The action might be short lived but it’s no less intense. In hill climb, the courses are only a few kilometres long, but the drivers must contend with narrow roads, street furniture and the clock. As the timer ticks down, it’s up to the drivers to coax every last millisecond out of their cars over very challenging and unpredictable roads. Earlier this year, Kevin Petit, who races for his brother Sébastien’s Team Petit Auto Sport team, won the French National Hill Climb Championship. As he prepares for the next round of the European Masters in Portugal, he tells us about a memorable race recently with a Lola.
KEVIN PETIT – THE FRENCH CHAMP HILL CLIMBS A LOLA
Kevin, congratulations on a good season. Can you tell us more about it?
I won all my races in France, eight out of eight. And I am fifth in Europe. In Germany, in August, I won my category driving a Lola FN06. It's my brother’s car and he said if I helped him build it, I could use it for one race [laughs]. I have raced with my brother for six years. I started with a Formula Renault, which my brother used to race in 2015. And I use his Norma MC20 for the French Hill Climb Championship, and races in Europe. 2021 was a good season.
What was it like driving the Lola?
It was perfect. I had never driven it before, but it was my dream to drive it from a young age. I was so happy to experience it and the weekend was brilliant, especially with the victory. We didn’t have any problems. I love this car.
How different is this car to the Norma you normally drive?
The Norma is very different. I prefer to race with the Lola. It’s less difficult to drive.
Why’s the Lola easier to drive?
I think it’s because I know single-seater cars. But also, the Norma M20 FC is big and heavy, with a powerful four-litre BMW V8 engine with 500hp, revving to 6,000rpm. So, it’s more difficult to get used to. The Lola is easier to drive in comparison as it’s lighter.
Do you use Motul in the Lola? And what benefit do you notice?
Yes, I always use Motul in all my cars, in both the Lola and the Norma. For me, it’s the perfect product. We use the lubricants for the engine, gearbox, all parts of the car really. And my brother uses it in his cars. It’s perfect working with Motul.
Has the hill climb season finished now?
Yes, pretty much. The French championship has finished, but I have one more European race left. It’s on 9th October and it’s the fourth round of the FIA Hill Climb Masters in Portugal.
What do you do after the season?
I have a lot of work to do on the car, but also in my own preparation, too. It’s my first season on the big car (the Norma) and I must go faster, so I would prefer to do another season with this car and maybe after we could change. In the category I race in, we can’t make a lot of changes to the Norma. But it’s already a very, very good car.
© Pictures: Maxime Rampon, Seb'Pictures, Bergrallye, Nicolas Millet Photography