French Team TDS Racing has entered the 2018/2019FIA WEC Super Season as well as three European Le Mans Series races in 2018. For this reason, the team was present at Le Castellet for the last ten days, first of all to meet all the WEC competitors during the Prologue and then for the ELMS season launch test. During four full days of hard testing, François Perrodo, Loïc Duval and Matthieu Vaxivière worked on the car’s setting and the team was ready to start their 2018 race season.
With Matthieu Vaxivière’s very good session, the #33 ORECA07 was to start the race from the first row thanks to a second fastest lap in qualifying. The team ends at the 2nd place, nevertheless, it was not a simple and easy racing…
François Perrodo started the race and was in the middle of Gold and Platinium experimented pilots, such as Memo Rojas (Gold – IDEC Sport), Nicolas Lapierre (Paltinuim Dragonspeed), Norman Nato (Gold Racing Engineering) or Pierre Ragues (Silver – Duqueine Engineering)… Not an easy one for our Bronze driver, knowing that, in addition, he was touched by another competitor in Turn 3. But François kept high and stayed strong, and eventually found his own rhythm, even though he had lost some ten places. He managed a very good double stint and brought the car back safe to the pit, before handing it over to Loïc Duval after some 40 laps. Starting from 13th position Loïc did his very best to come back to the leading pack, and even if the Safety Car – deployed to rebuilt the guardrails after an accident – was of some help, he completed a fantastic stint and handed the ORECA #33 to Matthieu in P5. Native from Limoges, Matthieu Vaxivière started then a incredible stint continuing Loïc’s work and climbing his way back up. Until his very last lap, he managed to complete the car’s fastest lap in the race. Finally, the TDS Racing trio climbed on the second step of the podium for the first race of the season. A great result for the team who is now looking toward their first WEC Super Season race in Belgium in Mai: The Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
François Perrodo FRA (Bronze): “This race was really the right thing to do for us to start and to prepare for the other ones to come. With all what I have learned here this weekend, I realise that it really was a good decision. First of all I started the race in the middle of a bunch of much more experimented drivers, then I was pushed by a competitor and finally I messed up in the long Signes corner because I did not stay on the right racing line and run wide, that’s where I lost a lot of places in the classification. So, Yes, my start was complicated and I know I have to work on that. But afterwards I maintained the car well on the track, found my own rhythm and Loïc and Matthieu did a fantastic job to bring the car back up. It’s great to be second, but we need to keep concentrated. Last year we did the same in WEC (Silverstone), and we know that we can’t rest on these laurels. The ELMS and WEC races are very different to deal with in terms of traffic. It’s very dense in ELMS, we (the LMP2 category) are the fastest cars on the track and the competition is very very high. I even think that it is harder than in WEC, because of the numerous LMP3. In WEC it’s not the same because the fastest ones are the LMP1 and the way you have to manage the traffic has to be very different. I am very happy to start the season with a podium and I want to thank Loïc and Matthieu for the wonderful job they did. Now see you in Spa, and with all the work we have done here in the last ten days, I can’t wait to race in WEC.”
Loïc Duval FRA (Platinium):“This first race was a very positive experience for all of us. We always have some points to improve of course, but I can only say that François did a great job. Starting the race with much more experimented Gold or Platinium drivers is not easy and he handled it very well in the end. As I was in the car I managed to get back to 5th position. Of course the Safety Car did help a little, but as the race re-started, I was at the back of the LMP2 field and to pass all the competitors was not easy, but the car felt very good and Matthieu finished the job to take the car to the second place. To me, it’s a very good start for the team and we will continue to work that way, not forgetting that the competition is very high in LMP2. The most important thing in endurance racing is to not make any mistake, and we did not make any this weekend. Our aim is to continue this way.”
Matthieu Vaxivière FRA (Gold): “Ok, this result is great and it reminded me our first race last year in WEC, but that’s exactly why we have to be careful. We worked hard these last ten days at Le Castellet, and if the Safety Car did help us rejoin the LMP2 field, our race is the result of a hard team work. We know we still have some things to work on, such as the driver changes or the pit stops. But we are very happy to be the second of 19 LMP2, with a real gentleman driver on board. He did a magnificent job.”
Xavier Combet Team Manager:“What I want to highlight today is the very good preparation work that has been done all over the winter testing, be it the work done by the drivers or by the technical team, engineers and mechanics. This is very positive. We will continue to concentrate on the coming races as this one was just the first of a long series. We had ten hard working days here at Le Castellet and of course we accumulated a lot of data on the cars, but we also accumulated quite some tiredness working late at night and early in the morning. So today’s result a very nice reward for the whole team. The energy as well as the great enthusiasm deployed by François to do better each time is impressive – as a reminder, he is a Bronze driver – and I know this will pay off in the near future. Of course our aim is to prepare for Le Mans 24 Hours, in order to be better prepared this year and all the experience we take in ELMS can only help. In 2017 we were learning how to deal with one another, in 2018 we know how to work and make a better job. We are determined and impatient to be in Spa in three week’s time.”
Source. Mapidu Media/TDS Racing