Hide content

Strong comeback from Nico Verdonck in sportscars.

In motorsport you have to be ready at any time and perform. Last week Nico Verdonck was invited by Oreca to strengthen car #47 by joining the young Alex Loan in an LMPC car for round 3 of the European Le Mans Series at the RedBull Ring in Austria.Under these sunny conditions their efforts began promisingly as the Gulf-Racing/McLaren driver secured the quickest LMPC car lap in qualifying with the Oreca 09 of Team Endurance Challenge, on his comeback/debut in ELMS.with a lap of 1.27.635  Pole position in the class was eventually denied as , Nico was given a penalty – like many other drivers for passing the white line on the exit of Turn 1, even though this did not occur on the fastest lap.  This finally resulted in 2nd position in LMPC on the grid.

Nico and Alex missed out on victory during last Saturday’s 3hours European Le Mans Series event, by 5 sec. after a strong fight back by Nico who took over the last stint with a 40sec gap to the leading car in the class.
Alex took a safe start of the race, without taking unnecessary risks, loosing some positions. However, Alex did a good job by producing solid laps once he was in a good rhythm.

Once Nico took over he set a rapid pace as he looked to make up the gap to the leading  LMPC car. Nico had to push to catch up with the leaders, whilst at the same time conserving his tyres, to keep them in good shape particularly as the team elected to run one set for the entire race. The task was made even harder  as the top  GT cars, were a bit faster than the LMPC cars down the straights.

“Firstly I want to thank Oreca and Hugues de Chaunac for this opportunity. It was a such a pleasure to be back behind the wheel of a sportscar, besides the 10lap run during Le Mans testday last month, I haven’t been in a sportscar since 2010. I love the competition with different cars, changing track conditions and with the sunset going down during the night, it was a great challenge.The race was tricky, as it was very tough to pass the quick GT’s down the straight and avoid losing to much time, when quicker LMP2 cars where passing me. On top I had to look after my tyres, surprisingly we conducted the entire race on the same set and it worked well, as I was still the quickest LMPC on track towards the end.  I’m looking forward to the next opportunity.  Who knows, this might get a continuation… "

From now on, the focus is completely on Spa 24h, where Nico will compete together with Gulf-Racing in the McLaren #69 ,the longest race of the Blancpain Endurance Series. Where everything will be put in place to fight for a victory.