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."

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Series WEC
Drivers Matevos Isaakyan
Teams SMP Racing
Author Jamie Klein
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