DOUBLE DISAPPOINTMENT IN LE MANS DESPITE STRONG TEAM EFFORT
The 24 Hours of Le Mans wasn’t kind to Project 1 in 2021, as constantly changing weather conditions dominated the 89th running of the endurance classic. For Project 1, the race ended in a double retirement – all the more frustrating considering the pace showed by the 2019 class winners.
The #56 Porsche 911 RSR was forced to retire early on Saturday night following an accident in treacherous conditions for Egidio Perfetti. “I lost control of the car due to the slippery track surface as I was approaching the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight,” Perfetti said. “It was impossible for me to catch the spin.”
Perfetti wasn’t the only driver to run into problems in the late evening, as countless other cars ended up in the barriers or the gravel traps due to the conditions. “The transition from wet sections of the track to drier parts was impossible to predict for the teams and drivers,” said Axel Funke, Team Principal at Project 1. “Ultimately this was the reason for our retirement.”
Before the shunt, Perfetti and his teammates Riccardo Pera and Matteo Cairoli were targeting the top spots after beginning the race on the front foot. Starting the race from third on the grid, the trio were in the mix at the head of the LMGTE Am class and were even able to match the pace shown by the teams in the higher-performance GTE Pro class at times.
Anders Buchardt, Dennis Olsen and Robby Foley in the second Project 1 entry were also in excellent form at Le Mans. However, their race too ended in disappointment. The trio made a strong start and were busy making their way through the LMGTE Am field, before suspension damage during the night dashed all hopes of a good finish.
The retirement was bitter for Axel Funke: “The guys were showing continuous improvement across the week,” he explains. “You could see how the hard work and preparation was paying off. But the race just showed how challenging Le Mans is. No-one in the team deserved those two retirements, because we have all been working so hard towards our common goal. Now it’s time to look on ahead and finish the season on a high.”
The final two rounds of the FIA WEC take place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 30 October and 6 November.