Hong Kong-based KCMG has taken its first ever victory in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which in turn has also translated to be the first victory for the new Oreca 05 chassis.
In what was a truly dominant display by the squad, they were fastest in Free Practice, secured Pole Position in the LMP2 class and went on to drive a nearly flawless and controlled race to secure the win against a very competitive field of 18 other class entries. This also marks the first win for the Oreca built 05 chassis in an FIA WEC event. In fact, the only repair needed was a change of an illumination panel at half distance.
Class polesitter Richard Bradley hailed the team’s performance: “I dedicated our pole position to my uncle who passed away earlier this week and I’d like to do the same now, so this win’s for you, Jimmy. Credit to my mum for staying here and supporting me; I’m just glad I was able to reward her. As for the race, it was a very surreal experience starting the Le Mans 24 Hours and then enjoying a fun battle over the opening hour or two. I also raced for the first time in the dark without floodlights, which took a little getting used to, and then dealt with the sunrise before coping with the slight drizzle having had very little sleep! It was important to control our advantage, which is quite mentally tough to do, but that’s what makes Le Mans so special. It’s been a dream of mine to win this since I was a kid. It’s overwhelming really, especially as we’ve also scored maximum double points and moved into the WEC drivers’ championship lead. The perfect weekend.”
Matt Howson paid tribute to the team’s progress made in the past two years: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed with winning here in Le Mans and so proud of everyone at KCMG! We first arrived here in 2013 and two years later we’re on the top step of the podium – it’s a massive credit to Paul Ip and the team he’s built around us. Big thanks to our engineer Greg Wheeler, too. There was lots of action in the race but he responded really well to everything and kept the car in the lead for pretty much the whole distance, so I’m really thrilled. Also, a massive thanks to my team-mates Richard and Nico who drove absolutely flawlessly. I think we’ll enjoy this for a long, long time!”
Nicolas Lapierre praised his team-mates and the team for all their hard work that brought them success: “I’m very happy for the team. They’ve made so much progress since the start of the year, and for KCMG to win Le Mans – and in such dominant fashion, too – in their third season racing here is also amazing. The race was tougher than it perhaps looked because the competition was so strong and unrelenting in their pursuit. But I’m so proud of Richard, Matt and the entire team for winning here; it’s a huge achievement, especially with the new car from ORECA that not only performed exceptionally well all week but also gave us no mechanical or technical problems throughout the 24 hours. Honestly, that’s really incredible.”