– It’s A Pescarolo For 2007
Martin Short’s Rollcentre Racing, with support from long-time
sponsor X Markets Deutsche Bank, will race a Pescarolo in 2007,
powered by a Judd V10 – with a race debut planned at Sebring
in March next year, if the timing all comes together (with testing
at Paul Ricard).
“Our chassis will be #2 (of the new batch of 2007 tubs), and
we’ll be racing what is essentially a 2006 car, but with the
new chassis, new crash box and modified bodywork,” explains
The team owner’s reasoning for forging what looks set to be
a long-term association with Henri Pescarolo is, typically, well
thought out – and makes absolute sense.
“Henri produces cars that are tried and tested, fast and reliable.
We know exactly what we’re getting – effectively a car
that took five Le Mans Series wins this year and finished second
at Le Mans, behind an Audi. He nearly won the race in 2005 too.
“As Henri pushes ahead with his upgrades next year on his
two 2007 cars, we’ll be ultimately benefiting from those.
We’ll have a junior role, and be serving as Henri's Apprentice.
I’m sure Henri’s true 2007cars will be faster (than
ours), but we’ll be climbing his ladder and his development
will come to us.”
The details were sorted out between the two team owners in a meeting
in Le Mans that started yesterday afternoon, interupted by a pleasant
meal in Le Mans in the evening, and then rounded off this morning
(October 12 - below) – and it’s a sign of the intensity
of the work that goes on in that part of the Tecno Parc that Rollcentre
has been given a delivery date for the new 2007 spec tub of “early
December to be integrated into the 2006 car, with fully built car
delivery anticipated in late January to mid-February.”
Henri, I knew we’d be buying into a well-developed car, which
he has been improving all these years, initially into a hybrid,
now into a full 2007 car. There are actually parallels with where
we were with the Dallaras. Perhaps if I’d had Henri’s
balls we would have gone the hybrid route with the Dallaras as well.
As a team then, we said that if we’d done it, we would (and
should) have done it the way Pescarolo Sport has done it.
“Talking in detail to Henri, there are so many things that
he’s fixed, problems for example similar to ones that we had
with the Dallaras. He’s gone ahead and done it. Development
like that is very expensive, but Henri has just gone for it and
done it. He’s done the aero testing – as he says “on
my 1:1 wind tunnel, on the runway” – and the reliability
testing, and focused on the speed too. Between Henri and his Engineer
Claude Galopin, almost every other sentence included "and this
reduced the speed at Le Mans by 6 kph, this improved it" etc.
etc. We were left in no doubt as to what they were about.
“You only have to look at the results to see what he’s
achieved. You can’t argue with the application that he and
his team put into what they do. Whenever you’re at an ACO-sanctioned
race, there’s a Pescarolo coming past. They just keep on going.
“The level of detail they go into to prepare for Le Mans is
So with developments being prepared in France, and made available
when ready, Martin Short will have the use of an LMP1 car that will
be reliable, fast, supplied with a lot of spares, and with full
set-up information – and he’ll have that association
with a man and a team which have been remarkably successful at Le
Mans: essentially the only team to have taken on Audi during the
last two 24 hour events.
He’ll also benefit from all that Pescarolo endurance experience,
stretching back to Le Mans in the 1960s. “And Henri’s
team is a family team – rather like ours. You can’t
doubt his credibility, ability or results. I asked him why he still
insisted on going through the pain and expense of LMP1. He’d
rather finish second to Audi at Le Mans than win in something less
significant. What can you say? That’s the man.”
"For us, the reality of being on the podium at Le Mans is far
less likely in an LMP1 next year, even with a Pescarolo, compared
to say if we stayed with the Radical in LMP2. But we accept that.
The big class is where we all want to be. The only problem for us
now is that we have bloody big shoes to fill! Buying this car puts
all the focus on us doing a very good job. We will have no excuses.
And I can't tell you how much we are excited by it."
going to be easy for any of the LMP1 privateers with two diesel-powered
factor teams to compete against, but doing it the Pescarolo way
should give Rollcentre Racing and its loyal sponsors the very best
chance of privateer and petrol-powered Le Mans success.
We look forward to following the latest Rollcentre story as it unravels:
2007 can’t come soon enough – and Martin Short is first
in the queue, doing it his way, which happens to be the Henri Pescarolo
way too. Rollcentre plus more than a dash of HP sauce should be
even a familarity between the liveries of the two teams.
PPS. Note in
the image above that Henri Pescarolo's secret weapon for 2007 has
now become public: very small drivers.