The Frenchman has won each of the last two GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup titles with Mercedes, as well as taking victory at the Spa 24 Hours in 2022, but has moved to the Toyota-owned Lexus brand for 2024 in a move inspired by the WEC Stage of passing GT3 cars for the first time.
It was made clear that the new LMGT3 class that would replace GTE Am would prioritize manufacturers with an existing presence in the Hypercar class, which meant Mercedes’ entry was unlikely.
ASP already had a partnership with the Toyota brand through the French GT4 program with its GR Supra GT4 Evo that debuted last year, which made its transition to running the Lexus RC F GT3 that won last year’s IMSA Sportscar Championship GTD Pro title a logical extension. .
But ASP team principal Policand says the time constraints between the end of the GTWCE Sprint Cup season at the end of October and the loading deadlines for the first round of the 2024 WEC in Qatar – and the pre-event Prologue on 24- 25 February the week before – meant support from the TGR operation running Toyota’s Hypercar program and the American TRD operation supporting Vasser Sullivan Racing in IMSA was essential.
“It’s great to work with these guys and without everyone’s support, we’re not quite ready for the first race,” he told Motorsport.com.
“It helps a lot because at the end we have about two and a half months to get everything done from Zandvoort, the last Sprint race with Mercedes, until we have to load the container to Qatar.
“So we definitely needed help from everyone.”
Akkodis ASP, Lexus RC F GT3
Photo by: ASP
Policand explained that TGR has supported ASP at various stages in recent months, with acting technical director David Floury working closely with the team to get Lexus ready for FIA competition.
“The first thing we did with the help of Toyota was the new Lexus homologation, because the car must be modified for the aero package to be allowed to win the championship,” he said.
“It was a small change, like the splitter, the front bumper, the rear wing, the rear fender. But we definitely needed the windshield sessions to make sure everything was in the window.”
TGR has also shared its understanding of the torque sensors mounted on the driveshaft that will be used to calculate the energy consumption of the LMGT3 cars in each phase, a procedure covered by the Balance of Performance that is also present in the Hypercar, which Policand described as “absolutely. new” for the team. his.
“We don’t have the skills to do that, so we are grateful for Toyota’s help because otherwise it would be very difficult,” he said.
TGR will provide ASP with eight support staff for the opening phases, Policand says, “to make the system work”.
ASP also received support from TRD, with reigning IMSA GTD Pro champion Jack Hawksworth attending the team’s first test with the car in Portimao to share his knowledge.
“It means having a driver who knows the car perfectly and that was very important,” Policand added.
“And in the second test in Barcelona, we also have support from TRD US, which is close to Vasser Sullivan.”
ASP’s driving line-up also has extensive TGR driving experience, with 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Jose Maria Lopez transferring from the Toyota Hypercar roster to partner 2021 French F4 champion Esteban Masson and Takeshi Kimura’s regular class GTE Am.
Two-time Nurburgring 24 Hours winner Kelvin van der Linde, ASP team regular Timur Boguslavskiy and Le Mans Cup GT3 champion Arnold Robin will share a sister entry.