Sausset Racing Team 41 has withdrawn its Garage 56 experimental entry from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, five months before the race.
The French outfit run by quadruple amputee Frederic Sausset had plans to return to the endurance classic after three years away with a crew of disabled drivers.
However, Sausset confirmed on Tuesday that the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the team’s preparations have forced it to postpone its entry.
SRT41 intended to run a specially modified Oreca 07 Gibson for Takuma Aoki, Nigel Bailly and Snoussi Ben Moussa, with operational support from French LMP2 outfit Graff.
The team is now aiming to be on the grid for the 2021 edition of Le Mans and has already made a request to event organizer the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.
Sausset told Endurance-Info that he still plans to enter the SRT41 Oreca into two European Le Mans Series races this year, despite its absence from the 24 Hours.
“Giving up [the entry] for this year is the wisest decision,” he said.
“The current situation has a lot of consequences that we cannot all control. There is also the obvious lack of preparation.
“Such an adventure is essentially based on communication, and taking part in a race in the wake of what we are currently experiencing bothers me. However, we are not turning the page on the project.
“This break will give us more time to find new partners as soon as possible.
“I personally called all the partners to explain the delay and everyone approved of the decision. It is positive to have the support of partners who continue to believe in this adventure.
“It is the biggest decision I have had to make since I got into motorsport in 2015. The desire of partners is intact, which for me is essential.”
The withdrawal of Sausset’s team means that Spirit of Race is now set to enter the main Le Mans field having originally been at the top of the 10-car reserve list.
European Le Mans Series regulars Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott are listed as the drivers of the team’s Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
It means that LMP1 competitor ByKolles Racing Team has been moved up to first reserve, ahead of LMP2 squads IDEC Sport and High Class Racing, while Proton Competition is fourth in line and first of the GTE stand-by entries.