RICHARD MILLE RACING TEAM AIMS HIGHER AT SPA
• Second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium).
• Richard Mille Racing Team returns to one of the most iconic tracks in motorsport.
After a solid performance in their maiden race at Sebring, the new Richard Mille Racing Team trio nowheads to Belgium for the second race on the calendar.
Twelfth in Florida, Richard Mille Racing Team wants to up its game on a track its three drivers know in various degrees. While Charles Milesi raced at the Belgian circuit last year in LMP2, his teammates will make their n°1 Oreca-Gibson debut on the Belgian track after excelling there in single-make cups and rally competition.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the most demanding and favourite circuits in the sport, with itsundulating layout and technical sections emphasising set-up and driving. The drivers will also have to deal this year with the new challenges brought by the upgrades undertaken during the winter.
Despite this need for commitment at all times, Charles Milesi is delighted to be back on a track where drivers with nerves of steel are rewarded. «Spa is always a fun circuit behind the wheel of an LMP2, says the Frenchman. We are returning to a more conventional circuit. Although the track has remained the same despite the renovation work, some run-offs have changed. There should be less hesitation at the Raidillon, but other gravel traps have appeared, and it could be a problem in some corners, where the slightest excursion off the track will be penalised. It may cause interruptions during the practice sessions, and we will need to be on the pace straight away to maximise our track time and get the most out of the car as the weekend will go by rapidly.»
Between the two races, Charles Milesi met up with Lilou Wadoux for two days of testing at Monza, where the latter could continue her endurance development. «The tests went well, and we were able to work together on the car and the set-up, adds the Amiens native. I’m still in the learning phase, so the most important thing is to keep bolstering my confidence and rack up the kilometres to accelerate my progress.
This time I have the advantage of knowing Spa, but it’s still difficult to predict how it will go as LMP2 is a totally different category from anything I’ve driven before. I prefer not to question myself too much, and I’m ready to give it my all for the team.»
Like Lilou Wadoux, eyes will be focused on Sébastien Ogier in his second appearance in the FIA WEC: «The first two meetings are there to prepare as best as possible for Le Mans. Our performance was not fantastic at Sebring, but the most important thing was to drive and understand a lot about the race format, traffic management and all of the procedures. We reviewed and analysed everything with the team, and we know that there is still room for improvement. The idea is to use that as a starting point, as Charles and Lilou did during the tests at Monza. As for me, I did some physical preparation and a bit of simulator work. We are now looking forward to Spa, where we aim to do better than we did at Sebring.»
The Richard Mille Racing Team will be able to rely on the experience of the Signatech operations team to thwart the pitfalls of the Belgian circuit, the structure having won on the ‘Ardennes Toboggan’ in 2016 before scoring additional podium finishes there in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
«At Spa, we will race on a more conventional track than at Sebring, with a circuit, which is more similar to those that our drivers will encounter later on in the calendar,» concludes Philippe Sinault, Signatech Director. «So there will be fewer surprises, even though we’re still in the learning phase. We had the
opportunity to get to know each other better during private testing at Monza, where we cemented the relationship among each member of the team. We worked well on the foundations laid at Sebring, and I hope we will have the opportunity to show the team’s full potential. This event is often susceptible to
racing incidents, and the rain may well join in the fun. But we will count on our drivers’ adaptability to make this round a real success in our preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Thirty-seven cars, including fifteen in the LMP2 category, will compete in Belgium, where the weather conditions are supposed to be unpredictable as always, making the challenge even more difficult.
Thursday 5 May
3:30-5:00 pm: Free practice 1
Friday 6 May
9:05-10:35 am: Free practice 2
2:00-3:00 pm: Free practice 3
6:40-6:50 pm: Qualifying
Saturday 7 May
1:00-7:00 pm: TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps