Isotta Fraschini’s first FIA WEC experience ends early

Isotta Fraschini’s first FIA WEC experience ends early

The car from Milan showed an excellent race pace in Qatar, but then a suspension problem advised Team Duqueine’s technicians to stop

Isotta Fraschini's first FIA WEC experience ends early

The first race of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Qatar was on the Lusail track that also hosts Formula One and MotoGP GPs, and was characterized by a very long duration which made even just seeing the checkered flag a real feat. The targeted 1812 km took close to ten hours to reach the end, a length that made the opening event the second longest of the season. Therefore a very complex first step to tackle for the debutant Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH Competizione, brought to the track by the Duqueine team.

The Milanese car aimed to use this first stage of the season as an experience from which to learn as much as possible, and therefore the objective was not pure speed performance but rather driving many kilometers to collect data to study. Unfortunately, however, a problem with the right front suspension stopped the experience at about half the expected distance, but many were the positive aspects to take home.

The French team Duqueine, which brings the hypercar made by the Italian company to the track, tried to progressively progress during the Middle Eastern week together with its drivers Jean-Karl Vernay, Antonio Serravalle, and Carl Bennett, working above all for the race. For this reason, the time obtained in qualifying was not descriptive of the potential of the Isotta Fraschini, which in the hands of the Frenchman Vernay performed excellently in the first part of the race, maintaining in that moment a pace similar to those of the other new entries in this season that were preceding it. Then it was the moment behind the wheel of the Italian-Canadian and then the American-Thai, who both tried to use all the kilometers behind the wheel to continue learning the car. They both managed at the end of their stints to obtain lap times very close to those of the much more experienced teammate. But then, the problem at the front arose towards the middle of the race, which had never appeared during all the thousands of kilometers traveled during 2023. The technicians initially tried to repair the car to send it back to the track. Still, they realized that it wasn’t possible to repair it with sufficient safety, and therefore avoided unnecessary risks and kept the good things done up to that point.

The championship will return to action on Italian car brands’ home soil, with the second 2024 FIA WEC stage taking place on the 21 April in Imola, a beautiful and fascinating track but where the real problem will be traffic and lapping slower cars.

Alessandro Fassina, President of Isotta Fraschini Milano: «The weekend went positively, given that all debuts in the world of endurance are difficult. We had some peaks of excellence, given that if we take the best laps of our drivers, even the two youngest who had to do kilometers, they were all good laps. And if you manage to do some good laps, it means that there is substance, both in the car and in the driving. We had some youth problems, but at the end of the day only a real one, the one that made us retire. I’m happy with this weekend.».

Claudio Berro, Motorsport Manager of Isotta Fraschini Milano: «Objective halfway achieved. We are satisfied with the data collected in the first five hours but, unfortunately, we missed the second part of the race due to a suspension problem. The problem was repairable, but it deserved further investigation and was not worth taking the risk. The data collected during testing and in the race are encouraging, and the gap that separates us from the other cars, especially in race pace, is positive as we expected. We must now examine at home the problem that stopped us today, improve our performance in qualifying, and get closer to the top of the ranking in the race.».