20 years after its podium the PlayStation Viper crosses the finish line first at Le Mans !
Back to back successes at Goodwood's FOS and Le Mans Classic
20 years after its podium at Le Mans the PlayStation Viper takes the checkered flag in first position.
After a fabulous Goodwood Festival Of Speed, as the summer Tour warmup for our GTS-R C41, we headed to Le Mans Classic to celebrate in action on the track its amazing 2002 LM GTS podium and 14th Overall finish.
The car went directly from Goodwood to Le Mans where our team fitted the full period Oreca Le Mans set up and gearing at the FFSA academy workshop.
The car was a huge success with the enthusiasts at Goodwood and we expected no less at Le Mans. We were glad to see that the Oreca factory GTS-Rs are still a powerful memory in everyone’s mind but the PlayStation Viper is definitely something different. Another funny thing is that the PlayStation generation, some now already in their 50s, some just in their teens are really crazy about it. Inded the Oreca GTS-R is the iconic car from the early « Gran Turismo » games, and we lost count of the people that came to us saying « I drove that car in the game » !
After 6 months of sacrifice and hard work the Viper would hit the legendary track again, in fact for the first time on Thursday evening when we were given the opportunity to take a few shots on the pit straight… Thank you Jarrah ;-)))
Now let’s press the Playstation’s control buttons for real, and start to play with the Endurance Racing Legends grid. This fabulous series allows the historic Le Mans cars from 1994 to 2010 to race in three different groups, and it was time to take the track for the Friday 30min session. It really was quite emotional to drive the car on the 13,6km circuit. The C41 handled very well but needed to be more stiff. So after three laps we pitted to make a few adjustments on the chassis and a complete check up ( at this stage it had only ran one hour since its completion ). We went back on track again but managed no clear laps. 4.15min was the best time but we knew the car was capable of much better. Coming back to the paddock a crowd gathers and we receive congratulations from the car’s fans who are so thankful to see this car back in action. Wow we have never seen such enthusiasm for one of our cars !
Saturday things become more serious with the second qualifying in the morning. The adjustments did work perfectly although we were being quite cautious. C41 now handled perfectly and achieved a time of 4.09min, we were P19 OA / 1st IC and 3,5sec faster than the 2nd… it’s gonna be good fun also with the cars in front …
Game on, select the track, press the Start button, cross the screen and this is the real race ! C41 makes a fantastic start, the Viper GTS-R is so easy to handle on cold tires we surprise the cars in front and overtake five of them. After a perfect pit stop we are now 12th OA . We had great battles with the LMP and the more modern GT1 cars, but after being passed under yellow flags ( yes ! ) we cross the line 14th OA just as it did in 2002. We are first in class almost a minute ahead of the second, a Porsche 993 GT2. Back in the day the legendary Vipers were called the "Porsche Killers » and what was true then is still true now… indeed we finally lapped during the race at 4,07min, 6sec faster than the second, a Porsche 993 GT2.
Stepping onto the podium at Le Mans is a special feeling, very rewarding for all the work and passion we have devoted in restoring the Playstation Viper. In the end this is the culmination of 1800 hours of work, not sparing any efforts in restoring the car to its exciting Oreca original specifications.
All of this effort was sanctioned by Benoit Treluyer, its period driver who came again ( we meet him first at Goodwood ) to see the car and he kindly answered journalists' questions and spoke of his great memories from his first Le Mans 24h with the comment « The car that made me love Le Mans ».
What an emotional and fabulous Le Mans week-end we had ! And Like on Gran Turismo when you completed a great lap or race… The replay goes on and on …
We would like to warmly thank all of the people that were involved at every stage in this fabulous project that couldn’t have ever happened so successfully without the commitment of each and every one