RLR MSport is confident it can better the third place it achieved last month at Circuit Paul Ricard when the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) returns to the Southern French racetrack for the Le Castellet 240 (28-29 August).
The former LMP3 Teams’ Champion raced to the third step of the ELMS podium in the 4 Hours of Le Castellet (17-19 July) curtain-raiser and looked on for a repeat performance three weeks ago at the rain-lashed Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (7-9 August).
LMP3 rookies Malthe Jakobsen and Robert Megennis have acquitted themselves well while adapting to life in the ELMS, and Canadian Am driver James Dayson has also found an extra gear in 2020.
All three drivers now have experience of a full European Le Mans weekend and an understanding of how to get the most from the #15 Ligier JSP320, which RLR MSport worked tirelessly to optimise during testing and free practice in Le Castellet and Spa.
As a result, the Motul-powered squad returns to Circuit Paul Ricard on a much stronger footing, and having already collected silverware in the South of France, it’s targeting another podium result to overturn its two-point deficit to the team in second in the standings.
“We’ve reached the podium in Le Castellet once, so we can certainly do it again,” said Jakobsen. “It would be nice to take home another trophy and I think we have the potential to go even higher than third place this time around. We had the pace to reach the rostrum last time out at Spa too but returning to a familiar circuit makes it much easier for a rookie like myself. Last month, we had to use testing and free practice to get used to the car, learn the track and find a setup, and the hard work we put in means we will start the Le Castellet 240 weekend in a much stronger position.
“I’m getting more comfortable and learning something new every time I get in the car. Last time at Circuit Paul Ricard, I lost a lot of ground to the more experienced drivers in among LMP2 and LMGTE traffic, but this is much improved and I’m sure I will do better now. The LMP3 championship is so close and we have a chance of going from fourth to second if we achieve good points for a podium in Le Castellet, so that has to be the target.”
Megennis added: “I’ve now completed a European Le Mans Series weekend; I know how it all works and I know how to drive the car, so I can be 100 per cent focused on driving the car as quickly as possible from here on. RLR MSport has prepared a car that is capable of winning races, but I’m not super focused on the result. I believe if we just do our best, learn from what happened at Spa and build on that, we should be in a good position at the end of the race on Saturday.
“I’m as ready as I possibly can be after watching onboards and race footage from the ELMS 4 Hours of Le Castellet, but I’ll have the track walk and most of free practice to get a handle on the track, and I hope to bring a fresh perspective that will help the team extract even more from the car.”
Dayson said: “I’m excited about going back to Circuit Paul Ricard. We had a great car there to open the 2020 European Le Mans season with a podium, and I expect us to be quick and competitive again. That being said, everyone has improved, and the competition will be tougher. We can’t be complacent and must work even harder than before to get the results we want.
“I’m confident going into the weekend, but not overconfident – we will need to be smart and calculated – although Malthe (Jakobsen) and I know the track well and I know Robert (Megennis) will get up-to-speed quickly. We have a great trio and I’m pumped! This being a night race adds another element, but it’s always fun and it’s a challenge I’m ready for.”