KC Motor Group Ltd, or KCMG, made a little history in qualifying for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans by claiming both their own maiden pole position at Le Sarthe and also the first pole for the ORECA 05-Nissan LMP2 package. The pole is also the first for any Hong Kong based outfit. Richard Bradley set the time in the first qualifying session on Wednesday night, a 3:38.032, almost a full second faster than the Greaves Motorsport Gibson in second place.
Matt Howson and Nicolas Lapierre, sharing the #47 machine, could not better Bradley’s time in the two incident filled sessions on Thursday. The result gives the team one additional point for pole, putting them in equal second in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The pole was also one bright spot for KCMG’s engine supplier, as the #47 ORECA starts ahead of all three factory Nissan LMP1 entries.
Richard Bradley started with an emotional dedication saying, “First thing’s first, I’d like to dedicate this pole to my uncle Jimmy who unfortunately passed away this morning in San Francisco. So, Jimmy, this is for you. Thank you for being such a great uncle, and kudos to my mum for staying here and being so strong.”
He went on to add, “What can I say? The first pole for the ORECA 05 is at Le Mans! It’s an incredible feeling, the car was great and now we’re looking for the big one. Overall, a great start; couldn’t be better.”
Howson added, “We’re absolutely thrilled with pole position, the first for the ORECA 05, and what a place to do it! I think it’s a real reflection of the whole team’s effort to develop the car in quite a short period of time. We’re happy to have controlled qualifying, and hope we can do the same in the race. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone at KCMG and am really looking forward to Saturday.”
“Obviously it’s been a very good day for the team,” said experienced Le Mans hand Nicolas Lapierre, “which has done a fantastic job to consistently improve the car over the course of and since Test Day. Despite encountering a few issues during this week’s practice and qualifying sessions we’re still very happy to have a fast car at our disposal. Richard and Matt have performed very well and the car seems competitive in all conditions, which is always important at Le Mans. We’ll savour today and look forward to Saturday.”
Paul Ip, KCMG Managing Director was delighted with the result. “It’s been a record-breaking day for us, what with KCMG giving the ORECA 05 its first pole position at Le Mans and also becoming the first Hong Kong team to achieve the feat in any class here. All three drivers have done a fantastic job, but especially Richard whose flying lap put the car on pole. But we’re well aware that there’s still a lot of work to do before Saturday and then during the race itself. This is only the start but hopefully, if we do our best, the team can bring the big one home on Sunday!”
“I’m very happy for KCMG and the whole team of people at ORECA Technology,” said Hugues de Chaunac, President of the ORECA Group. “The pole is not a determining factor at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it’s a strong symbol. We’ve had that success with the ORECA 03 in the past, but we’ve just missed out these last two years. It’s nice to back up front, and even more so because the ORECA 05 is still a new car. After doing well on traditional circuits, this confirms the car’s competitiveness on a unique track. The hardest is yet to come. Le Mans, for such a young prototype, is a difficult challenge and, despite the pole, we have to take it on with a lot of humility. We’re savoring the moment with KCMG and its drivers, but we’re already thinking ahead to the race. Thiriet by TDS Racing is also on the pace and I know the ORECA 03R and Alpine A450b have their own cards to play. Our motivation is equal to the challenge.”