Armindo Retires from Driving: “I No Longer Want to Fight the System”

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Two-time European Le Mans Series class champion Nicolas Armindo has decided to hang up his helmet, largely due to the “discriminatory” policies of driver ratings and Balance of Performance that has ridden sports car racing in recent years. (En Français)

“I’ve only lived for motorsport but I no longer want to fight against the system,” Armindo told Endurance-Info.

The 34-year-old Frenchman, a former Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion, had been touted as one of Europe’s most promising GT racing talents nearly a decade ago, having been closely linked with Porsche through the years.

While never having secured a factory drive with the German manufacturer, Armindo, a Gold-rated driver by the FIA, admitted he’s faced challenges in just being able to find a competitive ride, due to the evolving landscape of the sport.

“You have to be in the right car and co-drivers to have good results,” he said. “You have to have a good BoP, otherwise you’re not able to showcase yourself.

“It’s like Rafael Nadal playing with 5kg on his wrist. It’s discriminating. We cannot find it in any other sport.

“I started in a Porsche 996 Cup, where we had to do the heel-toe. The 996 Cup car was fitted with slick [tires]. The car was very hard to drive but I managed to do well.

“There, a driver without money could be noticed. Today, it’s no longer possible.

“Take the example of Olivier Pla, who certainly is one of best endurance drivers in the world. How long did it take for him to be recognized at his fair value?”

Armindo argues that driver ratings in Pro-Am-enforced classes has come as a detriment to professional drivers like himself that have been trying to make a living in the sport.

“There are too many Gold drivers that no longer have rides,” he said. “Gold drivers are being asked to pay for a ride and Silvers are being paid.

“It highlights that the drivers who have the least [amount] of experience and others remain on the sidelines. The teams are seeking the quickest Bronze and Silver-rated drivers.

“If I were a Silver, I would be paid to race in the U.S. or Europe.

“There are more challenges but as a competitor, I like challenges… But I have given enough time, energy and money, that I too have gone without recognition… Gold is no longer valued.”

The former IMSA Performance driver, who finished 2nd in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012, says BoP is also ruining the sport.

“The system in place is discriminatory and arbitrary,” Armindo said. “How can you ask a driver not to go too fast early in the season so the manufacturer is not penalized by BoP?

“This is [currently] the case in Europe and the U.S. and among all manufacturers.

“The organizers are doing what they can to monitor things. Does a driver lift his foot voluntarily not to be a champion because a title can change [BoP]?

“A title can change the future of the driver, not only for the BoP. If you win the title as a Silver, you will be Gold the next season. So for this reason, it’s better to loose the title.

“I agree in principle that BoP is needed but only if everything is transparent and those who do not show the full potential are penalized.”

Armindo, who since 2010 has run a business in France alongside his racing commitments in order to stay involved in the sport, said he’s going to turn his attention to that and his family before potentially considering a return to the motorsports world.

“I’ve been a dad or six months and I’m going to enjoy my family,” he said. “I still have many years of work ahead of me. We’ll see later for motorsport.”

23 Comments

  1. someone

    March 1, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Sometimes life isn’t fair, but it was kind enough to give you a pro career even if it is one where you didn’t achieve a championship caliber ride. Most people would be quite happy with that in itself.

    • Georg

      March 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      He won a few championships. Now he says the spirit of the sports has gone ass backwards. And he is completely right.

      • someone

        March 1, 2017 at 2:05 pm

        or being a massive sore loser, he’s a gold rated driver, that means there are are dozens of more capable drivers in those factory rides he is bitching that he didn’t get.

        • bakkster

          March 1, 2017 at 8:35 pm

          And dozens of similarly capable silver drivers getting paid as professionals but not rated as such. The reason they have jobs instead of any gold driver is that the FIA decided they were officially amateurs.

          It would be whining if everyone was on the same playing field, but as a result of a beaurocratic list he’s not. He’s far from the only drive to speak up about it, including many drivers with factory rides.

    • Tyler

      March 1, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Pretty sure that’s not his point.

      • Tyler

        March 1, 2017 at 8:59 pm

        I meant that for “someone’s” original comment.

  2. Max

    March 1, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Loser.

  3. Dan

    March 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    This just reeks of him being a sore loser. There are plenty of people out there without rides who just keep trying to get one not throw in the towel because they haven’t landed a factory deal. He’s basically demanding he be allowed to go into a AM class and beat them to show off his talent.

    I’d say this kind of pointless whining has no place on this site but John has made his dislike of BOP and driver rating obvious.

    • someone

      March 1, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      exactly the dude either isn’t capable or willing to put in the work to be a factory driver that has earned a platinum rank. So he is singing the blues that his skill level only merits him to back marker teams with slow gentleman drivers.

