The French La Filiere Frederic Sausset, or the slightly easier name, Team SRT41 won’t race at the this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The team has opted to pull out, since the closing down of France will prevent them from doing any deep preparation ahead of the race.
Even though the team will use an LMP2 from ORECA, it’s not a usual team, since all three drivers have some sort of handicaps.
The team stated in a press release, as well as a message to the organizers
The team’s press release of them leaving the entry list also contains a message to the organizers, stating that they are interested in the 2021 race, so long as the drivers and mechanics can have all the preparation that they need.
Frederic Sausset, the man behind the SRT41 team, entered the Le Mans race himself in 2016, in a specially modified Morgan LMP2 car, with a joystick in the car, since he is quadruple amputee, so he has no arms or legs to control the car, due to an aggressive flesh-eating virus. The team managed to complete the race, which was a huge achievement for them, but results-wise, they were way off.
Nigel Bailey and Takuma Aoki are both paraplegic while Snoussi ben Moussa is without his left hand. So all three drivers have some handicaps, but not as severe as the team owner himself. The team needed a special crane in 2016, to lift Sausset in and out of the car, and he was sitting on some sort of ejector seat, in case he would need to get out of the car quickly due to a fire or such. Thankfully that wasn’t needed.
We have seen Danish racing driver Jason Watt participate in a Panoz LMP900 back in 2000. Team Den Blaa Avis modified a car with hand controls, which he did a couple of races in. It was still on a very early stage after his accident, which left him paralysed from the chest down, so they didn’t manage any big results.
More recently, we have seen Alessandro Zanardi participate in both DTM and the Daytona 24 Hours in a BMW. Zanardi lost both legs in a Champ-Car accident, but he competed several seasons in WTCC, where he still used his prosthetic leg for braking. That was very hard for his body, with the twists and turns and forces involved, so he went for full hand controls in the BMW M8 GTE and M4 DTM.
With SRT41 leaving the list, it makes room for Spirit of Race Ferrari #55 in GTE Am, who was the first reserve. It is however expected to see more teams drop out – either due to lack of preparation time, or simply lack of funding to be able to participate in the 24 hours race, in these tough economical times, following the pandemic.
The updated entry list for the 24 Hours of Le Mans currently looks like this.