Driver Ejected from 24 Hours of Le Mans for Just Being Bad at Driving
Race stewards kicked out the LMP2 driver “for the safety of himself and other competitors.”
Races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans aren't the kind where just anyone can walk in off the street and compete. Not only are LMP or GTE cars expensive, but not all of us have the skill to drive them. This was proven by the disqualification of an LMP2 driver who crashed multiple times in practice for this year's race.
Phillippe Cimadomo, 62, of France entered this year's 24 with TDS Racing alongside Mathias Bleche and Timjen van der Helm in the No. 13 Oreca 07 LMP2 car. During FP1, the Frenchman caused a pair of incidents according to a stewards' document quoted by Speedcafe, one a near-miss at the pit entry and a separate incident of a crash. In FP3, Cimadomo followed up with a spin into the wall, reportedly damaging his team's car to the point of being forced to use a spare chassis. The race stewards decided enough was enough and barred Cimadomo from the event "for the safety of himself and other competitors."
Cimadomo reportedly insisted that his practice sessions sharpened his skills and that these incidents represented mere "momentary lapses." The stewards disagreed, however, stating "a pattern exists" that shows Cimadomo "is not driving to the standard required to safely participate in the remainder of the Event, especially in consideration of the specificity of the Le Mans circuit and competition, and the specifics of an LMP2 car in this specific situation."
The Frenchman has a right to appeal the verdict, but he needn't exercise it, because TDS Racing has already filled his seat with a far higher caliber of driver: Formula E champion and Mercedes-AMG F1 reserve driver Nyck de Vries, who underwent his seat fitting on Friday. It's for the best that Cimadomo isn't allowed to race where he's clearly over his head, but you also have to feel for the guy. Giving your absolute best and being told it's completely inadequate is the kind of experience that can scar someone for a lifetime.
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