SMP's Isaakyan still has flashbacks of Spa LMP1 WEC flip

SMP Racing BR1 LMP1 driver Matevos Isaakyan admits he "still has flashbacks" of his airborne crash in the Spa World Endurance Championship opener last month

SMP's Isaakyan still has flashbacks of Spa LMP1 WEC flip

Isaakyan was lucky to emerge unhurt after his #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER launched into the air and flipped backwards at the top of Eau Rouge during the latter stages of the Spa 6 Hours.

Asked how he dealt with the incident mentally, Isaakyan told Autosport: "After the crash, three days [later] I was already driving in ELMS at Monza in LMP2, quite a quick recovery.

"I just took two days off, just to chill, and I was with friends. Egor [Orudzhev, team-mate] came with me.

"I still have some flashbacks, but it's fine now."

Following the crash, BR Engineering and Dallara made changes to its BR1 for the Le Mans 24 Hours test day, including larger front wheelarch openings and an overall increase in downforce compared to its original specification.

Le Mans 2018 team by team guide

Isaakyan says he is completely convinced that the changes have made the BR1 safe, and added that the increased aero levels have also aided the car's performance.

"I've seen the accident with Dallara, with the team," he told Autosport. "I've seen the video from multiple angles.

"It's just such an incredible coincidence that it happened. It will never happen again, I'm very sure.

"I've been testing these changes for the safety, after what happened in Spa. It felt very nice because with the low drag we improved a lot overall downforce level."

DragonSpeed's customer Gibson-powered BR1 has also been affected by the aero changes, although its car did not race at Spa after Pietro Fittipaldi's qualifying crash wrote off the chassis.

The car was rebuilt around a fresh tub in time for the Le Mans test day, and Renger van der Zande said he is also totally satisfied with the changes that have been made.

"I feel completely safe," van der Zande, who shares the DragonSpeed machine with Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley, told Autosport. "They showed me it's solved.

"My personal opinion is that [Isaakyan's crash] was [caused by] a combination of factors: slipstream, low front downforce, Eau Rouge with lots of altitude [change] and maybe a bump in the road.

"I don't think it will happen again any time soon."

shares
comments
Why the F1 stars are invading Le Mans

Previous article

Why the F1 stars are invading Le Mans

Next article

Aston Martin gets GTE BoP boost ahead of Le Mans 24 Hours

Aston Martin gets GTE BoP boost ahead of Le Mans 24 Hours
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Drivers Matevos Isaakyan
Teams SMP Racing
Author Jamie Klein
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021
How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams Plus

How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams

The G-Drive squad has been a mainstay of endurance racing in recent years, and has linked up with Russian manufacturer Aurus in recent years to promote its brand. With a change of rules in endurance racing's top tables, the team could be well-placed to take advantage of a potential boom...

WEC
Mar 7, 2021
How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy Plus

How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy

OPINION: Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar exile Plus

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger Plus

The ground-up refresh behind Toyota's new Le Mans challenger

Toyota's new GR010 contender for the World Endurance Championship's Hypercar era has little in common with the LMP1 TS050 that preceded it. But within the confines of the scaled back new rules, its latest challenger will be no less formidable a prospect

WEC
Jan 22, 2021
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Plus

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other

WEC
Dec 16, 2020
How Kristensen forged the Mr Le Mans legend Plus

How Kristensen forged the Mr Le Mans legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot

WEC
Dec 5, 2020