Project 1 - Podium at WEC 6 Hours of Fuji


Sun, Oct 06, 19

Project 1 return to rostrum


Project 1 experienced a nerve-racking weekend at its FIA WEC performance in Fuji, Japan from 4 to 6 October. The team with Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga got to celebrate their first podium of the 2019/20 season, the sister car #56 with Egidio Perfetti, Matteo Cairoli and David Heinemeier Hansson crossed the finish line as seventh in the LMGTE Am category.

The weekend in Japan had several ups and downs in store for Keating, Bleekemolen and Fraga. After fast free practice lap times, the #57 crew took pole in the LMGTE Am category qualifying with 1:38.733. However, due to a penalty, the trio had to start from the back of the field.

“When we started the season in Silverstone, we demonstrated the all-important pace for the Top 3 straight away and now we’ve turned that into a good qualifying and race result in Japan. Of course, the penalty was bitter, but we managed to recover a lot of ground and fight back strongly in the six hours”, said Keating, commenting on the Fuji International Speedway weekend.

The race saw the trio initiating a successful chase and thanks to an error-free performance they were able to push through the high-class field and finally finish in third place, the first podium spot for the Project 1 team in the FIA WEC season.

“Ben, Jeroen and Felipe proved their consistency and delivered an extremely focused performance, which was rightly rewarded with a third place. I’m particularly happy about this podium, because the previous day’s repositioning meant a big disappointment. It would have been a shame, if a penalty regarding a part that has no effect on the car’s performance was responsible for missing out on a well-earned podium”, summarized team principal Axel Funke.

However, Perfetti, Cairoli and Heinemeier Hansson in the Porsche 911 RSR #56 sister car were less happy about the race’s outcome. Initial driver Perfetti, having started from a grid fourth, was involved in a collision right at the beginning of the race. A further spin later on dashed all hopes of a top result and at the end of the six-hour race Cairoli saw the flag in a class seventh place.

“We mustn’t forget that we’re still in a learning phase and the Fuji race was only our second in the Endurance World Championship, where we have two cars running. Some processes still have to come together and clinching a first podium is a sign we’re on the right track”, Funke continued.

Third round of the season is scheduled for 8 to 10 November when the 4 Hours of Shanghai takes place in China. Project 1 has positive memories of the race at the Shanghai International Circuit: the team secured second place and a class lead in their maiden FIA WEC season, laying the foundation for their subsequent championship victory.

Please note: More high-resolution photos can be found in our media database.