LMP1 DragonSpeed to Race Le Mans

The DragonSpeed #0 LMP1 car will take part in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans
Credit: Craig Robertson

It has been confirmed that the #10 LMP1 DragonSpeed entry will take part in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The LMP1 DragonSpeed car was involved in an incident at the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps earlier this month, where Pietro Fittipaldi had a high-speed crash into the tyre barrier at the top of Eau Rouge. The young Brazilian was air-lifted to hospital where he was treated for two fractured legs and put out of racing for eight weeks.

Heavy speculation followed the incident, in reference to what caused Fittipaldi to lose control of the BR Engineering DALLARA BR1 chassis. BR investigated into the issue with the chassis, which was destroyed in the incident. Team Principal Elton Julian has announced he is “satisfied” with the results and conclusion that BR have presented.

Ben Hanley, Renger van der Zande and Henrik Hedman will be the three drivers to pilot the LMP1 car in it’s first 24-hour race and fight for glory in the blue-ribbon event of the WEC.

Posting a video to Twitter, Julian announced: “Happy to announce that we’ve decided to continue with our LMP1 program immediately, beginning with Le Mans test day. The reason for this is because we’re satisfied with the findings regarding the incident Pietro had at Eau Rouge.

“Everything points to a very obvious problem that can and will be rectified by the manufacturers. This gives us the confidence that we can build a new car and be ready, hopefully, in time for the Le Mans test day [on June 3].”

“We’d like to thank BR Engineering and Dallara for affording us this opportunity to return so quickly; it’s been a very difficult and arduous process to get to this decision. But we feel that we made the right one and we have to go for it.

“For me, personally, I want to thank everybody involved including the team and outside. Racing’s never easy and sometimes it’s extra hard.

“We’ve learned from it and become stronger. We head towards the Le Mans test day with confidence and excitement.”

Julian opened the video by stating that Fittipaldi, who flew back to the U.S. to begin his rehabilitation after being released from the hospital in Belgium, was “on the mend” and “being looked at very well in Indianapolis by some of the best on the planet.”

Fittipaldi was due to race as a rookie in last weekend’s Indy 500 but his WEC crash saw him have to forfeit his seat. Hopefully he will return to his LMP1 DragonSpeed seat in time for August’s 6 Hours of Silverstone.