Alex Cascatău is known for his inability to take a break and that’s why, unlike most other Romanians, he won’t be resting on December 1st. Instead, he’ll be driving DKR Engineering’s ELMS-winning Duqueine M30-D08 LMP3 car in anger around Spain’s premier Grand Prix track.
Merely two months since he hitched a ride in BHK Motorsport’s Ligier JS P320, Cascatău is once more looking for the adrenaline rush that only a purpose-built LMP3 racer can give you. That’s why he’s already packing his helmet and fireproof overalls for the trip to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a track the former GT & Prototype Challenge champ knows well since he took a look around the 4.6-kilometer-long track last year.
The view, however, came from the cockpit of another Ligier LMP3 car, that of Virage Competition which was the first P3 example that Cascatău has ever driven in his otherwise ecclectic career. Now, with the dream of racing P3s as early as next year in the back of his mind, Cascatău needs to see how the Ligier and the Duqueine compare on the same ribbon of tarmac.
Why does the otherwise rare Duqueine matter? Well, if you haven’t skipped the title and the first couple of lines you should already have the answer to this question. While nowhere near as popular as the ubiquitous Ligier built by Jacques Nicolet’s OnRoak company, the Duqueine is a more-than-solid prototype, solid enough, in fact, to win three races on the trot in the European Le Mans Series this season. Those three race victories, at Paul Ricard, Monza, and Spa-Francorchamps effectively took DKR Engineering and its mainstay driver Laurents Hoerr to the LMP3 crown.
It is DKR Engineering’s fifth title in a row in the LMP3 ranks, so you can be sure that the title-winning chassis that Cascatău will slip himself into has been well taken care of. Moreover, the preparation over the entire test day will actually be carried out by a team of mechanics and engineers from the Duqueine factory itself.
How will Alex fare behind the wheel of obviously different Duqueine M30-D08? We don’t know but if we take the Romanian’s previous two experiences in P3 machinery as a mark of his adaptability, he’s probably gonna be just fine. Remember, he was only a few tenths off factory Audi driver Mattia Drudi in BHK’s Ligier around Circuito Tazio Nuvolari, an Italian road course Alex had never been to.
Sure, that was back in October but Alex has kept himself sharp by competing in the virtual Racing League Romania (in Assetto Corsa Competizione) and by coaching the next generation of Romanian pilots. Talking about Romanian pilots, it’s worth noting that Dubai 24-Hours starter and Romanian Endurance Series regular Mihai Zamfir will also be at Barcelona on December 1st to try his hand at some prototype action.
Alex Cascatău: „I’m super happy to be able to confirm that I will finally get to test the Duqueine M30-D08 around a track I know and like. Tying all the loose ends to make this happen was anything but easy, however I know I must compare both of these platforms in order to make my mind over my plans and this test is the perfect opportunity for me to do just that. This will most probably be the last test before signing a deal to race next year, and the objective is to make an informed decision between these two cars in terms of performance and driving style. The Duqueine has been very quick, but only with DKR, so that's why I was so keen to test with them. I look forward to comparing these cars in Barcelona.”