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Road to Le Mans

ASP Team Boss Policand to Drive for WRT Alongside Rossi

Jerome Policdand “grateful” to receive call from WRT boss to drive in Road to Le Mans…

Photo: Akkodis ASP

Akkodis ASP team principal Jerome Policand will drive for rival outfit Team WRT in next month’s Road to Le Mans as the co-driver to former MotoGP star Valentino Rossi.

Policand and Rossi will share the No. 46 BMW M4 GT3 in the pair of 55-minute Michelin Le Mans Cup races that form part of the support bill for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Policand’s team, Auto Sport Promotion, won last year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup title and the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa.

Its long-time GT racing opponent WRT captured a third consecutive GTWC Europe Sprint Cup drivers’ title in its final season with Audi before switching to BMW machinery.

The Michelin Le Mans Cup regulations require each GT3 lineup to include a Bronze-rated driver. Former professional racer Policand fits that description and was recently contacted by WRT team principal Vincent Vosse to organize the drive alongside Rossi.

“Vincent called me three days ago and asked me if I am available to do Road to Le Mans with Valentino,” Policand told Sportscar365.

“I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ And he said no. What can I reply? I asked AMG and they said yes [considering] it is just for me and I’m not involved in [an ASP] team program.

“It’s typically Vincent Vosse. We are close friends since 20 years. Even if we fight together every weekend, we have a lot of respect. I am very grateful that he thought about me.”

Before entering team ownership and management, Policand competed at Le Mans 13 times and took three class podiums, including a second place in GT1 aboard a Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R in 2010.

The 58-year-old has continued to race sporadically alongside his leadership role and recently drove an Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in the 12 Hours of Mugello.

“On a late call I did Mugello because my gentleman driver was doing it and because it was a 12-hour race, they asked me to be there as a support driver,” he said.

“I’m happy to do it because I’m not so rusty. Otherwise, it could have been difficult, but it should be OK.”

Opportunities for Policand to test the BMW M4 GT3 will be limited as Akkodis ASP and Team WRT work through busy summer racing programs in GTWC Europe and elsewhere.

His last outings in a BMW came when he drove an Alpina-built B6 GT3 in the 2009 French GT season finale and one of the 2010 FIA GT3 European Championship rounds.

“The only possibility we’ve got is during the official [24 Hours of Spa] test,” said Policand.

“But I told Vincent that it’s a very important day for them. If I can drive four or five laps just to get to grips with everything… but it’s not completely guaranteed.

“It’s the only possibility we have because we are racing almost every weekend. I don’t think it’s day and night between the BMW and the Mercedes. I’m sure it’s a great car and it’s a great team. I’m an old-school driver: if you get the feeling after two laps, it’s OK.”

Policand described the opportunity to return to Le Mans as a “gift” to be enjoyed but also suggested that he and Rossi could form a potent pairing in the 20-car GT3 category.

“The pace he has this year is amazing,” Policand noted.

“At Bathurst, he was one of the quickest in the BMW and at Monza he was able to be with the best during the first stint. I think he is on it now.

“If I am OK, for sure the car will be in the front. But no stress. I try to do my best.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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