Thomas Laurent: WEC “not a dream…it’s better”
Thomas Laurent only raced a car for the first time in November 2015, but already has a win at Le Mans on his CV and is now looking to take the FIA World Endurance Championship by storm.
The 18-year-old Frenchman will make his debut in the LMP2 class this season with the Jackie Chan DC Racing team, where he will partner former Audi racer Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung in the No. 38 ORECA 07 Gibson.
But, despite his inexperience – Laurent was just nine years old when Jarvis achieved his career-defining victory at Macau in 2007, the Frenchman is unfazed by the challenge awaiting him.
Winner of the Road to Le Mans support race on the morning of the 24 Hours last year, Laurent also took an outright victory in the Asian Le Mans Series at Buriram in January, both times with DC Racing.
Photo: JOTA Sport
David Cheng’s team will this year be operated by JOTA Sport, which won the last three races of the 2016 season under the G-Drive banner.
Laurent recognises that he will have a steep learning curve to get to grips with the new ORECA 07, a vastly different proposition to the open-top 03R he raced in the Asian LMS, but is hoping to glean advice from his new team-mates, who boast a combined 30 years of racing experience between them.
“The ORECA 03 was very strange compared to the 07, but it was a very good experience all the same to drive in LMP2,” he said.
“But now I know the 07, it’s a very pretty race car, a lot more power, it’s perfect for me. I have two amazing team-mates, Ho-Pin and Oliver, so I have to take a lot of experience from them and improve what I can do on the track.”
When asked what he’s looking forward to most in his first year of WEC, Laurent replies without hesitation.
“The 24 Hours of Le Mans!” he said. “The Road to Le Mans was a really good experience, to drive the Le Mans Circuit was a dream come true and this year to drive in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an amazing opportunity.
“It’s amazing for me to be part of the WEC. For the moment, it’s not a dream, it’s better!”