At this year’s Hankook 24H BARCELONA, AC Motorsport driver – and former F1 marketing executive for both Larousse and Ligier - Stéphane Perrin was involved in an incident on pitroad that left him in intensive care. Just over one month later, the Belgian is back, racing on home turf and keen to show his home fans that nothing can dint his competitive spirit.
CREVENTIC caught up with him for a quick work before the weekend’s activities got underway.
Stéphane, first and foremost, how is your recovery after your accident in Barcelona?
“It’s going well, and I would first like to thank everyone who sent me hundreds of messages of support after my accident.
“Actually, my recovery was faster than expected. At the hospital I was told that my season was over, but it's been just five weeks and I’m already back on-track. So I'm very happy to be at Spa this weekend. I've already won my race against the clock!
You mentioned the amount of support you received after your accident. How much of that was from AC Motorsport and your teammates?
“From the accident on the pit lane in Barcelona all the way through to last week, their support has been amazing. We’re like a big family and everyone has done a fantastic job to help get me race-ready, find a car and prepare my teammates. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The incident unfortunately put you out of action for the Overall TCE Drivers’ title in this year’s 24H SERIES Europe. Does this make you even more keen to succeed at the next TCR SPA 500?
“I'm not really one for nostalgia. I’m always looking forward. What happened in Barcelona belongs to the past, so we can forget that particular title. I always approach a race with the feeling of being able to win, and that will not change this weekend.”
What steps have you taken to make sure you are ready for the SPA 500 TCR? Was the competition in the event a goal that you set for yourself during your convalescence?
“To be honest, I confirmed my participation in the TCR SPA 500 quite early. But since I left intensive care, my goal was to save time. I remain a competitor and beating the prognosis of the doctors was my challenge, so every day you test new things, whether you succeed or not. You just keep going.
“The last thing was to recover my license from the federation [the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, or FIA] and get the team sorted for Spa. Until last week, I’d say I had a 2% chance of participating in this race and had a week left to find a car and crew. But this weekend, we have many partners planned for this event, so it’s worked out well.”
What are the concerns, if any, that you have ahead of the race? A 500-lap event on one of the world's toughest circuits is an exhausting prospect, even if you're in great shape ...
“I'll tell you more about that on Thursday evening! Naturally I have some questions about my ability to endure the G. Fortunately Spa-Francorchamps is not the most challenging circuit of the season and temperatures will be clement, so that works in my favour.”
What would it mean for you to get on the podium in Belgium after all that happened?
“I’ll let you come back and ask me that question on the podium on Sunday!. See you on track!”
* The green flag flies for the first-ever TCR SPA 500 at 15.00 hrs on Saturday 5th October, and the 500-lap / 23-hour event is set to be run uninterrupted throughout the night. Further details can be found at tcrspa500.com.