Competitive pace but bad luck for Racing Experience on Le Mans debut
Monday 17th June 2019, Le Mans.
Luxembourg-based team Racing Experience made their Le Mans debut this week as part of the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
The double-header event is the headline race on the calendar and takes place on the iconic La Sarthe circuit. The full season Michelin Le Mans Cup entry were joined by other LMP3 and GT3 cars from around the world to make it the largest grid on the 2019 Michelin Le Mans Cup calendar – racing at speeds up to 290kph.
Joining the Racing Experience team for the first time, French driver Nicolas Melin partnered David Hauser in the No. 11 Norma M30 LMP3 car.
Despite a strong start to the season, which placed the team in seventh position in the championship going in to this race, the team suffered from bad luck throughout the week at the notoriously challenging circuit.
In the first race of the weekend, the Racing Experience car was struck from behind on the second lap, forcing Melin to pit with damage. The team worked quickly to repair the car but rejoined the action one lap down and suffering from a loss in performance.
As the morning of the 24 Hours of Le Mans dawned, the drivers lined up for the second race of the Road to Le Mans event. After a strong qualifying performance in which Melin earned a starting position of P5, the team were optimistic of a strong result.
A frenetic start to the race caused a chain reaction of collisions into the first corner, causing Melin’s car to spin to avoid contact and put him towards the back of the pack. Suffering from damage to the front, rear and side of the car, the team made the decision to retire from the race.
Christian Hauser, Racing Experience Team Principal said:“This was a big week for us as we made our team debut at Le Mans. It was not the easiest beginning to the week, as we had a driver change at the last minute but we worked very well together all week. We were so unlucky in qualifying, with yellow flags and slow zones stopping us get any clear laps. It was unbelievable.”
“I am sorry that David did not get the full Le Mans experience as in race one the damage to the car made it impossible to drive competitively, and in race two the car was too damaged in the opening laps for us to continue running. We know from previous races just how competitive we are when we have a clean race. Our strategy for the remaining rounds will be to avoid damage and unlock the potential of both drivers over the full race distance.”
David Hauser, Racing Experience driver said:“Of course, we are disappointed to have suffered bad luck on the opening laps of both races, but we can be optimistic about the pace that we showed. From race to race, our pace is very competitive, and we just need a clean weekend once again to see the results that we deserve. This is still our first season in this championship and the first time at this circuit, can be very proud to be showing some of the very experienced teams how much potential we have.”
Nicolas Melin, Racing Experience driver said:“It’s always difficult to accept such bad luck. We were on the pace all week and I’m very happy to have qualified in P5 and give us the best chance I could to recover from race one, but it wasn’t to be. Thank you to the whole Racing Experience team for the opportunity to race again at this circuit. I am proud of our performance but frustrated that we ran out of luck in both races.”
The championship resumes in one month in Barcelona. The fifth round of the season kicks off at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on July 20.