STRONG SEVENTH FOR COOL RACING’S
24 HOURS OF LE MANS DEBUT
On its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut, COOL Racing’s #42 Oreca 07 finished a fantastic seventh in the LMP2 class with Alexandre Coigny, Antonin Borga and Nicolas Lapierre.
After four years of working up the prototype racing ladder, the Swiss squad arrived at the Circuit de la Sarthe for its first 24 Hours where the team had to adapt to a condensed scheduled, which included no prior Test Day to prepare the cars and two rookie drivers for the demanding, high-speed 13.626-kilometre circuit.
Lapierre qualified 12th in class and took the start of the 88th running of the world’s greatest motor race, before co-drivers Coigny and Borga consolidated their position and settled into the race. Some misfortunate did befall the #42 crew, with two punctures during the night and a precautionary brake change on Sunday slowing their progress. However, combining their experience of the earlier World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series races, they persevered with a mistake-free run throughout the race.
After Borga and Lapierre shared night running duties, moving up as high as fifth in class, Coigny was back behind the wheel in the morning for his final stint. The Swiss racer executed all that he learnt since driving a prototype car for the first time in 2016 with clean laps.
Completing the 365th and final lap, Lapierre met the chequered flag seventh in class and as the top Bronze car for the third consecutive WEC event. As the fourth best full season entry, and with double points on offer for Le Mans, COOL Racing now sits fourth in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams.
The team will now prepare for the season finale in Bahrain on 14 November, aiming to end its maiden WEC campaign on a high, as well as the last two rounds of the European Le Mans Series in Monza (11 October) and Portimao (1 November).
COOL Racing makes final preparations for Le Mans at Le Castellet 240
COOL Racing was met with difficult conditions at the start of the Le Castellet 240, which began under safety car conditions. From eighth, Antonin Borga took the first stint as the track dried before Nicolas Lapierre took the wheel of the #37 Oreca 07 but was compromised by an extended safety car period. Alexandre Coigny then experienced night driving with changing conditions and fog around the track, providing valuable experience ahead of the team’s maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans. Borga eventually brought the car home in 12th, as the Swiss team prepares for the world’s biggest race.
Alexandre Coigny: “This was a very difficult race with changing track conditions which were hard to manage, like we saw at Spa. It was extremely complicated adapting to a drying track and to find my marks, especially in the night with the fog. All of it was new to me but it was very informative. I’ve learnt a lot which will be very useful for Le Mans as we could have similar conditions there. We’re a bit disappointed by the overall result but we have taken many lessons from this weekend.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “Not our best result but it was a very difficult race, especially with a bronze driver in the car. Taking place at night on a drying track, they were very tough conditions. On our side, we made no mistakes and the strategy was good. The first safety car hurt us a lot and the conditions were pretty extreme from a bronze driver to handle. Now we are focusing on Le Mans and making sure we are fully prepared.”
Antonin Borga: “We hoped for a bit more than 12th today. We started in quite a big deluge and we were running well in the wet but things got a bit complicated once the track started to dry and the mid-race safety car did not help our strategy, which was just a bit unlucky. The team didn’t make any mistakes and we almost bagged the fastest lap of the race. We can take a lot away from this weekend which will help us at Le Mans.”
Patrick Barbier, Team Principal: “Some positives and negatives today. We had a competitive car but the conditions were complicated, even more so than the Michelin Le Mans Cup as it was night. It was great experience for Alex, it showed us there are still improvements he and the team can make but a rewarding performance nonetheless as we could see similar conditions at Le Mans. It’s a learning curve for him, driving on a wet, dark, foggy track which he’s never done before. So the result was not ideal but we have learnt a lot.”
Ligier European Series
Baud takes double victory to extend championship lead
Sébastien Baud further extended his Ligier European Series championship lead in the Ligier JS2 R class with another two victories, making it four out of six for the season. Starting fourth in race one, the Frenchman immediately charged into the lead on the opening lap where he remained until the chequered flag.
Baud began race two from pole and in soaking conditions dominated until the race was red flagged, extending his points advantage to 53 with two rounds remaining.
Sébastien Baud, #74 Ligier JS2 R: “Our objective was to be at the front all weekend and we achieved that. Coming back to Le Castellet from Spa, where we were running a very different set-up, we compromised ourselves a bit so we were only fourth in Q1. But once the team made some adjustments we got pole in Q2. I’m very happy with the results, keeping the lead in race one despite some very aggressive drivers behind me. Then I had to deal with the conditions in race two, it was the first time I drove the car in the wet or anything in the rain for two years. I was glad I had rallying experience to lean on when it started sliding. It’s a shame we finished under a red flag but given the weather it was understandable.”
