Olivier Quesnel Q&A
Looking beyond the 2010 Le Mans challenge
Peugeot Sport director took questions today as the team unveiled its plans for the coming season and the first details of the all-new Le Mans challenger due in 2011.
Will there be four 908 HDi FAPs on the grid in this season’s Le Mans 24 Hours?
"There will be three works cars and Hugues de Chaunac’s team, Oreca, will run another at Le Mans and throughout the full Le Mans Series. We wanted to give ourselves four opportunities to win – it will be a vintage season and it is vital to do all we can to counter a formidable rival that is hungry for revenge. Oreca’s 908 will be in full 2010 specification and is an integral part of our Le Mans 24 Hours strategy."
What was the thinking behind the works team’s driver line-up at Le Mans?
"I didn’t do anything revolutionary because the foundations were already in place. The Le Mans 24 Hours will be an epic event this year and the slightest mistake or delay, be it on the track or in the pit lane, will be costly. All cars have been further developed and there will be precious little to choose between the top teams, so it is going to be an intense battle.
"It promises to be twice as tough as Sebring 2009, where the leading cars were only 22 seconds apart after 12 hours of racing. Consequently, to use a cycling analogy, we needed two teams of sprinters and one of routier-sprinters while at the same time maintaining a sense of balance. Sebastien Bourdais and Simon Pagenaud have both raced extensively in the United States and Pedro Lamy is a pillar of the Peugeot squad.
"Franck Montagny, Nicolas Minassian and Stephane Sarrazin complement each other perfectly in every way and are delighted to be working together.
"Finally, last year’s Le Mans winners Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz will be joined by Anthony Davidson. We had a number of options for this car, including Sebastien Loeb. He has reached a sufficiently high standard to be considered as a potential team member and we waited until the Swedish Rally before we took any decision.
"Every driver has to be 100 per cent committed to our programme and it eventually became clear that Sebastien’s schedule would be too tight. Anthony Davidson was available – he is quick, enthusiastic and very happy to be part of Team Peugeot Total. It is my belief, therefore, that we have three crews capable of victory at Le Mans."
What can you tell us about the 2011 car?
"For the moment we have nicknamed it the ’90X’ but there is nothing more concrete to announce. Our priority is Le Mans and that’s where our efforts are focused."
More on Endurance