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….

dailysportscar.comWhy 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 indeed.

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.”

Don’t 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.”

Are all the five Courage cars going to run as 2004 spec. LMP2 cars?

Y.C.: “ 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.


Did you 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.”

Are the cars still named C65s?

Y.C. : “Yes, they will be C65 this year.”

Who will be the drivers?

Y.C.: “It’s still too early to tell it, before the official 2004 Courage Compétition launch, but we may think of some 2003 regular drivers.

When will the Epsilon cars be testing for the first time?

Y.C.: “They 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.”

Will you 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.”

Will you 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.”

What is the future of the C60s?

Y.C.: “They are for sale. We begin the contacts, but they are still for sale.”

What is the selling price for a C65, without engine?

Y.C.:” 385 000€ “

What is the name of the engine of the C65s (except the Belmondo C65, of course) ?

Y.C.: “JPX, definitely.”

How many C65s have you built?

Y.C.: “ Five are already ready, and the sixth one is currently being built in our workshop, because it’s very important to have a spare car.”


What is your Le Mans best memory?

Y.C.: “Well, 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 win…

Very, very special thanks to Yves Courage for his kind welcome. We wish him the best luck as possible in his 2004 racing adventures.
Claude Foubert


Contents Copyright © dailysportscar.com. All Rights Reserved.