Watch The Corvette Team’s Le Mans Dream End With A Gentleman Racer Crash
It was Sunday around 10 a.m. local time; there were just five hours left in the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans. Alexander Sims in the No. 64 Corvette was charging up front to battle Ferrari for the GTE Pro class lead. He wouldn’t get the chance though, as Francois Perrodo, a gentleman driver in the LMP2 class, crashed into the Corvette as he tried to make a pass himself on the Mulsanne straight. This, in addition to the #63 Corvette’s mechanical problems, would effectively end Team USA’s hopes of a successful run.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Sims is one of the nicest men in motorsport; I worked with him a lot in Formula E and you would be driven to find a more humble, really nice person who lives his values. Sims is also known to be one of the most aggressive and fastest drivers on the track, just as hungry for victory as anyone else.
“Le Mans always has surprises in store and unfortunately this is the biggest I’ve had in a while,” Sims said after the crash. “I sincerely believe it was a mistake. [by Perrodo] and I have no grudges. We are all human and that is part of the game we play. I’m just glad I left without even a bruise. Amazing to share the car again with Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, who did such a great job helping us get back to racing after a first setback with the brakes.”
In a show of sportsmanship, Perrodo later went to the Corvette garage to apologize for causing contact between the two racing cars, with Eurosport claiming that the gentleman racer was moved by the whole ordeal. According to the report, the gesture was “warmly received” by the Corvette crew.
The Corvette Racing team, which fielded some great talent this year with Sims, Milner, Tandy, Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg at the wheel, had to return home empty-handed after a long stint in Europe. It’s not like the Corvette has been skimmed by other GT builders, but for a car built specifically for the convoluted Le Mans regs, the Porsches and Ferraris had the upper hand over the Chevys. That said, it was great to see the yellow cars thunder into the night at Le Mans in the lead – I mean, who doesn’t like it when some fashionable Americans take on the solemn Europeans on their own hallowed ground?
This is Le Mans for you; it takes months to set up, weeks to run the event, and it’s over in the blink of an eye. It’s a lot like the Le Mans GTE Pro class, which also had its last hurrah on Sunday. Last week, during the Le Mans test days, the organizing body of the World Endurance Championship and the FIA announced that it was the swan song for GTE Pro. The class will be combined with the amateur category to create one set of regulations for all future GT cars from the end of this year’s WEC season in November.
It might make sense, really. There had been a massive decrease in interest in manufacturers joining the factory GT program, and the LMP2 spec prototypes show that you don’t need to display a brand logo to attract big names and attract attention. So maybe Le Mans is like that, but it’s a shame not to have had the fight that simmered all night until the last laps.
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