Marcel Fassler said it was “difficult to take” his early end to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in what was a race to forget as a whole for Corvette Racing.
The Pratt & Miller-run squad, making its 20th Le Mans start, saw both of its Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs face on-track incidents, most notably a violent accident by Fassler in Hour 6 that eliminated the No. 64 car from the race.
The Swiss driver was tagged by the No. 88 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Satoshi Hoshino in the Porsche Curves, sending the GTE-Pro contender hard into the wall and bringing out the race’s second safety car period.
While Fassler climbed from the car under his own power, he was transported to a local hospital for a CT scan, which turned out negative.
“It was a tough weekend for us,” Fassler said. “It definitely was not what we were hoping for. It was an early end to our day.
“Unfortunately I got hit by a GTE Am driver that took me out and I hit the barrier quite hard.
“For us the race was over. I’m happy Corvette is the safest GT car we have in the field. Every system worked well and I have no issues… feeling well even though the impact was hard.
“It is difficult to take.”
Fassler was deemed responsible for the incident by race officials, having received six FIA behavioral warning points and a €7,000 ($7,900) fine for “causing a collision.”
Hoshino, meanwhile, elected to stand down from driving after the Corvette clash, having been involved in another incident earlier in the race.
It’s unclear if Corvette Racing has appealed the decision, although team manager Ben Johnson said he felt Fassler became a casualty of a driver who wasn’t “completely aware” of his surroundings.
“We talked a lot about it and how [the ACO] came to that conclusion but you can’t see inside their minds and they have the best interest of the sport in mind, but you tend to disagree unless it’s pretty clearly your fault, right?” Johnson told Sportscar365.
Corvette’s day went from bad to worse 14 hours later when Jan Magnussen spun at the Porsche Curves and was forced to the garage for suspension repairs.
The car lost two laps as a result of replacing one of the No. 63 car’s control arms and relegated Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller to a ninth place class finish.
It came after a class-leading run by all three drivers, which had gone Corvette’s way in the latter stages despite a few ill-timed safety car periods early in the running.
Status of No. 64 Corvette Chassis Unclear
Johnson said that the status of the No. 64 Corvette chassis was unclear as of Sunday evening, but is confident the team will be ready as a two-car effort for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in two weeks’ time.
“We haven’t looked at it in depth yet,” Johnson said post-race. “They took it to parc ferme so it sits there until tomorrow morning.
“We’ll take a look at it tomorrow and see what we need to do for Watkins Glen.
“We have a spare car so if needs be, we can dust it off and update it to make sure it’s the right spec and up and running.
“A little bit more work for the guys, for sure, but we’ll be there at Watkins Glen, no doubt.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report