Sebastien Loeb Racing is preparing for its third season in the European Le Mans Series, with the opening round at Silverstone now less than a week away.
The Alsace-based will field two entries in the season opener, with Vincent Capillaire and Jan Charouz piloting the #24 Oreca 03, while Henry Hassid, Olivier Lombard and Mike Parisy compete in the team’s Audi R8 LMS.
Sebastien Loeb Racing returns to the European Le Mans after competing in two races in 2012, which saw the team take a podium finish at the 6 Hours of Le Castellet.
“We are approaching this first round with much humility,” said Technical Director Léo Thomas. “We are happy to come back to prototype competition, we want to do well and everybody is very motivated. That being so, it is all about returning to LM P2 and we know how difficult and demanding that class is. This is not a dress rehearsal because we are already in the competition and there are some important points to score. But there will also be many discoveries for the team to handle. We will be one of those teams competing with two drivers only in LM P2 : therefore Vincent and Jan will benefit from more time on the track and will get even more familiar with the car. Perhaps it will also offer us a little bit more freedom strategy wise. In theory we have some assets, we will have to make a good use of them quickly so that we can be in the game straight away. We want to achieve a good place on the ranking. It is an important kickoff and the 24 Hours of Le Mans are in our sights.”
The team will be entering the GTC class of the ELMS for the first time, despite competing in GT competition since 2011. It was also be the first time the team has run an Audi R8 LMS ultra.
“Things are a little different with the Audi” continued Thomas. “We have all the assets needed to aim for a good result, a homogeneous trio with unquestionable qualities, a car that has shown its capacity and a fast technical team in the pit. However we have to take into account the performance balance, we will find out more in Silverstone.”
“We have had the time to prepare the season well, driving lots and lots during test sessions” added Parisy, 2009 French GT3 Champion and 2011 European GT3 runner-up. “Test sessions have gone well, even though the official tests have left us a little uncertain regarding the performance balance for the first race. I definitely trust both the team and my teammates : we will start off strongly and will give the maximum in order to achieve a great result. I like the Silverstone circuit, I have often been successful there. It is a nice layout, with a succession of fast turns which can suit the Audi R8 LMS ultra’s chassis. That track really allows drivers to express their full potential. Henry, Olivier and I are getting to know each other and we are currently gathering momentum. The three of us are great competitors, just like the team is, and I think that those mindsets can lead us to big things!”
Alongside its ELMS commitments, Sebastien Loeb Racing will also be competing in the French GT Championship and the Porsche Carrera Cup France.