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Julian Confirms DragonSpeed’s Le Mans LMP1 Entry

DragonSpeed to go ahead with LMP1 program after Pietro Fittipaldi’s Spa accident…

Photo: MPS Agency

DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian has confirmed that the LMP1 outfit will compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next month, following a heavy accident at the Total Six Hours of Spa that left Pietro Fittipaldi hospitalized. 

Julian announced that he was “satisfied” with the results of investigations carried out by BR Engineering on the Dallara-built BR1 chassis, which was destroyed in the crash.

Ben Hanley, Renger van der Zande and Henrik Hedman will co-drive the American squad’s BR Engineering BR1 Gibson at the FIA World Endurance Championship centerpiece on June 16-17.

“Happy to announce that we’ve decided to continue with our LMP1 program immediately, beginning with Le Mans test day,” Julian said in a video posted on Twitter.

“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].”

Fittipaldi suffered a compound fracture to his right leg and a broken right ankle when he lost control and hit the left-side Eau Rouge barriers at high speed in qualifying for the WEC season-opener.

The 21-year-old Brazilian was taken to Liege hospital for emergency surgery, before flying out to the U.S. to begin his rehabilitation program.

Julian started the video by saying that Fittipaldi is “on the mend” and “being looked at very well in Indianapolis by some of the best on the planet.”

DragonSpeed was initially confirmed for the 24-hours after appearing on the final 60-car entry list issued last week, although the team had yet to clarify its participation.

“We’d like to thank BR Engineering and Dallara for affording us this opportunity to return so quickly,” said Julian.

“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.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Trevor H.

    May 25, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    So what happened that caused the crash at Spa?

    • gp2112

      May 29, 2018 at 9:05 am

      This has been a problem at that part of the track for some time: If the car cuts the corner too tight it runs too far over the rumble strip. This upsets the air under the car and causes the front end to lift. The downforce on the rear wing then tips the car end-over-end.
      As I said at the start of the post: This is nothing new. What makes us talk about it is that a shunt of the type Fittipaldi had are very spectacular and scary.

  2. N8

    May 25, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Glad they’re going to make it. Hope Hedman’s up to the task here.

  3. therandomguy

    May 25, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Good news to see but Toyota will win Le Mans thanks to EOT gate and the ACO love the hybrids. Hopefully they can show their strength.

    • AudiTT

      May 28, 2018 at 7:11 am

      Toyota will run to the same regulations as last year. Only this time they’re forced to reduce stint lengths by 3-4 laps.

      The privateers have been give so many regulation breaks they’ll be upto 10 seconds quicker than previous years. They’ve also been given more fuel per lap meaning they do not need to fuel save in a stint.

      Reliability will determine the winner.

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