We’re talking here about the Peugeot 908 ‘FAP’ Le Mans by the way, just in case you thought I’d gone all Thunderbirds for a moment.
Is it Peugeot’s Fans Aren’t Pleased? Is it Flaming Atrocious Practice? Or is it something a bit more cryptic, such as French And Proud (not)? Either way, what the Peugeot race team bosses asked their drivers to do at this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans was totally and utterly disgraceful. And they should have rotten cabbages thrown at them as a result.
What happened was this. With about five hours still to go there was one Audi and three Peugeots still in contention. In reality, though, it was between the sole remaining Audi and the lead Peugeot, the other two Peugeot’s being too far behind to be in with a realistic shout for a win.
So what the Peugeot race team decided to do was use the second two cars – which were running third and fourth on the road – to play silly buggers with the Audi to give its lead car what’s known in racing as ‘an unfair advantage’.
Thus, every time the Audi – which was a tiny bit quicker on the road but a bit less economical than the Peugeots, meaning it had to stop more often – caught and tried to pass the third or fourth placed Peugeots, the Peugeots would try to run it off the road.
On one occasion, there was so nearly a very nasty accident – and on a part of the track where another Audi had crashed out just a few hours earlier, in the middle of the night, when trying to pass a slower car.
I’ve never heard the commentators on Radio Le Mans go so completely and utterly berserk, and it wasn’t Peugeot’s drivers they were angry at, it was the team. Because this was very clearly a team tactic.
The only consolation is that, in the end, the tactic didn’t work – because in the end Andre Lotterer drove the lead Audi R18 beautifully, somehow managing to circumnavigate the French bumper cars to take the win. By less than half the time it takes to drive down the famous Mulsanne straight.
It was a heck of a race. And had Peugeot won it instead of Audi, it would have been an absolute travesty.
So go on then, what does FAP stand for now?