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Patrick Pilet Drafted In To #17 IDEC Sport Oreca

Dwight Merriman steps down after heavy FP2 accident

Porsche factory driver Patrick Pilet will join Kyle Tilley and Jonathan Kennard aboard the rebuilt #17 IDEC Sport Oreca for the 2020 24 Hour of Le Mans.

Pilet will therefore make his prototype race debut after spending his career thus far almost exclusively in Porsche one-make and GT machinery since moving from single seaters in 2007. He did take part in a test aboard the Porsche 919 Hybrid in 2014 as the factory team looked to nail down their three car Le Mans effort in 2015.

The change comes after Merriman suffered a heavy accident at Karting Corner in the #17 in FP2, the front of the car heavily damaged and the American Era Motorsport driver clearly significantly shaken after climbing from the car unaided immediately post-incident. He has been declared unfit to drive by the FIA Medical Delegate.

Thursday ended with four of the 59 cars entered undergoing, or in the case of the #62 Ferrari, about to undergo, significant repairs.

IDEC Sport’s crew were embarking on a long night of repair and rebuild, the #28 car being rebuilt around a replacement tub and the #17 requiring a major repair and rebuild after the FP2 incidents for both cars.

Paul Lafargue is understood to be fine after his incident at the second Hunaudieres chicane.

Both IDEC Sport cars were fired up this morning after a huge effort from the team.

ByKolles too faced a long repair after Bruno Spengler ran wide on the exit of Three Rouge grounded out the #4 heavily and was launched all four wheels off the ground, the car hitting the barriers and suffering significant front end and floor damage, indeed the team receiving a reprimand and a fine after using power tool creating sparks (a grinding tool) in the garage (forbidden under the rules as a fire risk.

The #62 Red River Sport Ferrari, which suffering heavy front end damage in an incident at the first Hunaudieres chicane that brought out a red flag 18 minutes before the programmed end of track action yesterday is under repair with the team targeting the warm-up session on race morning for a return to the track.

Bon Grimes was aboard the car and got the car under his own steam before and walking rather gingerly to a place of safety behind the barriers. He’s reported to be feeling OK this morning.