U.S.-based Era Motorsport’s Le Mans 24 Hours effort for 2021 is over.
The team, running the No. 17 ORECA 07 in LMP2 with French squad IDEC Sport, has withdrawn from Saturday’s race after its car, already rebuilt around a new chassis following a big accident in last weekend’s Test Day, suffered a second major crash in Free Practice on Thursday. The decision reduces the field to 61 cars.
It has been a week of misfortune for Era, with team principal Kyle Tilley ruled out after injury in a NASCAR outing last week, replaced by previous LMP2 class winner Thomas Laurent — after the initial substitute driver also had to withdraw following a positive test for COVID 19.
“It’s heartbreaking to be pulling out of Le Mans before we even got a chance to race, but I know we’re doing the right thing,” said Tilley. “We had high hopes going into the event, but with a handful of unfortunate events in the span of a few days, this year’s race week has been a constant uphill battle. Circuit de la Sarthe demands respect, and we take the speeds and technicality of this track very seriously.
“This is an event where you really have to be on top of your game across the board, and with these setbacks, we just didn’t feel we were there this time. Sadly, this isn’t the type of event where you can close your eyes and hope for the best. That’s what makes it Le Mans. I hope our fans can respect the decision. It was a tough one to make, as no one wants to win here more than we do. I’d like to thank our drivers, crew, and everyone at IDEC Racing for all the hard work they put in for this one. We’ll be back.”
The Porsche factory team, meanwhile is in the midst of a rebuild of the No. 92 911 RSR-19 after Kevin Estre’s crash at Indianapolis corner during the Hyperpole session.