GT Academy Winner Becomes Champion of the Le Mans Challenge
At the Petit Le Mans Challenge ILMC (Intercontinental Le Mans Challenge) round 6, held on the Road Atlanta Circuit, Georgia , United States, the Signatech Nissan team (Oreca 03 Nissan/LMP2 Class) achieved 3rd place.
As a result of this podium finish, Signatech became this seasons LMP2 Class Series Champions, even before the final race of the series. The winning Signatech team is composed of Franck Mailleux, Jean-Karl Vernay, Soheil Ayari and the first GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez. (there is no individual drivers title in the ILMC). In his first full season in endurance racing, Lucas has achieved the podium at the Le Mans 24HR race and has then gone on to become an ILMC champion, proving beyond doubt that the driving experience in Gran Turismo is effective in real competition.
In the Petit Le Mans fought over 10 hours and 1000 miles, the same number of cars as in the original Le Mans compete on a circuit that is 1/3 the length of the Sarthe circuit, making this a tough race every time.
Though Signatech Nissan began the final in 2nd place after the qualifying round, and ranked at the top of their class at the beginning of the race, it became a close battle with the Level 5 Motorsports Acura HPD ARX01G in the same class of the ALMS (American Le Mans Series). The team worked hard to carefully manage the numerous safety car periods so no time was lost, and marked the fastest lap of the race in mid race, but they were plagued with power steering problems immediately after. They lost 30 minutes in repair of the fault, but managed to still complete the race in third place. The 11 points for achieved for the 3rd place finish were enough to place them immovably at the top of the point rankings, making them series champions even before the final race of the series at Zhuhai (China).
Comment from Lucas Ordonez:
"This has been another sensational weekend for us, we are the Champions and it is incredible! My biggest handicap this weekend was the traffic, with over 50 cars entered and the big difference between the GT and the LMP cars. I had to concentrate a lot harder than at the standard six-hour races. I am proud to have been part of our 2011 success. For me this is something quite indescribable! My thanks to Nissan, PlayStation and the whole team!"