SRT41 BY OAK RACING (FRA)
Owner: Frédéric Sausset
2016 ELMS results:
4 Hours of Silverstone: Sausset/Tinseau/Bouvet (FRA/FRA/FRA), Morgan - Nissan #84, 31st
SRT41 by OAK Racing is this year’s occupant of Garage 56, the slot on the grid reserved for an innovative vehicle. It is undisputedly the most courageous project to line up for the 84th Le Mans 24 Hours. In July 2012, Frédéric Sausset fell severely ill from an infection while on holiday. The bacteria attacked his arms and legs. Sausset’s life was in danger and only a quadruple amputation could save him.
Four months after the operation, Sausset had the idea for a challenge that could help him regain his lust for life: to race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The company owner has fought hard to get the project off the ground, while continuing to run his business. It is a colossal undertaking, in financial terms as well as in engineering and training. Driver Christophe Tinseau, who has eleven Le Mans races under his belt, has been involved from the start. He has helped Sausset gain vital racing experience by partnering him in the VdeV Endurance Series in the Ligier JS53 EVO2.
Jacques Nicolet, head of Onroak Automotive and OAK Racing quickly accepted to adapt a Morgan prototype for Sausset to drive. Despite his handicap, Sausset steers with a prosthetic limb on his right arm. Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich offered to provide the engine. However, it proved difficult to fit on the Morgan and the Nissan engine was therefore retained.
Sausset first followed a strict physical preparation programme before hoisting himself into the driving seat to try out the car at the Maison Blanche circuit in Le Mans this winter. The first test was conclusive, but the inexperienced driver desperately needed to clock up some miles before lining up on the grid at Le Mans. Sausset, Tinseau and LM P2 driver Jean-Bernard Bouvet headed for the ELMS round at Silverstone. In adverse weather conditions the #84 Morgan-Nissan crossed the finish line in 31st place.
Frédéric Sausset will be the first quadruple amputee ever to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also fully intends to be the first one to finish the race and in so doing he shall show the world that disabilities can be overcome.