Patrick Barbier, Team Principal: “A great job by Seb today. He really delivered coming back to a circuit he knows, compared to Spa which he had not driven before. We tried to keep the set-up from the previous race to try to understand the behaviour of the car a bit better, so we compromised our Q1 performance but after that it was a perfect weekend. Seb had two great races to increase his championship lead.”
COOL RACING CLAIMS SECOND PODIUM OF WEC SEASON AT SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
COOL Racing claimed the second podium of its debut FIA World Endurance Championship season in the LMP2 class with a second-place finish at the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in wet and changeable conditions.
After Nicolas Lapierre and Antonin Borga qualified the #42 Oreca 07 third in class, and second of the Michelin runners, the weather turned for the start of the race which began behind the safety car. Alexandre Coigny took to the challenging conditions for the opening laps before handing over to Lapierre.
Borga took over after a strong double stint from the Frenchman, re-joining the race in mixed conditions as crews switched between wet tyres and slicks. After Coigny’s second run, Lapierre was back behind the wheel for the end of the race to cross the line in second, also securing back-to-back Best Bronze trophies.
The result promotes COOL Racing to fifth in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams ahead of the Swiss squad’s maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Alexandre Coigny: “Overall we executed a great race despite difficult conditions. It was a bit of a nightmare start with the weather conditions, nonetheless it’s a good experience for me. We did the job on strategy, we made the right choices and Antonin and Nico were fantastic as usual. I learnt a lot in this race in the changing conditions, having to adapt to the varying grip levels and handling cold brakes and tyres. It was really interesting and I’m delighted with this result, a reward for me as I could not be on the rostrum at Silverstone because I was injured. It was a dream of mine to be on the WEC podium and I’ve achieved it. Congratulations to the whole team and now we look to Le Mans and the rest of the season where hopefully even more will come.”
Antonin Borga: “It was a fantastic end to the race. At the beginning it was complicated with the rain and safety cars, 45 minutes wouldn’t pass where there was not an incident. The race went in our favour with strategy, we chose the right time to change tyres, everything was smooth. I think we can be very satisfied with second with a bronze driver. It’s a great reward for everybody’s hard work and motivation for Le Mans in a few weeks.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “This is a fantastic result for the team, we are really happy with this podium. Great work by everybody, the pit stops and strategy were faultless and the drivers made no mistakes during a very difficult and complicated race. To have this just before Le Mans is great timing. We were a bit disappointed with our qualifying speed, despite our position, it was just below where we wanted it but the race pace matched the fastest cars. A very positive weekend and I look forward to Le Mans and the next European Le Mans Series round at Paul Ricard.”
Patrick Barbier, Team Principal: “A superb result in difficult conditions. Everything was perfect in the strategy and Alex, Antonin and Nico drove well. This was the best way to bounce back after a complicated weekend here in European Le Mans Series. We couldn’t dream for a better performance in our first season at this level, to have two podium finishes is really special. I’m so proud of the whole team and I can’t thank them enough. This has been great preparation for what will be our first 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
European Le Mans Series, 4h Spa Francorchamps
COOL Racing secures top 10 finish despite late fuel issue
Starting from ninth on the grid, Antonin Borga made short work of getting through the field in the opening stages of the 4 Hours of Spa onboard the #37 Oreca 07. After a clean stint from Alexandre Coigny, a fuel miscalculation slowed Nicolas Lapierre later on before crossing the line 10th.
Antonin Borga: “Although we struggled to find the right set-up in practice, I realised early in the race the car was much better and moved up to fifth quickly. It felt similar to last year, so it was a pleasure to drive. Unfortunately I locked up while trying to overtake a couple of cars and I had flat spots during my second stint. We also lost the gap I created when the safety car came out. It’s a shame we had the fuel issue with Nico because we lost a good position, especially when it was so late in the race. But we are preparing well for the World Endurance Championship race next weekend.”
Alexandre Coigny: “Antonin gave me the car in a good position and I had a smooth stint. I learnt a lot and this race has been great preparation for next weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa. I’m looking forward to resuming our World Endurance Championship campaign before the team’s first 24 Hours of Le Mans in September.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “We had a challenging race today. Antonin drove very well in his stints and our pace was better than it was earlier in the week, which is encouraging for the 6 Hours next weekend. We should have finished higher up but we had a fuel issue towards the end and were forced to slow down to make the chequered flag, costing us a few positions.”
