Nick Boulle’s first laps in the top category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship came just a few weeks ago. Teamed for the weekend with David Ostella, both he and Nick would do their first ever laps in a LMP2 car just one day before racing action started at one of North America’s fastest and most demanding race circuits. Mosport is known for its huge elevation changes, high-speed corners and its ruthless nature. With mid-corner speeds as high as 150mph and walls surrounding the entire track, no mistake goes unpunished.
The weekend started off nice and easy with Nick & David getting up to speed gradually in the Ligier JS-P217 LMP2 car as they learned the track as well as the complex systems involved in running the race car. The car features a 650 horsepower Gibson V8 engine with Cosworth electronics and suspension setup very similar to a Formula 1 car – torsion bars at the front with push-rod rear suspension. In addition, the car generates massive amounts of down force (meaning: the faster you go, the more grip becomes available!).
Nick & David progressed carefully through the weekend’s three practice sessions with an emphasis put on qualifying. On Saturday morning, the gap to the front runners and DPI factory machines dropped substantially. Nick qualified .1 second behind one of the Cadillac DPI cars and just ahead of the Mazda DPI car. The team would set off in 8th position for the race.
During the race, the #52 Prototype moved up one position as the race progressed. Boulle put in a solid double stint that amounted to more than one and a half hour behind the wheel at the demanding circuit before David Ostella took the wheel. Progressing well Ostella held on well in the treacherous wet-dry conditions until 1 lap to go. With rain on parts of the track a slight miscalculation had big consequences. After sliding through the grass and hitting the wall the car rolled violently onto its roof. David crawled out unscathed, but the incident ended the race early.
de Boulle Motorsports’ goals for the weekend were certainly accomplished given the daunting circuit and jump in terms of the LMP2 car. Given such limited track time to learn the car and the circuit before qualifying, out pacing any one of the DPI cars was a huge accomplishment. de Boulle Motorsports is working towards being back on the race track again soon and we look forward to sharing the news!