top of page
  • Writer's pictureSite Admin

Alex Cascatău Endures Challenging First LMP3 Outing in Ultimate Cup Series at Paul Ricard

Alex Cascatău’s first time racing an LMP3 car can be described as anything but boring. The former GT & Prototype Challenge champion was up against it in the opening round of the Endurance Prototype Challenge, at Paul Ricard.

Alex Cascatău’s dream ride in actual race conditions in an LMP3 car turned sour last weekend, in Le Castellet. The Romanian’s first outing together with BHK Motorsport was difficult as the team’s progress in the four-hour race was marred by mistakes on pit lane, as well as incidents out on track.

The packed weekend schedule kicked-off with a pair of practice sessions on Friday. In the opening session, BHK’s No. 35 Ligier JS P320 that Alex shared with Joel Roussel and F4 driver Elia Sperandio (also an FIA Silver-rated driver like Cascatău) was about 2.6 seconds off the ultimate pace. Come the second practice session, the team had found a few tenths, but it was still over two seconds in arrears. To make matters worse, Cascatău was finding it hard to trust the car and spun while one of his team-mates damaged the front of the car exiting Signes corner.

Unfortunately, qualifying was hardly any kinder to the No. 35 crew. Alex’s best attempt was marred by another spin and his best flyer was 0.88 seconds off the pole and the No. 35 car sat sixth overall and fourth in class after Alex ended his spell in Q1. With all three drivers having driven in their respective sessions, the BHK Ligier fell down the order and would start the race from row 7, in 13th place outright (8th in LMP3).

As mentioned, this was going to be a four-hour-long endurance race that would dip into the darkness hours at Le Castellet, being as long as a typical European Le Mans Series race. At this point, it’s worth pointing out that the regulations stated that each crew had to stop at least four times during the race and there was also a minimum pit stop time in place to bring the field closer together.

As it happened, the team missed the mark on a couple of the No. 35’s stops which proved to be too short, meaning that the car had to stop two more times. To add insult to injury, the car that Alex was battling early on in the race, the No. 27 TS Corse Duqueine, managed to not only leapfrog the BHK Ligier, but Cascatău’s car also lost a lap after its second stop. The second and third stops were the ones that were too short. There was also an incident early on. Trying to make up for lost time, Cascatău tangled with the No. 27 Duqueine in the fast chicane that dots the Mistral straight, but emerged unscathed after both cars took a spin.

At the end of the day, the No.35 BHK Motorsport Ligier JS P320 was classified 15th overall and 10th in class. It was undoubtedly one of Alex’s more frustrating races as it left him quizzed over why he felt uneasy about pushing harder on a track that was familiar and in a car that he had driven before.

Alex Cascatău: ”This race weekend was certainly a very difficult one for me. I was somehow unable to push 100% and it showed in both my lack of pace, and my mistakes out on track. It felt like the car could’ve gone quicker, but I don’t think we would’ve been able to fight for a win in the 4-hour race. Regardless, a top-5 finish in the LMP3 category would have been possible I think, without the troubled pit stops we had to serve. We kept improving the car with every session, but ultimately I was lacking a bit of confidence to fully feel good about my performance in the car.”
69 views0 comments
bottom of page