Points-leading LMP2 squad faces “tricky situation” at Le Mans

The LMP2 points-leading Signatech Alpine FIA World Endurance Championship squad faces a “tricky situation” in this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours, admits Nico Lapierre.

Points-leading LMP2 squad faces “tricky situation” at Le Mans
Listen to this article

Lapierre and his teammates Pierre Thiriet and Andre Negrao hold a slender four-point advantage over Jackie Chan DC Racing trio Ho-Pin Tung, Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry with 39 points up for grabs in the 2018/19 season finale.

DragonSpeed pair Roberto Gonzalez and Pastor Maldonado also have an outside shot at title glory, with 26 points to make up on the Signatech Alpine drivers.

Lapierre, who set the third-fastest time of the month in the Le Mans test day at the start of the month, admitted to Motorsport.com that striking a balance between aiming for class honours at Le Mans and doing enough to seal the title will be tough.

“It’s a new situation for us, it’s the first time we finish the championship at Le Mans, it’s difficult – especially leading the championship by such a small margin,” he said.

“We’ve got to be careful about the championship. We also want to win the race, as a team you prepare for this race the whole year. We are a bit in between.

“We don’t want to take extra risks, but we also want to push to fight for the win and if you don’t take any risks you’ve no chance to win. It’s a bit of a tricky situation for us.

“I would say there are five or six cars that can win the race. It’s going to be a tough battle.”

#38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Ho-Pin Tung, Stéphane Richelmi, Gabriel Aubry

#38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier JSP217 Gibson: Ho-Pin Tung, Stéphane Richelmi, Gabriel Aubry

Photo by: Paul Foster

Richelmi, whose teammate Tung was fastest in LMP2 on test day, said the drivers of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca face a similar headache.

“We arrive here as hunters,” Richelmi told Motorsport.com. “We have to finish ahead of them [Signatech]. We have to do a great race to score four points [more].

“For us, the hardest thing honestly is the speed of certain amateurs in GT, and the speed at which we arrive behind them. It’s there where we lose out enormously, and where we have to take precautions.

“Regardless, we are fighting for the championship, and even if we are fighting for the victory, we can’t take reckless risks in traffic.”

Lapierre: Michelin has regained edge over Dunlop

Signatech switched from Dunlop to Michelin tyres at the start of the year, and which brand performs better could be key to determining the destiny of LMP2 honours.

Lapierre said he feels Michelin has regained an edge over the Dunlop, especially as race week is set to feature much cooler temperatures than test day.

“We ran in the test with really high temperatures which is not going to the case for the race, so there a lot of unknowns right now,” he said.

“In Sebring it was a bit hard, Dunlop was a bit faster, but since then Michelin has been at least as fast as Dunlop, probably a bit faster.

“We have to see in the cold conditions, it’s a bit of an unknown. The new Dunlop tyre, they never ran it in low temperatures, so we have to see in the race. It’s difficult to judge.”

Michelin tyre

Michelin tyre

Photo by: Nikolaz Godet

shares
comments
SMP will be the "dark horse" at Le Mans, says Jani
Previous article

SMP will be the "dark horse" at Le Mans, says Jani

Next article

Le Mans legends: Watch how BMW won as Mercedes flew in 1999

Le Mans legends: Watch how BMW won as Mercedes flew in 1999
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Prime

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

As the GT class faces a time of transition, it’s a good time to recall the greatest hits of the GTE Pro years that pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels.

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Prime

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Prime

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic.

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021