After four years of working up the prototype racing ladder, the Swiss squad arrived at the Circuit de la Sarthe for its first 24 Hours where the team had to adapt to a condensed scheduled, which included no prior Test Day to prepare the cars and two rookie drivers for the demanding, high-speed 13.626-kilometre circuit.
Lapierre qualified 12th in class and took the start of the 88th running of the world’s greatest motor race, before co-drivers Coigny and Borga consolidated their position and settled into the race. Some misfortunate did befall the #42 crew, with two punctures during the night and a precautionary brake change on Sunday slowing their progress. However, combining their experience of the earlier World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series races, they persevered with a mistake-free run throughout the race.
After Borga and Lapierre shared night running duties, moving up as high as fifth in class, Coigny was back behind the wheel in the morning for his final stint. The Swiss racer executed all that he learnt since driving a prototype car for the first time in 2016 with clean laps.
Completing the 365th and final lap, Lapierre met the chequered flag seventh in class and as the top Bronze car for the third consecutive WEC event. As the fourth best full season entry, and with double points on offer for Le Mans, COOL Racing now sits fourth in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams.
The team will now prepare for the season finale in Bahrain on 14 November, aiming to end its maiden WEC campaign on a high, as well as the last two rounds of the European Le Mans Series in Monza (11 October) and Portimao (1 November).
Alexandre Coigny: “A crazy weekend with so many emotions. It’s been great to finally discover this mad event, I didn’t realise the impact it would have on me. We had a good race, error-free and the team prepared an incredible car. Nico and Antonin drove fantastically during the night while I was lucky to take the more civilised hours and our strategy worked well. We ended up in a position we didn’t expect. Our first goal was to finish but we’ve also scored best bronze again and the top 10 in class. There were tears in my eyes as we finished, utterly amazing.”
Antonin Borga: “It went by much quicker than I expected! You think it will last forever but everything happened so fast. Nico and I did strong stints during the night, the car felt great. There was a lot of pressure on us to make the finish, but the team did an extraordinary job and it’s fantastic to see the culmination of all our hard work. Crossing the line is a success in itself and finishing seventh out of 24 cars is amazing. I’ve made some great memories that will stay with me forever.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “A super result for the team and a fantastic achievement after all our hard work. The car went the entire race without any issues, we changed the brakes with two hours to go just to be safe but otherwise it was faultless. My team-mates did an incredible job, despite this being a more challenging edition of the 24 Hours with the condensed schedule and it being their first time at this race. We were able to push Alex for six stints and he drove very cleanly, then Antonin during the night. I’m very proud of them and the team. We have learnt so much and I hope we can come back even stronger, but this result is like a win for us.”
Patrick Barbier, Team Principal: “Between the Michelin Le Mans Cup and the 24 Hours, it’s been an exceptional weekend for COOL Racing. Seventh in LMP2 for our first attempt, with a team which did not have much experience at this level and had never done Le Mans, two rookie drivers, it’s sensational. A very smooth race with no mistakes from anybody, it all fell into place. We decided to play it safe with the brakes as they can be tricky towards the end and we had never done a race this long, so we changed the front discs, especially as there was nothing to be gained by staying out. This result is a fantastic reward for everybody who has worked with Alex since 2016 when we first targeted doing Le Mans together. It’s great to have such a result.”
Source. RACING SPIRIT OF LÉMAN/Photo. Matthias Schrütt/racefilm.de