Sunday 5 February 2012

Olivier Panis, observations on WEC…

Olivier Panis, observations on WEC…
Winner of 12 Hours of Sebring and the fifth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2011 with Team Oreca Matmut, Olivier Panis, on visiting Paris Retromobile, keeps an eye on Endurance, thanks to de Chaunac, whose Oreca team now ensuring the operation of the new Hybrid Toyota TS030, one of the most anticipated new features of the 2012 season.

Olivier Panis: "This is the first time I have come at Rétromobile, and I find it really extraordinary. I am passionate about vintage cars and it is always with great pleasure that I see these beautiful old cars. It makes me want to participate in events such as Goodwood or Le Mans Classic, but only if my schedule permits me. "

What is the first classic car of the 24 Hours of Le Mans you have really strong?
"The Ford GT40 really affected my youth, and it is still moving to many people. I have never driven one, but I'd like to do Le Mans Classic with a car like this. "

You take care of Charles Pic, who will start his first Formula 1 season in 2012. Especially given the development of Formula Le Mans, would you perhaps accompany the career of a young French endurance driver?
"There are actually very good French drivers in all categories. That said, Charles is now my priority because it is early in his career, and it needs to be addressed thoroughly. But for the rest, why not? I prefer to proceed in stages, because if we take care of too many drivers at the same time, we do not deal with it well. But I also like endurance enormously, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans is truly magical. I certainly have decided to turn the page, but I think it's not just in Formula 1 motor racing."

And with this in mind, will you follow the development of the Endurance World Championship closely?
"Absolutely. I am good friends with de Chaunac, my former boss at Oreca, and I know he will test a lot of young drivers in Formula Le Mans... and I will also follow the World Championship, to study potential opportunities for French drivers. "

Have you also had feedback from de Chaunac about the first tests of the new Toyota prototype?
"Of course. For now, Toyota and Oreca follow their program. The car looks fun to drive, and drivers seem quite happy. "

Jean-Philippe Doret

Photo: 24 HOURS CIRCUIT (Le Mans), LE MANS 24 HOURS, FREE TESTING, June 8, 2011. Olivier Panis (right, accompanied by de Chaunac) shared the wheel of the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP of Team Oreca Matmut with Loic Duval and Nicolas Lapierre.
Photo : Pascal Saivet - P.SAIVET/VSC Pictures

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