Having been forced to miss the last round of the 2017 Creventic 24H Series at Paul Ricard, Aleksander Schjerpen travelled to former Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit Imola, for round five of the series. The Italian event would play host to Schjerpen’s Lamborghini debut with the experienced German outfit, Leipert Motorsport alongside co-drivers Dimitri Deverikos, Harald Schlotter and Morgan Haber for the two-part 12 hour race.
Racing in the A6-AM Class, signs of a strong weekend ahead were clear when testing got underway, the quartet of drivers evenly matched throughout the practice running leaving both drivers and team confident of a good starting position for the race. Unsure if their rivals were showing their true hand, it appeared their strong pace was real when qualifying got underway. Rocketing to the top of the time-sheets, it was only in the dying minutes of the session that they were knocked off the top spot in the class, none the less second in A6-AM was a more than comfortable position to get the race started from.
Schjerpen’s weekend however was about to suffer the first in a series of tough breaks. Championship organisers deemed that their fastest time was a minor one hundredth of a second faster than the allotted balance of performance time, which carried a penalty of promotion to the top A6-PRO class, filled with much more powerful cars and teams with almost complete pro-driver line-ups. Never one to give up, Aleksander and his team accepted the change and saw it as an opportunity to show their skills.
Initially the race got off to a superb start for the #10 Leipert Motorsport crew, running inside the top ten and mixing it among much quicker rivals. However it wasn’t long before bad luck struck again, the car coming into the pits with a suspected electrical issue. Despite an initial repair, it wasn’t long before the car was back into the garage for further diagnosis and repair, which later extended into a late night change to a Lamborghini supplied spare car during the overnight interval in the race.
With four hours of racing competed on Friday evening, the remaining eight hours got underway on Saturday, Schjerpen’s hopes now placed upon their spare car for the remainder of the race. In another bitter twist of luck, contact from another car just after the restart sent the #10 Lamborghini Huracán off the track, and following an excellent recovery by the track side marshals, into the pits for some extensive repairs. Endurance racing is all about making it to the finish, and thanks to sheer determination from the Leipert Motorsport mechanics, they repaired the damage, enabling Aleksander to take over the car for his first racing laps of the weekend. A drama free run from there allowed all drivers to complete some valuable test mileage in the car, and prove what they could do. Crossing the line for the final time, the #10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracánwas classified P8 in Class A6-PRO and P32 overall.
Aleksander Schjerpen – #10 Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán:
“It´s been a though weekend, that’s for sure. But we got to show the pace of both the car and our drivers. You will always experience highs and lows in this sport, but I think it is important to take away all the positives from a race weekend, even though the result was not what we wanted. The team did an absolutely fantastic job, working day and night. I think this weekend has only made us stronger, and we will come back much stronger!”
24H Portimao, Portugal – 25th – 27th August 2017