Congratulations on your titles! What is your assessment of your season so far?
“I would say that it was almost perfect, but we did not have any other choice than winning this title. We finished runner-ups of the Pro-Am category in the two last seasons and the decision to go to Gentlemen Trophy came up naturally when we did not manage to keep the same driver line-ups as the previous years. So, when we entered this category we knew that we would not have any excuse not to be at the top because with two bronze and one silver driver in each car we had two strong line-ups! And we have not done any major mistakes. We have scored points at every race and at Spa especially we did a great, disciplined job despite some technical problems at the end of the race. But we were lucky, and we can say that in endurance racing, luck is definitely part of the equation too!”
“I really want to congratulate our drivers Patrice Goueslard, Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jean-Luc Blanchemain, who were a strong trio. A special thanks to Fred Bouvy too, who assisted us so perfectly at Spa. And I would also like to congratulate the whole team. This is the third year in a row that we are on a podium at Spa. It just proves how good and organised we are as a team in strategy and pit work. I believe that I am lucky to have so many good people helping me.”
What do you believe has been SOFREV-ASP’s secret to success this year?
“One of the secrets of as to how we won the titles is that we remained stable throughout the season. It is true that we had a lot of competition from Sport Garage, Kessel Racing, ARC Bratislava and even Aston Martin at Silverstone…but we noticed that those line-ups were not as stable and as consistent as ours. Cohesion is very important in endurance racing.
“As for the second car, even if it did not race in Spa, it went to the podium at Silverstone, which got more points for the team. So, I would say that we were always there, and we did not make any real mistakes. The amount of points that we have today does not really reflect any real domination, but we just scored points at every race!
We see a lot of Ferrari in the Gentlemen Trophy class; do you think this is the best car for this category?
“Indeed, it is something that we have noticed since 2011. Actually we have had a lot of gentlemen drivers racing in this car, and they all felt comfortable right away. Intrinsically, it is not the best car, but it is good everywhere, and does not have major flaws. This is also a car that is not too aerodynamic, so there is no need to force it in the turns and this fits better with the gentlemen drivers. The best example is Jean-Luc Blanchemain, who came back to racing after 4 or 5 years away from the sport. Without knowing the car that well he was good right away! So yes, I really believe that the Ferrari 458 Italia is an advantage in the Gentlemen Trophy category.
Are you looking forward to the final round in Germany at the Nürburgring, or will it be more of a race, without too much pressure and you can enjoy it more?
“Actually, we never had too much pressure this season. We knew that as Gentlemen it would be difficult to race in the middle of 60 other cars, most of which are quicker than us. So, we did not really have big pressure for the results, but more for bringing the car back undamaged. Gentlemen drivers’ race for pleasure, so this is great to win a title, but it is maybe even more important to take part in entertaining races. What is interesting for the Nürburgring is that it will be our first 6-hour race, so we will need a specific strategy, different from the other races. So, we will just forget that we had all that good results, and will try to do our best as if it is the first race!”