Ascari At Le Mans
As Far As

Ascari – the Spirit of Le Mans? French observers have noticed the team’s ‘Spirit’ already. As is well documented, last year was very much the first stage of learning how to tackle this event. This year, the team have gone about their preparations in exemplary fashion, and have made fantastic progress towards fashioning two quick, reliable cars for the epic 24 hours. So much of this is down to Team Manager Ian Dawson - whose touch and influence can be seen in every aspect of the team's work here. He eevn mucked in setting up awnings.

It was an eventful start to the week though, as one team member has already been to hospital! Fred - hospitality man extraordinaire - managed to electrocute himself, while setting up the hospitality unit. Another team member was nearby and bravely yanked the wire away from him, but Fred was taken to hospital for heart monitoring. But he'll be fine. He returned to the track to a mixture of relief and humour at his expense! No one seemed to want to touch him!

The humour continued with Harri Toivonen and Ascari's new catering assistant playing at animal impressions - allegedly. We're trying to get to the bottom of this, but Jackie Radcliffe is clearly having her own influence on the team!

The team were scrutineered late on Monday afternoon. They didn't take the race truck in to the town centre, preferring to put the cars on low loaders. Traffic and general congestion held them up getting into the Place des Jacobins, but as the whole procedure was running late, it didn't matter at all.

Xavier Pompidou was making his first public appearance with the team. It was confirmed over the weekend that he is the third driver in the #21 car, partnering Klaas Zwart and Scott Maxwell.

Scrutineering went very smoothly, the only minor glitch being the need to move a bracket for an oil line on the gearbox. "Scrutineering is probably easier than it was in the past," explained Ian Dawson. "The cars have been through scrutineering for the Test Weekend already, and having got this far, they're not looking to eliminate anybody."

The cars are now absolutely ready. "If Qualifying was today, we'd be ready to go," commented the TM. But it's not until tomorrow (and Thursday), so Tuesday is looking like a quiet day for the team. The mechanics are carefully preparing the spares packages for each car. They have complete spares for each car (obviously), so other than the two monocoques, there are almost four Ascaris here.

The current engines in the cars will be used right through Qualifying, with the race engines being installed on Friday. Ian is very, very happy with the work that Judd have been carrying out on slight mods. to the oil system and cylinders, all with the target of improved reliability. One of the rival teams have completed 26 hours on one Judd V10, so there's every expectation that the Ascaris will be as well prepared for this 24 Hours as anyone.

"The target is two cars home at the end of the race, be it 28th, 20th or fifth," predicted a cautious Ian Dawson. To finish first, first you have to finish, goes the sayng. Ascari are out to finish their first Le Mans. The 'Spirit' within the team will be one of the assets riding with them.

Official website of the Le Mans 24 Hours
Official website of the Le Mans 24 Hours

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