Louis Delétraz made a successful transition from Formula 2 to LMP1 machinery yesterday after joining Rebellion Racing for the FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain.
The 22-year-old was invited to hook up with the Swiss team after the 8 Hours of Bahrain race which was held at the Sakhir International Circuit on Saturday.
It was Louis’ first experience in an LMP1 car. The Oreca Rebellion R-13 weighs 833kg and is powered by a Gibson GL-458 V8 engine that produces 665bhp.
The FIA Formula 2 Championship regular completed 45 laps, initially running on a damp track in the morning before enjoying the bulk of his cockpit time on a dry circuit on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a really cool day and my first time in a big prototype,” the ADSS-supported driver explained. “I’ve driven a GT car before but nothing like an LMP1 with lots of power and downforce. It was an amazing first experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can definitely see why these cars are so attractive to drive.
“Although the power is roughly the same as an F2 car, the downforce is all over the car. It was also interesting to drive on Michelin tyres which perform completely different to the rubber we use in F2. It was great to be able to push the car to the limit lap after lap without tyre degradation.”
After making his F1 testing debut with Haas F1 Team 12 months ago, Louis was proud to add Rebellion’s LMP1 machine to the list of top-line cars he’s been invited to experience in recent months and he says his latest mileage in Bahrain was another valuable learning opportunity.
“I’m hugely grateful to Rebellion for this testing chance,” he said. “Motorsport in Switzerland is very small but myself and the team have known each other for a long time. To get the call and be asked to come to Bahrain for the rookie test was something I jumped at.
“I’m always keen to try lots of different cars because I know it will help me develop further as a driver. I was really happy with my pace during the test and I hope I can experience an LMP1 car again at some time in the future.”