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Todt: Overall Le Mans Podium for LMP2 Cars “Great for Racing”

FIA President Jean Todt happy to see LMP2s hit overall Le Mans podium…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

FIA President Jean Todt believes having two LMP2 cars finish on the overall podium in last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was “great for racing”, breaking away from the expected LMP1 dominance at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Jackie Chan DC Racing scored a 1-2 finish in the LMP2 class with its Nos. 38 and 37 Oreca 07 Gibsons respectively, as well as finishing second and third overall in the race after all six of the LMP1 cars hit trouble across the course of the French endurance classic.

While the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid was able to battle back from an early issue that forced it to spend an hour in the garage and win the race by aone lap, the success of the LMP2 cars came as a huge shock to the paddock at Le Mans.

It marked the first time that an LMP2 car had led overall in the race, as well as being the first mixed class podium since 1995.

“I think it’s great for racing. It demonstrates again that racing is unpredictable and that’s good,” Todt told reporters at the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva on Tuesday.

“That’s one of the specificities of a 24-hour race, which is good. You know, very often, people are complaining [about] domination, we know the result. Here, nobody would have expected this kind of result.

“I think it’s great for racing. Some teams, some drivers, you’ve never heard of them. I’m very happy for my friend Jackie Chan, second and third today. It had been a thrilling recovery from Porsche, so a great race.”

Porsche’s victory came in the wake of speculation that it could be set to quit LMP1 at the end of the year, raising questions about the long-term future of the class.

However, Todt has no concerns about it, believing there should be more focus on the success of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“Why should we always be worrying? We should be enthusiastic,” Todt said when asked if he was worried that Porsche could leave.

“Something that’s very frustrating is this negativity, always. Are we worrying? No. Why should I be worried?

“It’s fantastic. We had no endurance championship a few years ago. Now we have a World Endurance Championship.

“Of course I worry, I worry every day, it’s in my nature, that we don’t do enough. Of course, we hope that as many competitors will join all the championships.”

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA announced its planned LMP1 regulations for 2020 on Friday, chiefly focusing on cost cutting and greater electrification in a bid to attract more manufacturers to the class.

Todt said he’s happy with the collective effort that went into forming the regulations, believing the changing nature of mobility on the road as well as on the track to be key in their formation.

“Those regulations, it’s kind of a team result,” he said. “Manufacturers were involved, potentially who could be involved, the teams of the promoter, the ACO, and the FIA people.

“That’s what came out, so I think it demonstrates again there is a need to have a vision with new technology. The world is changing and clearly manufacturers, they want to take that on board.

“I was very impressed when I saw all the advertising of Toyota, which probably were expecting a better result than what they achieved. It’s ‘Toyota’, [written the] same size [as] ‘Hybrid’.

“It demonstrates that one of the two or three biggest manufacturers in the world, they are claiming hybridization on their car.

“How will you expect those people to be involved in motor racing with an aspirated car of 30 years ago? It’s the way things are moving.”

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.


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