First ever Hong Kong team to win the French endurance classic.
KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) enjoyed a near-flawless week at the 83rd edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours (June 10-14) that culminated in a commanding LMP2 class victory earlier today. Not only was it the first win for a Hong Kong team at the world’s greatest endurance race but also the maiden triumph for ORECA’s all-new 05 coupe.
After topping Wednesday’s free practice session and posting a dominant pole time of 3m38.032s, Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre and Matt Howson drove an immaculate race at Circuit de la Sarthe en route to a stunning class victory and ninth place overall.
Maiden victory for all-new ORECA 05 chassis
Singapore-born Briton Bradley, who recorded the pole-setting lap in qualifying on Wednesday night, was first behind the wheel of the new-for-2015 ORECA 05–Nissan when the twice-around-the-clock event got underway on Saturday at 15:00 local time. Apart from an early battle with the G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 of Sam Bird and Tristan Gommendy in the Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05–Nissan, the Hong Kong-based squad led all but a handful of laps in what was a near-perfect performance.
With only a minor repair to an illuminated number panel just before half-distance hampering their progress, the impressive trio were able to post one fastest lap after another, culminating in Lapierre’s super-quick 3m36.836s during his heroic quintuple stint earlier today.
Indeed, a stunning overall performance from the entire team saw KCMG claim pole position, fastest lap of the race and a maiden victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship, of which Le Mans is round three. And with double points being awarded at the season’s blue riband event, as well as a single point for pole, KCMG’s 51-point maximum propels them to the top of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams’ standings.
The squad would also like to congratulate usual KCMG driver Nick Tandy for his incredible outright LMP1 victory with Porsche, as well as former team regular Alex Imperatori for his LMP1 Light class win with Rebellion Racing.
KCMG’s 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship campaign resumes after a short break at the 6 Hours of Nurburgring on August 28-30.
Quotes after race
Matt Howson: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed with winning here in Le Mans and so proud of everyone at KCMG! We first arrived here in 2013 and two years later we’re on the top step of the podium – it’s a massive credit to Paul Ip and the team he’s built around us. Big thanks to our engineer Greg Wheeler, too. There was lots of action in the race but he responded really well to everything and kept the car in the lead for pretty much the whole distance, so I’m really thrilled. Also, a massive thanks to my team-mates Richard and Nico who drove absolutely flawlessly. I think we’ll enjoy this for a long, long time!”
Richard Bradley: “I dedicated our pole position to my uncle who passed away earlier this week and I'd like to do the same now, so this win's for you, Jimmy. Credit to my mum for staying here and supporting me; I’m just glad I was able to reward her. As for the race, it was a very surreal experience starting the Le Mans 24 Hours and then enjoying a fun battle over the opening hour or two. I also raced for the first time in the dark without floodlights, which took a little getting used to, and then dealt with the sunrise before coping with the slight drizzle having had very little sleep! It was important to control our advantage, which is quite mentally tough to do, but that’s what makes Le Mans so special. It’s been a dream of mine to win this since I was a kid. It’s overwhelming really, especially as we’ve also scored maximum double points and moved into the WEC drivers’ championship lead. The perfect weekend.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “I’m very happy for the team. They’ve made so much progress since the start of the year, and for KCMG to win Le Mans – and in such dominant fashion, too – in their third season racing here is also amazing. The race was tougher than it perhaps looked because the competition was so strong and unrelenting in their pursuit. But I’m so proud of Richard, Matt and the entire team for winning here; it’s a huge achievement, especially with the new car from ORECA that not only performed exceptionally well all week but also gave us no mechanical or technical problems throughout the 24 hours. Honestly, that’s really incredible.”
Paul Ip, KCMG Managing Director: “Of course winning LMP2 is great, but what is even better is the success that KCMG drivers have had at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Out of the championship categories we’ve obviously had our win in LMP2, Nick in LMP1, as well as Alex with Rebellion in LMP1 Light. The entire team and myself are very happy to have placed Asia on top of the podium here at Le Mans. This year has really been something else!”