The No. 17 IDEC Sport Oreca 07 Gibson has been withdrawn from the 24 Hours of Le Mans following the car’s second accident of the week.
The French-entered, Era Motorsport-assisted effort has been ruled out following Dwight Merriman’s crash entering the Dunlop Curves in Free Practice 3. Merriman was uninjured in the shunt but the car sustained significant damage and missed the remainder of Thursday’s activities.
It came after the team was forced to replace the car’s tub following another accident by Merriman in last weekend’s test day.
Bronze-rated Merriman was due to share driving duties with Ryan Dalziel and late addition Thomas Laurent, who replaced the injured Kyle Tilley in the lineup at the last minute.
“It’s heartbreaking to be pulling out of Le Mans before we even got a chance to race, but I know we’re doing the right thing,” said Era team owner Tilley.
“We had high hopes going into the event, but with a handful of unfortunate events in the span of a few days, this year’s race week has been a constant uphill battle.
“Circuit de la Sarthe demands respect, and we take the speeds and technicality of this track very seriously.
“The low downforce nature of the LMP2 makes it incredibly difficult to drive on the hard Goodyear compound, and the BoP [sic] hasn’t played into our favor either.
“After a last-minute driver swap, a new chassis, and a second on-track incident, we had to make the tough call: If we don’t feel 100 percent confident going into this race, we feel we have the responsibility to our competitors not to run.”
Sportscar365 understands the team had a total of two spare tubs on-site although it is likely to be shared with the sister No. 28 entry of Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Patrick Pilet, which qualified tenth in class.
With IDEC’s withdrawal, it will result in a 61-car starting field for the French endurance classic.