Ligier European Series
Baud extends podium streak to extend championship lead
Making his maiden appearance at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, COOL Racing’s Sébastien Baud followed up his stunning double win at Le Castellet by making it four consecutive class podiums in the augural Ligier European Series onboard his #74 Ligier JS2 R. Despite his inexperience of the track, Baud battled his more experience rivals for victory in both races. However, a penalty for a pit stop infringement in race one and a team error in race two left him third and second, but still extending his championship lead to 23 points.
Sébastien Baud, #74 Ligier JS2 R: “This was my first weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, so not knowing the circuit meant I had to adapt in qualifying. We didn’t have the best Q1 set-up, so coming sixth was quite positive. We had a better set-up for Q2, I got to grips with the circuit and qualified on the front row. I passed two cars straight away in race one and was in a four-way battle for the lead, but unfortunately we had the pit lane penalty. We still came away with a podium so that’s encouraging. I also got held up in the pit stop during race two while fighting for the win, which was disappointing but these things happen. Nonetheless, it was a very satisfying weekend.”
COOL Racing finish fourth in the 4 Hours of Le Castellet to kickstart 2020 European Le Mans Series
In the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, COOL Racing got its 2020 European Le Mans Series campaign underway with a fourth-place finish, bringing home a strong haul of points. After French driver Nicolas Lapierre put the #37 Oreca 07 sixth on the grid, he and team-mates Antonin Borga and Alexandre Coigny ran a smooth and error-free race to secure its third top-five finish since making its debut in the LMP2 class last year. Coigny also picked up a trophy for the top bronze-graded driver. The Swiss team will now look ahead to Spa-Francorchamps on 9 August.
Nicolas Lapierre: “A satisfying weekend with a great fourth place in the first race, and it’s especially pleasing when you consider the level of competition in this series. We were also first of the bronze entries, so this is good. The team had a very good strategy and we did great pit stops. Our race pace should be a bit quicker, but we know why. We played it safe with the car set-up and we know how to improve for the next race. Happy with the delayed start to the season, which was not easy as there was a long break. Delighted with this fourth place and we will try to continue from there.”
Antonin Borga: “It was a great weekend, we are there in terms of performance compared to the other bronze crews. We were quite lucky with the safety car but I am happy with the Oreca 07, mechanics, and all the staff. We have done a lot of running over the last couple of weeks, testing non-stop and we did not have any mechanical issues, apart from the slow puncture during the last 10 laps. I am very happy with the work achieved by everybody, it is enjoyable to start the season like this, and we are looking good for the future.”
Alexandre Coigny: “Overall I think we had a great weekend and I am very happy with the performance of the team. We have progressed well and there’s still room to improve even further. Everybody did a great job and it is encouraging for the rest of the season. We will ensure we are ready to continue to fight.”
Patrick Barbier, Team Principal: “When you look at how strong the other crews on the grid are, this is an excellent result. The whole team worked hard throughout the build-up and across the weekend, which was seen with great pit stops and strategy by our engineers. This fourth place overall and first of the teams fielding a bronze driver is highly rewarding for the drivers and everyone at COOL Racing after a long and difficult period. We will do everything we can to be up there again at Spa.”
RACING SPIRIT OF LÉMAN WELCOMES NICOLAS LAPIERRE AS A SHAREHOLDER
RACING SPIRIT OF LÉMAN is delighted to welcome Nicolas Lapierre as a shareholder ahead of the delayed start to the 2020 racing season.
Managing the activities of COOL Racing, RACING SPIRIT OF LÉMAN was established in January 2019 by Patrick Barbier, a veteran of top tier motorsport with over 40 years of experience, his daughter Herminie Barbier, acting as team manager, and Guillaume Gibert, technical manager. Lapierre joined the Swiss squad at the beginning of last season for the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the World Endurance Championship, with the team winning on its WEC debut at Silverstone.
Now the most successful LMP2 driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been integrated into the ownership of RACING SPIRIT OF LÉMAN for the development of racing activities, daily liaisons with drivers, as well as commercial pursuits.
In 2020, COOL Racing will continue in the WEC’s LMP2 field, where it will participate in its first 24 Hours of Le Mans in September, as well as the ELMS with the Oreca 07 and the Michelin Le Mans Cup in the new-for-2020 Ligier JS P320, which will also compete in the second season of the Ultimate Cup Series. The Ligier JSR 2 will take part in the Ultimate Cup Series’ GT category, as well as the new Ligier European Series which will launch at Paul Ricard on 17-18 July.
Interview with tream pricipal Patrick Barbier on the current situation:
News 2019 click here: