The Era Motorsport team will not be competing in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as it had planned because, as we could only hope for from an American team, it crashed too many times.
I did not know anything about Era Motorsport’s entry into the LMP2 category, the class of prototypes below the really fast top-level stuff until I saw news about it in RACER:
The team, running the No. 17 ORECA 07 in LMP2 with French squad IDEC Sport, has withdrawn from Saturday’s race after its car, already rebuilt around a new chassis following a big accident in last weekend’s Test Day, suffered a second major crash in Free Practice on Thursday. The decision reduces the field to 61 cars.
This is a bummer! What makes it feel like a particularly American bummer is that in addition to too many crashes, the team also had to deal with two driver substitutions following an injury and then a positive Covid test. The team seems a little salty about that test, too, in its press release:
The incident in practice was only one in a series of unfortunate events for the team in the last few days, beginning with a last-minute driver-swap after team principal and driver Kyle Tilley sustained a shoulder injury. The team secured a backup driver who, unbeknownst to the public, subsequently tested positive for COVID.
Keeping the American theme going, that shoulder injury to Kyle Tilley (a Brit) came “after injury in a NASCAR outing last week,” according to RACER. The team also explained that all of these changes had added up into a car that wasn’t something anyone was comfortable racing at such a dangerous and difficult track:
“The low downforce nature of the LMP2 makes it incredibly difficult to drive on the hard Goodyear compound, and the BOP hasn’t played into our favor either. After a last-minute driver swap, a new chassis, and a second on-track incident, we had to make the tough call: If we don’t feel 100% confident going into this race, we feel we have the responsibility to our competitors not to run.”
I am saddened at Era’s departure and will have to root for an ‘80s movie producer with a weird Twitter account instead.