Besides being a busy businessman, Francois Perrodo has an equally loaded schedule as a driver this year, with programs in the FIA WEC, European Le Mans Series, plus a few one-offs in other championships. (En Français)
Last weekend, the Frenchman was at the Blancpain Endurance Series round at Paul Ricard, where he walked away with a third place finish in the Gentlemen Trophy in a Villorba Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
Within a week, Perrodo will take part in the Avon Tyres British GT Championship round at Spa with Emmanuel Collard, a meeting which will serve as preparation for this month’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Before that, he will return to ELMS competition at the Red Bull Ring before taking part in the next round of the FIA WEC at Circuit of The Americas in September.
Needless to say, Perrodo has a passion for motorsports and is working at a high level. Endurance-Info caught up with Perrodo to get his thoughts on a variety of topics.
After a season in ELMS with ProSpeed Competition, you took the next step into the FIA WEC. Has it met your expectations?
“It’s very satisfying to be able to do it within Rudi Pender’s team and share my driving with Manu (Collard) and Matthieu (Vaxiviere). The championship has met my expectations even though our Porsche 911 GT3 RSR is down compared to the competition.
“We were two seconds off [the pace] at Spa, which does not make it easy. But we do our race. Nevertheless, Spa was a good meeting for us, even though we finished far enough down.
“I have no regrets for having taken the step to the FIA WEC. It’s ideal for learning and I hope we will be there in time.
“The idea is to rent a Porsche 911 RSR for the Austin meeting” (the car used by Dempsey Racing-Proton at Le Mans)
How was the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
“At Le Mans, we had a Porsche ‘art car’ which was the Proton Competition ELMS car from last season. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the finish but it was always a pleasure to drive at Le Mans.
“Two years ago, I was present there as a spectator and I told myself that I’d be there as a driver one day. And now I have done two races there.
“The week was intense but I knew what to expect this year, so it was a lot easier to manage stress. Matthieu couldn’t drive with us, so we had Markus (Palttala), which was a nice addition.
“Markus, who was suggested by Rudi, is a very good Silver. Between Manu and Markus, they have no less than 80 endurance race starts between them. Matthieu will be back beginning in Austin.”
The focus now is on the Le Mans Classic…
“Yes but this is different because there won’t be any LMP1-H cars behind you at high speed! We’re going to run three cars with my friends Manu Collard and Seb Crubile.
“It will be a different atmosphere, but I really appreciate the historic cars. The philosophy is different.”
You made the switch to AF Corse in the ELMS. Why switch mid-season?
“Yes, we will continue this season but with a change, and that’s key. Manu and I will drive an AF Corse Ferrari alongside Yannick Mallegol.
“We thought long and hard about this before making the change but the idea is to return to the front stage and the Ferrari seems more appropriate.
“The Crubile Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which we started the season with, has since been used at Le Mans under the ProSpeed colors after their car was crashed by a U.S. driver. Unfortunately, Seb could not take part in the race, which was a shame as he knew the car.
“It was a crazy story as everyone thought the team would withdraw because the car was too damaged. The mechanics did a good job to get the car on track.”
What’s next for Francois Perrodo? LMP2?
“I don’t want to cut corners! It’s true that a test in a LMP2 would not displease me. However, I’m only in my third season of professional racing.
“I have improved a lot in GT and have closed the gap to Manu. Gradually it’s getting better but it still lacks a little bit!”