The No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid may have qualified 1st overall, but we’re keeping our eyes on KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) and their No. 47 ORECA 05-Nissan for the 83rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
The Hong Kong-based squad began the 2015 World Endurance Championship (WEC) with a brand new coupe. And so far, they’ve managed to score very respectable 4th and 3rd place finishes in the season’s first 2 rounds. But with 18 other strong competitors in LMP2, who would have thought that Matt Howson, Nicolas Lapierre, and Richard Bradley could secure KCMG’s very first pole position in LMP2 on their third attempt at Le Mans.
With Bradley behind the wheel, the ORECA 05-Nissan coupe topped the LMP2 time sheet during Wednesday’s rain-hit session with a 3m 38.032s lap. Although the team failed to improve on Thursday, their best lap was so far ahead that KCMG is starting ahead of all the other LMP2 cars on Saturday, 14th on the grid.
As a matter of fact, they’re so quick that they out-qualified the No. 21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO in LMP1.
Best of luck guys!
Richard Bradley: “First thing’s first, I’d like to dedicate this pole to my uncle Jimmy who unfortunately passed away this morning in San Francisco. So, Jimmy, this is for you. Thank you for being such a great uncle, and kudos to my mum for staying here and being so strong.
“What can I say? The first pole for the ORECA 05 is at Le Mans! It’s an incredible feeling, the car was great and now we’re looking for the big one. Overall, a great start; couldn’t be better.”
Matt Howson: “We’re absolutely thrilled with pole position, the first for the ORECA 05, and what a place to do it! I think it’s a real reflection of the whole team’s effort to develop the car in quite a short period of time. We’re happy to have controlled qualifying, and hope we can do the same in the race. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone at KCMG and am really looking forward to Saturday.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “Obviously it’s been a very good day for the team, which has done a fantastic job to consistently improve the car over the course of and since Test Day. Despite encountering a few issues during this week’s practice and qualifying sessions we’re still very happy to have a fast car at our disposal. Richard and Matt have performed very well and the car seems competitive in all conditions, which is always important at Le Mans. We’ll savor today and look forward to Saturday.”
Paul Ip, KCMG Managing Director: “It’s been a record-breaking day for us, what with KCMG giving the ORECA 05 its first pole position at Le Mans and also becoming the first Hong Kong team to achieve the feat in any class here. All three drivers have done a fantastic job, but especially Richard whose flying lap put the car on pole. But we’re well aware that there’s still a lot of work to do before Saturday and then during the race itself. This is only the start but hopefully, if we do our best, the team can bring the big one home on Sunday!”