For only the second time since 2010, the Le Mans 24 Hours winning crew did not include a Frenchman. However, there is still plenty of homegrown talent currently blooming in the endurance field both in terms of individual drivers and teams.
Four-time world champion in LMP2, Frenchman Nicolas Prost narrowly missed adding the 2017 World Endurance Championship (WEC) title to his list of achievements. His teammates Bruno Senna and Julien Canal could not share the crown with him as he missed the Nürburgring round in which they came second with Filipe Albuquerque. Prost’s consistent performance in LMP2 was not rewarded this time, but is nevertheless widely acknowledged.
Staying with LMP2, Nicolas Lapierre drove for two different teams this season. He started out with Signatech Alpine Matmut and then returned to Toyota Gazoo Racing for two races, taking the wheel of the TS050 HYBRID for the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Back with the French team he and teammates Gustavo Menezes and André Negrao had a successful second half of the season, bagging one win, three second places, a third and a fifth in the #36 Alpine A470.
Having taken third place in LMP2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Signatech Alpine Matmut reined in its campaign, fielding one car only after the 6 Hours of Nürburgring. However, their excellent results made them the pride of France in the World Endurance Championship.
Another French team, Graff Racing, did an excellent job of defending its country’s interests in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS). Like Signatech in the WEC, Graff finished third in LMP2 in the ELMS this season. Graff’s two Oreca 07-Gibson claimed two victories and two other podium places in six races, sustaining the team’s 30-year-long record as a stalwart of French motor racing.
Read more about French performance this season:
Highlights of 2017 - Homegrown performance (1/2)
Photo: Signatech Alpine Matmut finished on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the FIA World Endurance Championship.