24h Le Mans
Summoned at the last minute, Vincent Abril (MR Racing) returns to Le Mans
Relatively young for a driver (age 25) but still with plenty of experience, Vincent Abril has taken the start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans once and that was not supposed to change this year. Then a few days ago, he got a phone call...
Having come up in karting then the touring class, Vincent Abril moved into GT in 2013. Under Olivier Panis' wing, he then made constant progress through the seasonsogress in a gradual rise in performance level. With Bentley, Abril went around the world: the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup and Blancpain Endurance Series, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and 12 Hours of Bathurst.
He took his rookie start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019 at the wheel of Proton Competition's #78 Porsche 911 RSR in the LMGTE Am class. He shared the track with two drivers from Monaco, Louis Prette and his father Philippe. Vincent Abril: "I've known Louis since school, we were together in Monaco, a few years apart but we've known each other a long time. Louis went to Asia for a few races and then wanted to do the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To make the dream come true, he wanted to have his dad by his side, not to mention a professional driver. That gave birth to our Le Mans driver line-up last year and facilitated our successful full-time participation in the GT Open."
The similarities between GT3 and GTE are exciting to Abril
This year, Abril is set to take the start for a second time in the 24 Hours, at the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTE Evo fielded by MR Racing. His participation is thanks to a last minute phone call from AF Corse owner Amato Ferrari himself (to replace Yuhi Sekiguchi unable to come due to COVID-19). Abril's goal is to do his best. A young, independent and fast driver, he was called upon by the Italian team owner for his experience at the race, but also to continue to learn Le Mans.
At just 25, Abril could be considered a young driver, but he already has considerable experience, nearly 10 years under his belt from when he started in SEAT León Supercopa France in 2011. His involvement in GT3 has seen him win nearly everything. Winner in the 2013 FFSA GT Championship (the youngest ever) and in the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series (with Maximilian Buhk), he is currently in second place in the GT Open Championship with teammate Louis Prette. The similarities between GT3 and GTE are exciting to Abril. He looks at the FIA World Endurance Championship with attention and longing. "The constructors are there and it's the pinnacle of endurance. The WEC is one of my goals. Between a GT3 and a GTE, there isn't that much difference and there are several attractive championships for a professional driver like I am." His performance in the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans will be closely watched as many team owners recognise Abril's talent and future potential.