      If he was better he would be hired by either the better gentleman drivers or a factory team, but he isn’t. He should be thankful he is even racing for a living at all.

  4. Lone Star

    March 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I’m not crazy about bop in sports car racing either. Maybe @ Indy. Let those corvettes fun free against those race purpose built ford GT’s. Ford doesn’t need to be racing in that class period. A win @ Daytona big deal. A win @ Le Mans big deal. It wasn’t the overall win like back in 1967. No comparison Ford. A $85K corvette vs $450K ford GT. How is the Ford Mustang fan going to identify with that. What is Mark Fields smoking in Detroit. Ford doesn’t offer a sports car in the corvette market. Plus they only offer 750 for sale over two years to the 1%. The thing sounds like hell on the race track. V6 flat sound no thanks.

    • Redcap

      March 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      I agree! Farting Fords!

    • TF110

      March 1, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      It’s a thousand over 4 years, actually. It’s a halo car, not a regular sportscar. You can hate all you want, but if it continues to win the big races, your complaints look even more worthless. The Vettes would need a bit more work to match the Ford if both ran “free”.

    • BartHoleMy

      March 1, 2017 at 11:24 pm

      Like the corvettes aren’t purpose built race cars. Ha. Plus those assholes won’t let anyone run a corvette in racing for fear of those performing poorly. And GM doesnt allow the German built ones that run in Europe over here either probably because Pratt Miller would eventually lose to one and we couldn’t have that.

    • GTurner38

      March 2, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      I’ll remind you that in 2009, there was no BoP in GT2 at Le Mans. The field was made up of 9 Ferraris, 4 Porsches (all from teams with long ties to the company), an Aston Martin entered by a British cabinet minister and a factory entered Spyker. In short, the people who had a choice almost all drove a Ferrari. The year before it was 7 Ferraris, 3 Porsches, and 2 Spykers. If we eliminate BoP, we’ll see less variety. I’d prefer to see less playing around with BoP, but I don’t want to see GT classes that are 2/3rds one make.

  5. Tim Kapper

    March 1, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    All of you internet racers have zero idea and hide behind your little keyboard with fake names.

    He’s 100% spot on and the Motorsport world needs to take notice. Especially his comments about how it’s impacting BOP.

    Platinum and Gold are not equal levels, and should not be treated equal. Of course a team will take a factory driver over a gold, every day of the week. Platinum drivers don’t need to be paid by the team because the manufacturer is paying them. Plus most brands give the customer teams incentives with with parts, etc when they use a factory driver.

    THIS is what ruins the system as well. So no need to hate on a driver that has a fair point and is a hell of a shoe.

    • someone

      March 1, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      News flash not everyone can be a pro race car driver…… he was lucky enough to get that opportunity but he is quiting because he didn’t get as nice of a cut of the pie as he wanted.

      Some of us internet racers strap are ass in real racecars and race every weekend.. Unlike you.

      • Tim Kapper

        March 2, 2017 at 12:35 am

        I believe you’re missing the complete point of this article.. He’s just asking for an even playing field, especially to the ‘super silvers’ that are floating around in abundance. And ‘lucky enough’ is also a false statement. A lot of hard work goes into achieving the results he has on his CV.

        Strapping into a race car every weekend doesn’t mean anything. He could do the same if he’s willing to drive for $0. Just a news flash for ya

        • someone

          March 2, 2017 at 8:25 am

          Okay keyboard warrior, keep sitting in your safe little arm chair.

          • Mike Dincolo

            March 2, 2017 at 10:38 am

            You’re butt hurt dude.

    • GTurner38

      March 2, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      What’s the solution if you want to have race series that cater to amateur drivers? If there are no driver ratings, then you are just crossing your fingers and hoping no one shows up in LMP2 with 3 factory drivers or telling people in Blancpain that they will be racing for 10th if they bring a wealthy gentleman driver. I get that it sucks to be too good to be considered an amateur without being as good as the other professional drivers, but that’s going to happen at some point no matter what they do. If they turn the sneaky silvers into golds, that would just be more drivers fighting for the same number of seats. If the golds are allowed to take the amateur seat in LMP2 or the non-bronze amateur seat in GTE-Am, it would just make it less attractive to the actual gentleman drivers.

  6. Mike S.

    March 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I don’t know. He shouldn’t give up so in that respect he’s being a bit sore but I think he is right because the silvers are in demand more than the golds and that is because of the system (pro/am). He will probably be back in a year or 2 so I wouldn’t be surprised. Just keep plugging away and maybe some would call upon you. With this though those calls might be even fewer.

  7. Alex

    March 2, 2017 at 4:19 am

    For sure the system if wrong now!

  8. Hamilton_P2_2017

    March 2, 2017 at 4:53 am

    “He’s giving up too early.” – People who haven’t been fighting the struggle firsthand for 10 years.

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