HIGH octane racer Alexander Sims had his Le Mans dreams blown by battery failure 18 hours into the famous 24 hour race on Sunday.
The Status Grand Prix team driver had recovered from an early crash to drive three stints, alternating with teammates Yelmer Buurman and Romain Ianetta before Buurman was forced to retire, shortly before Mulsanne Corner and just as he was planning to make a pitstop in the 18th hour of the race.
But despite the disappointment of the mechanical failure, Sims was delighted with his Le Mans debut.
He said: “The Le Mans 24 experience was a truly amazing experience.
“Certainly we are all upset for the team that after all their hard work the car stopped. But they’re a great bunch and I know we will fight back at Donington.”
On his early collision with the crash barriers, he added: “I’d just punctured at the Mulsanne Corner in the middle of the night and trundled back to the pits, where the guys fixed it. Then on my out-lap I had my accident.
“Thankfully I hit the barrier straight on, so the damage was in an area that was more fixable. The suspension wishbones were OK, and when I went out the car felt normal again straight away.”
At the time the car failed, Buurman was running 12th in the LMP2 class.
It had been a night of attrition all down the pit lane, with Status GP doing a remarkable job to fix its Lola-Judd B12/80 Coupe in just 35 minutes after the accident just before half-distance.
Team manager Simon Cayzer said: “The alternator problem that we had earlier ultimately led to a catastrophic battery failure.
“Due to the regulations for this year we are only allowed to carry one battery.
“Although we explored every possible opportunity to get going again, it was never going to be achievable with such an instantaneous failure.
“It’s a devastating way to end the race. We’ve had everything thrown at us – we had issues that we solved in the pit garage, we had crash damage and we had some electrical issues, and finally a failure that led to us stopping.
“In between all that we were looking very solid. Yelmer and Alexander had pace that proved there is performance in the car.
“We just have to regroup for the Donington ELMS round on July 15.”