On the weekend of the World Endurance Championship season opener Le Mans winner and WEC Champion Loic Duval performed what can only be called a serious “Tour De Force”. He competed in both the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) in Hockenheim and the FIA WEC at Spa-Francorchamps.
A meticulously scheduled planning and a slice of luck made it possible for the French driver to commute between both tracks and perform in both series. On Saturday, raceday, Duval was driving the Audi RS5 for Phoenix Racing in Hockenheim while at Spa his teammates were competing in the Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 car entered by the TDS racing team (Motul technical Partner). When he finished that race in p10, scoring his first points of the season, a helicopter awaited him to take him to the Ardennes where the LMP2 car would soon hit the pit lane for the last few stints of the six-hour race.
In between the action we caught up with him to ask him a few questions.
Loic, you just came from Hockenheim where you raced an Audi RS5 in the DTM and now you are ready to take the wheel of the Oreca 07. How different are these two machines?
Actually both cars are not that different. They are both closed cars with similar chassis. The Prototype might have a little bit more power. Both the Audi RS5 and the Oreca 07 are cars that use a lot of downforce so you drive them in much the same way.
Even though they are alike, how difficult is it to adapt from one car to another?
For me it’s actually not that difficult because I actually consider being this flexible as one of my strengths. Getting into a different car and finding the limits quickly comes quite easily to me. I’ve always raced in different cars and championships at the same time. In the past I’ve driven Formula-E and an LMP1 car in the same year as well as Formula Nippon and Super GT earlier.
Was this the first time you had a weekend like this, combining races?
Yes, even though I’ve raced in different series in one season I never had two events in the same weekend. I also think this will be the only time this will happen as it was pure luck that the race schedules allowed it. I even had time to get some practice laps in both cars. If the race in Spa started earlier, it would have been impossible. So I think it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To be honest, I really prefer to have one race weekend at a time.
What was the biggest challenge of the weekend ?
There were so many changing factors. Especially the weather. If the weather had been bad I might’ve been stuck at Hockenheim. I’ve also spent a lot of time in a helicopter which I’m not really fond of.
Loic Duval, François Perrodo and Maxime Vaxiviere took fifth place in the LMP2 class at Spa, while in DTM Duval scored P10 in the first race and an even more impressive P5 in Sunday’s race two.
© Frederik Herregods