Yves Courage – Building LMP2 Chassis
I was welcomed today (April 2) by Yves Courage - a regular dsc
reader, he admitted - to Courage Compétition’s workshop
- writes Claude Foubert. Even though the Le Mans
Test Day is approaching, the atmosphere at Courage Compétition
was very calm. I was about to find out why….
did you give priority this year to the C65, and to racing the cars
in the LMP2 category?
Y.C.: “For several
reasons. First, last year at Le Mans I was a bit disappointed, even
frustrated, with the race result of the Le Mans 24 Hours. We had
a very fine race, with just a minor problem on the pitlane, and
all we could was to fight for the first non-VAG position. Very frustrating
Second, for commercial
reasons: as a manufacturer, Courage Compétition needs to
sell cars and must widen the range of its products. Moreover, because
of the hard work required by the 2004 regs. for the 2004 category,
it was difficult to race a C60 and the C65. The regulation changes
made it very tough. It was a really frantic race against time. The
cars had to be tested in the wind tunnel, there was a tremendous
amount of work to do on the bodywork, and so on, and so on. 20 permanent
people work now at Courage Compétition. Among these 20 people,
seven are working exclusively on the composites. For the 24 Hours,
we will become 28 people, for the technical part only of course.”
you fear to be alone in the LMP2 category?
Y.C.: “No, there
is also the Lola-Judd and as top class drivers will be in the cars,
the fight should be good and it should be a great show for the crowd.”
the five Courage cars going to run as 2004 spec. LMP2 cars?
Yes, all will be according to the 2004 regs. They already are, and
Paul Belmondo Racing has tested its car in these specifications.
The changes on the C65 are really a performance for the team, which
had to work very hard on the composites. All the cars are on the
2004 LMP2 weight, 750 kgs, so their pace should be a bit slower.
submit an entry for a C60-Judd?
Y.C.: “No, even
if I had thought about it, but as I said, it would have been too
much for the team.”
cars still named C65s?
Y.C. : “Yes,
they will be C65 this year.”
be the drivers?
still too early to tell it, before the official 2004 Courage Compétition
launch, but we may think of some 2003 regular drivers.
the Epsilon cars be testing for the first time?
are at Magny-Cours now, where Courage Compétition is testing
too. The drivers of the cars are Jonathan Cochet and Win Eyckmans.
The cars didn’t run in the morning because the rain was much
too heavy and the Magny-Cours track being difficult in these weather
conditions, we preferred not to run to save the cars, because we
have still much work to do.”
be testing next week for the LMES testing days at Paul-Ricard?
Y.C.: “No, but
we have booked the Bugatti circuit for three days, April 7 / 8 /
9. It is very close to our facilities and our work will be easier,
if we have (to make) some changes on our cars.”
enter cars in the LMES?
Y.C.: “ Yes, Courage
Compétition will enter a C65 in the four rounds of the LMES,
I hope, even if Monza is not sure at the time, being very close
to the Test Day and to the 24 Hours.”
the future of the C60s?
Y.C.: “They are
for sale. We begin the contacts, but they are still for sale.”
the selling price for a C65, without engine?
Y.C.:” 385 000€
the name of the engine of the C65s (except the Belmondo C65, of
C65s have you built?
Five are already ready, and the sixth one is currently being built
in our workshop, because it’s very important to have a spare
your Le Mans best memory?
it’s always difficult to answer this question. My best memory
is also the worst, it is of course the 1995 race. The best, because
it was such a fantastic race, with people standing and unceasingly
waving at the Courage. The worst, for we were so close to a wonderful
special thanks to Yves Courage for his kind welcome. We wish him
the best luck as possible in his 2004 racing adventures.