It will be in Florida, for the 12 Hours of Sebring, that the SIGNATECH-NISSAN team, reigning champions in the ILMC LMP2 category, will be in action from March 12th to 17th, for the first round of the FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP. Franck Mailleux, (2011 ILMC LMP2 Champion), Jordan Tresson (winner of the 2010 NISSAN GT ACADEMY ) and Olivier Lombard (2011 Le Mans Series Champion) will drive the 2012 version of the ORECA 03, with power from NISSAN. After finishing second in this event last year, SIGNATECH-NISSAN will be keen to start the season in fine form.
Philippe Sinault’s men will meet up to start the season at the sixtieth anniversary running of the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring. At this track last year, the official Nissan team claimed the LMP2 pole position in the first meeting of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, and went on to finish second in the race.
Four private test sessions are planned for the Monday and Tuesday, followed by four free practice sessions on Thursday and Friday, including one at night. A single 15-minute qualifying session on Friday afternoon will set the grid. Finally, after a 25-minute warm-up on Saturday morning, the start will take place at 10:30 local time, for 12 hours of racing.
Philippe Sinault : SEBRING, A MAJOR EVENT TO START THE SEASON ! “Looking forward to this event, I am slightly stressed but also quite excited. I hope we will be one of the main players in the 2012 LMP2 category, no matter how high the level of competition is this year. We were only able to plan a simple shakedown before the car left for Sebring this week, but the timetable for the 12 hours of Sebring allows for four days of running on site, from the Monday onwards. We need to work on refuelling and the driver changes, as well as the handling of our 2012 version of the ORECA 03-NISSAN. Managing the traffic and the safety car periods will be vital with 64 cars taking the start (including 12 LMP2 cars). Sebring is a very specific circuit, which really tests the cars, and to start the season with a twelve-hour race is a real challenge… We have all the elements in place to do well in this event. We are going to have a busy week ! “
The ORECA 03, which will carry the colours of Nissan and Playstation will bear the number 23 for the full season of the FIA World Endurance Championship, this being a special number for the Japanese manufacturer. Franck Mailleux : 2011 ILMC LMP2 Champion / Olivier Lombard : 2011 LMS LMP2 Champion / Jordan Tresson : 2011 GT4 Blancpain Endurance Series Champion.
Franck Mailleux : TO BE AT THE FRONT RIGHT AWAY ! “I have been waiting impatiently for this season to start. Sebring will be here very quickly ! The team already knows the car very well, having worked in close collaboration with Oreca for the 2012 evolutions. If we want to defend our title, we will have to be at the front right away, from the first sessions. My job is to give as much information and advice as possible to my two new team-mates, especially Jordan, who does not know the Sebring circuit. The 2012 LMP2 field is really of a high quality, with a lot of cars, good drivers and teams… it will be a real challenge to retain our title”
Olivier Lombard : I’M SERENE.“I am quite serene before the start of this season, and most notably this first major event of the World Championship. For me, this will be the first event with the Signatech-Nissan team. I must admit that I am rather impatient to drive once again on the legendary Sebring circuit, but this time behind the wheel of the ORECA 03. We are all ready to fight at the top of this exceptional LMP2 field!”
Jordan Tresson : THIS IS REALITY ! “And now it’s really happening… I am going to be in Florida on Monday, in at the deep end. Since winning the NISSAN GT ACADEMY in 2010, everything has gone really fast. First of all winning the GT4 title in the Blancpain Endurance Series, and now as an official NISSAN driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship. I am following in the footsteps of Lucas Ordonez, who did very well at Sebring last year, finishing second in LMP2. For me, this is a real challenge, but one that I am ready to face. As they say in the gaming world, : “let play start !”.