beginning of the race that complicated things for us. On the other hand, we showed very good speed and were consistently the fastest petrol car. The conditions were really tough as they were changing a lot. Also, last year we had rain, but at least it was consistent while this year the track was different on almost every lap during the second half of the race. At least we have quite a good idea of how we stand versus the others and the main difference between us and the factory diesels, which is in the torque out of the corners. Honestly, even if I had not had the off we would have not finished higher than seventh."
Tomas Enge: "It is always nice to see the chequered flag after 24 hours and I actually realized that it was the first time I had crossed the finish line in the car! The team put in a huge effort and we had a technically relatively trouble-free race, which was very positive after challenging test day and qualifying sessions. Driving a prototype was a whole new experience for me and I liked it. On the other hand, it was clear that we can not be a match for the factory diesels, so we were never really in a fight for overall victory. At least we were mostly the quickest of the petrol cars. Last but not least, I want to congratulate my former GT1 team- mates for taking the GT1 class win with the Aston Martin DBR9."
Stefan Mucke: "We are pretty happy. We finished the race without any major technical problems and it is always rewarding to see the finish after 24 hard-fought hours. Without the early accident we would have easily been the highest placed petrol car, but as it is we are third and it is still very good. The conditions were challenging at the end; I was out on the slicks when rain started again, but none of us made any mistakes at the end. We proved our speed and we would definitely like to come back next year and perhaps score an even better result."
Antonin Charouz, Team Principal: "We have reasons to be happy. It was the first start of the car at Le Mans and unfortunately Jan had an off during his first stint after he lost downforce. It looked like we were finished as he stopped twice, but finally managed to bring the car back to the pits. We had some other niggling problems, but we finished the race. We started twice at Le Mans and we have two finishes, which is good. The car clearly demonstrated that speed-wise it is the class of the petrol field and it is not surprising that factory diesels were in a different league. As a privateer, it is always difficult to fight against mighty factory teams with huge resources, regardless of the engine technology. We pushed hard, gained back a lot of time on our direct rivals, so I am happy."
David Richards: "The LMP1 was a new step for us and for it to be so competitive at such an early stage of its development is very encouraging. Who knows what the future might bring?"
-credit: charouz racing