Pierre Fillon has traded his officer’s cap for a helmet, as the ACO President is driving in this weekend’s VdeV Endurance Series race at Estoril. (En Français)
The Frenchman has joined Jacques Nicolet and his son Pierre at the wheel of an OAK Racing-entered Ligier JS P3 for the season-ending six-hour race.
“It’s a pleasure to be here,” Fillon told Endurance-Info following Friday’s first free practice session.
“I had the opportunity to test the car here a few weeks ago on the same track but the conditions were different.
“I still have to [things to learn] but it’s a lot of fun to drive.”
Fillon makes his first VdeV start in more than five years, after recently taking part in test sessions, both in the Ligier as well as the Ginetta LMP3 during the 24 Hours of Le Mans week in June.
“This reinforces the credibility of the LMP3 [platform] launched by the ACO,” Fillon said. “The Ligier JS P3 is an easy car to drive. It’s a real racing car that’s gives real pride to drive.
“My last appearance in competition dates back to the late 2000s in a Norma, also at Estoril. This morning allowed me to understand the traffic with the GT cars, which was not an easy task because the track was still wet.
“It was not a question for me to throw myself into the corners with GT cars approaching. The visibility in the car is very good and the cockpit temperatures are bearable. I will not hide my pleasure!”
Given his busy schedule, Fillon is not expected to contest a full season, even if the desire is there.
“When you get a taste of motorsport, it becomes addictive,” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to run an entire championship. To do this, I’d have to be even more physically fit!”
Fillon is not the only President to run this weekend in Estoril, as his opposition includes Manuel Breyner, who heads the Portuguese Automotive Federation. Breyner has made several previous starts at Le Mans.
Critics say that it’s not normal for the ACO President to be driving a Ligier, a brand that’s present in ACO-labeled championships, although Fillon has expressed interest to also test the new ADESS-03.