For the launch of the new Championship, the Ultimate Cup Series, the first round took place at the Portuguese track Estoril, near Lisbon. At this first meeting, seasoned drivers, gentlemen drivers and young prospects all met up to take part in this Series. Following the event, these drivers gave us their first impressions.
And if their opinions are anything to go by, this new Championship is going to be a fantastic adventure!
And so professional drivers Christophe Tinseau, Jean-Bernard Bouvet, Lionel Robert, Vincent Capillaire, the young Jordan Perroy, Victor Jabouille and Greg Segers and Gentleman drivers Pierre Fontaine, Franck Thybault, Bernard Salam and Jean-Paul Pagny gave their thoughts on this first meeting and shared their enthousiasme for what’s to follow.
Interview by Gilles GAIGNAULT
Photos : Hugues LAROCHE et Maurice CAMUS
FRANCK THYBAULT (GT – RENAULT RS 01)
“ Honestly my first impression when arriving at the track was extremely positive. It all seemed very professional and serious for a series just starting out. And all weekend, all the meetings were perfectly organised, scrutineering was finally overseen in a serious manner, on the contrary to the previous series. Finally the welcoming structures were of great quality, so I’m very happy to be racing in the Ultimate Cup.”
JEAN-PAUL PAGNY (GT – FERRARI F488)
“ It must be mentioned that the paddock was splendid, indeed well up to the standards talked about by Vincent Vigier and Michelin when presenting the Ultimate Cup, with a perfect welcome and great quality appreciated by everyone. The organising team was nice and didn’t hesitate to come see us in the garages, good communication. Of course there are certain things that could be improved, for example qualifying, because the timing was a bit short with three drivers in different cars. At the end of the race I was asked what did I think needed changing, which was nice. Overall, a great atmosphere. Honestly for a first, it’s a real success. A professional organisation with a real desire to succeed. As of the arrival on Thursday it was just all very professional, with a well organised website. Wow! Concerning the image, we can invite other clients, it’s great. And also for the organisation, everyone is listening and is bilingual, yes it’s very very professional. There were no bad surprises as it is often the case with new series.
LIONEL ROBERT (CN NORMA M20 – LMP3 NORMA)
“The first meeting of the Ultimate Cup Series is very encouraging. With Antoine Robert, my son, we partook in the first meeting of this new championship and had the opportunity, thanks to team DB Autosport to compete in two LMP3 races and in CN protos. Concerning the welcoming and the organisation, it was very satisfying, even if, as with all debuts, there were a few little flutters. Without going into detail, the main positive points were the quality in the presentation of the paddocks, the care taken towards the convivial spaces, the sporting side being objective and impartial along with the race direction. It’s up to the organisers to get more competitors to join the Ultimate Cup Series, because 14 cars in LMP3 is the minimum required to form a grid. Nine GT cars is not quite enough and five CN cars is short as well, even if it was, to my surprise, the most competitive race of the weekend, and maybe the most spectacular. The 3 hour race was the only to not be disrupted by a safety car with a race to the finish line with two tenths of second between the 1 and 2 while the 3rd place driver finished in the same lap whilst setting lap record after lap record! It makes you want to do it all over again at the next round at Dijon. If any of AutoNewsInfos’ readers are new drivers wanting to get in on the adventure, contact me, I have drives available in my team!
GREGORY SEGERS (GT – RENAULT RS 01)
“ The Ultimate Cup Series is a springboard towards other championships such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the World GT Championships. It allows all young drivers to have a chance to get a break in motorsport. My first impression arriving at the circuit in Estoril was “Super!”. The administration, the Teams, everything was perfectly coordinated to have an exceptionnel finish. Congratulations to the Ultimate Cup Series for this great first round.”
CHRISTOPHE TINSEAU (LMP3 – LIGIER JS P3)
“My first impression? When arriving in the paddock, it was a real site! A great amount of work had been put into the presentation. The result, it gave an image of professionalism, like ELMS. Then, on a technical aspect, all the checks and scrutineering were coherent and professional. The race direction was perfect. The standards we were hoping for were met! It felt like being in a grand championship with great cars. You want to talk about it with friends and to get the whole world involved”
PIERRE FONTAINE (LMP3 – LIGIER JS P3)
“When we arrived, we were greatly surprised after seeing the paddock. Afterwards, the admin side was quick and efficient. Concerning the catering, it was great. Top quality, dealt with care and far from what is normally offered at circuits. For the races, I found that there was a nice atmosphere between the drivers and teams. Personally, I discovered the Spanish team Speed Factory, and my teammates a Ukrainian and a Russian. We finished on the fifth fow, since I made a small error, pressing the accelerator with the brake in turn 3. Otherwise we could have won, or come second. Anyway, a great first experience.”
JORDAN PERROY (GT – BMW M4)
“ At the end of this first race, organised by the Ultimate Cup Series at Estoril, I would like to thank the promoter Vincent Vigier and his teams for organising this is such short time. The atmosphere was great, with everyone there sharing their passion for racing. I am sure that this Championship will get very big with the coming events. Those missing out will regret it and most likely join us at Dijon.”
BERNARD SALAM (GT – BMW M4)
“ I will admit I was pleasantly surprised. The atmosphere was very nice. The paddock was good. It’s a good first step for this new Ultimate Cup Series.”
JEAN-BERNARD BOUVET (GT – FERRARI F488)
“ What got my attention the most, at the first look was the quality of the presentation! Everything was well organised. Another thing that was very impressive was the staff on hand of the Ultimate Cup. If you asked a question, you got the answer. It felt as though we were being listened to, which was very nice. The entire weekend was cool. A real success for this first meeting.”