Status GP forced to retire its Lola from Le Mans 24 Hours with battery failure
June 17, 2012 by
Status Grand Prix has been forced to retire from the Le Mans 24 Hours due to a battery failure that left the car stranded out on the circuit.
The fault, the legacy of an alternator problem a couple of hours earlier, forced Yelmer Buurman to stop the Status GP Lola-Judd B12/80 Coupe on the inside of the circuit just before Mulsanne Corner, just as he was planning to make a pitstop in the 18th hour of the race.
Buurman tried his best to identify and fix the problem, but an hour later the team was forced to declare that it was out of the race, its debut Le Mans 24 Hours.
At the time he stopped Buurman was running 12th in the LMP2 class. It had been a night of attrition all down the pit lane, with Status GP doing a remarkable job to fix its Lola-Judd B12/80 Coupe in just 35 minutes after an accident just before half-distance. There was a further delay just after dawn, with 19 minutes spent replacing the alternator belt.
The team’s young British star Alexander Sims did two further stints after his accident in the night, and ran consistently well before handing over to Frenchman Romain Iannetta. Once again the unfortunate Iannetta spent some time running behind the safety car, but performed some solid stints at the wheel when the track was green.
Then it was Buurman who took over. Shortly after rejoining from the alternator-belt replacement, he set the car’s fastest lap of the race in the 17th hour, a 3m41.976s. He was on his in-lap to hand over to Sims when the car stopped.
Status GP team manager Simon Cayzer said: “The alternator problem that we had earlier ultimately led to a catastrophic battery failure. Due to the homologation regulations for this year we are only allowed to carry one battery. Although we explored every possible opportunity to get going again, it was never going to be achievable with such an instantaneous failure.
“It’s a devastating way to end the race. We’ve had everything thrown at us – we had issues that we solved in the pit garage, we had crash damage and we had some electrical issues, and finally a failure that led to us stopping.
“In between all that we were looking very solid. Yelmer and Alexander had pace that proved there is performance in the car, and Romain was very solid and consistent and got better and better.
“The whole team over the past months has done an incredible job to set up an LMP2 entry to compete in the European Le Mans Series and run at Le Mans. We came to the biggest race in the world and to be competitive is incredibly rewarding.
“Thanks to everyone who supported us, and those who came out to be with the team. It’s a shame we couldn’t achieve our goal of a podium, but we just have to regroup for the Donington ELMS round on 15th July. The work starts almost immediately to get ready.”
“The car was fantastic in the Porsche Curves and other fast corners, although it was very difficult to overtake. I’m very disappointed that we had to retire. I got my mechanic’s gloves out and tried to find the problem, then I called the team on my phone. Our chief mechanic came out on a motocross bike to see what had happened and give me advice from the other side of the barrier, but it didn’t take long to realise that it was pretty much over. Still, it’s been a great experience and it was awesome to do the start. It’s a setback, but that’s what happens at Le Mans.”
“I’d just punctured at the Mulsanne Corner in the middle of the night and trundled back to the pits, where the guys fixed it. Then on my out-lap I had my accident. Thankfully I hit the barrier straight on, so the damage was in an area that was more fixable. The suspension wishbones were OK, and when I went out the car felt normal again straight away. I’m really upset for the guys that after all their hard work the car stopped. But they’re a great bunch and I know we will fight back at Donington.”
“I am obviously disappointed, because when I was racing the car we had good pace and everything was looking good. The team did a great job repairing the car after its accident and did everything possible to finish the race. For everyone it is a huge disappointment.”
- Provided by StatusGP