Despite not competing in this year's event, SÃ©bastien Loeb Racing were present at the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day to measure themselves up against the competition on the famous race track ahead of a planned entry in the future.
The team had their European Le Mans Series racer Nicolas Marroc and Porsche Matmut Carrera Cup driver Jean Karl Vernay join team boss SÃ©bastien Loeb in their Oreca 03 for the test. Despite the youth of the team and the atypical conditions, Loeb was able to set the fifth fastest LMP2 time of the day on his return to Le Mans after six years away, putting the team eighteenth overall in the timesheets.
Loeb said: “Initially, it's not easy to get back into a prototype when you don't regularily drive in the discipline. I completed one test session at Magny Cours at the beginning of the week and those were my first laps in an LMP2. I had a bit of a rough time this morning but the good feelings returned and it's really nice. The results are good, it's a success.
Team manager Dominique Heintz added: “The emotions were high this morning at the start of the test day. Six months ago, this team didn't exist. I think the greatest performance of this team is to be here! Not everything is perfect, and we know that, which is why we wanted to take part. This gives us an idea of the pressures of such an event and it offered us a true day of evaluation. We came here to prepare for the future. Whatever happens, we are leaving on a good note. We have a big puzzle to put together, with quite a few pieces, and so far everything fits nicely. The team works well together, without pressure. Nicolas and Jean Karl gave us their respective experiences because the objective above all is to learn and progress.
“Taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as soon as possible is of course our goal, but we look to SÃ©bastien. Our presence here today gets us closer to the race but that doesn't mean we will be there in 2013. Even if it's our biggest desire, a project of this magnitude needs preparation and most importantly partners. The next few months will be telling.”
Next up for the team is the third round of the GT Tour at the Val de Vienne circuit, with the team entering four cars in the Porsche Matmut Carrera Cup and one in the FFSA French GT Championship.