Eurasia Motorsport team principal Mark Goddard doubted whether he and his Asian-based crew would have made it to Spa for this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship round amid the “extremely difficult” travel restrictions.
The Filipino squad is competing in Saturday’s Total 6 Hours of Spa with its Ligier JS P217 Gibson as part the build up to next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in the highly competitive LMP2 class.
The team is set to be one of the very few Asian-crewed outfits at Le Mans and is the only team that has flown from the severely travel-restricted continent for this weekend’s WEC round.
Goddard credited the ACO for its assistance in getting his team to Belgium.
“It was extremely difficult especially with all of these travel restrictions that now exist around the world,” he told Endurance-Info.
“We needed the help of the ACO and that is what they did at the government level. They got travel exemptions for us.
“A lot of things happened at the last minute. We even doubted it until we got on the plane from Manila and took off. It was borderline [until] the stewards closed the door.
“Anyway, I want to thank the ACO; they did a fantastic job for us.”
Goddard said its Ligier had been stored in a warehouse in Europe since its arrival from the season-ending 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series round in February, in anticipation for the Spa event, which was originally scheduled for May.
“That was the easiest part,” he said of the car’s logistics. “The hardest part was rebuilding the car entirely because between the end of the Asian season, the transport and spending so much time in a warehouse did not help matters.
“So we had a lot of work to do. We are based in the Ligier factory in Le Mans; it is really well equipped and pleasant.”
The team has underwent multiple driver lineup changes ahead of this weekend, with Nick Foster replacing the travel-stricken Daniel Gaunt, who along with Roberto Merhi are only currently confirmed for Spa.
Goddard said that a decision on Nobuya Yamanaka’s co-drivers for Le Mans will likely have to be made by early next week.
Shane van Gisbergen had initially been confirmed for Le Mans, along with Nick Cassidy, although both are unable to leave Australia and Japan, respectively, due to their primary racing commitments in Virgin Australia Supercars and Super GT.
Goddard, meanwhile, said he and the team will remain in Europe through Le Mans, working out of Ligier’s base.
“We are going to take advantage of this time to prepare the car well for Le Mans because there is a lot to do,” he said.
“I’m touching wood, but I hope we don’t have to rebuild the car after this round. We will try to relax a little, but sightseeing is not on the agenda with the current health situation.”
David Bristol contributed to this report