For Benoit Morand, the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue was an emotional yet highly promising event.
The Team SARD-Morand principal was able to put a difficult few weeks behind him as he unveiled the two Morgan Evo LMP2 cars that the team will campaign in the FIA WEC this year. While doubts had been cast over the project’s viability during the winter, Morand was relieved to announce Kairos Technologies as the team’s new owner, ensuring that his joint project with Hideki Noda’s famous SARD outfit could come to fruition.
“Let me be honest, It was very difficult with a lot of pressure and hard working involved,” Morand told TCF. “But we are dealing with some very professional and passionate people at Kairos Technologies, and in the end it [the deal] is an immense satisfaction.”
“We are very confident about the potential of our cars, drivers and the team in general,” he added. “Now we are in the FIA WEC, the competition will be tough, but we have our chances for the podium and hopefully wins.”
On track, driving duties were shared between Team SARD Morand’s six drivers, with Christian Klien, Koki Saga and Zoel Amberg driving the #39 Morgan Evo LMP2 and Pierre Ragues, Tristan Vautier and Oliver Webb each gaining track time in the #43 machine.
Former Red Bull F1 driver Klien stole the headlines on Friday afternoon when he set the fastest lap of the session. The Austrian’s 1m 48.325s was three tenths quicker than the G-Drive Racing Ligier of Sam Bird in second, and the ninth best time of the Prologue.
After dedicating much of the Friday night session to car maintenance, the team returned for some simulation running on Saturday morning. Dubai 24 Hours winner Webb duly took advantage of the rising track temperatures to record a best of 1m 48.022s, which held out as the fifth quickest time of the event.
After a tumultuous last few weeks, Team SARD Morand ended the Prologue in a crucially stable position. Now with an owner, a competitive car and six world class drivers the Japanese-Swiss squad has set itself up for an ambitious but promising FIA WEC season. Morand is pleased with the work, and already has one eye on the team’s long term future.
“We have a long term partnership with SARD, and our ambition is to race in the LMP1 category quickly,” he told TCF. “But we do not want to burn the steps, so for now we are very much focused on the 2015 season.”
Team SARD-Morand will make its race debut at the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 12.