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  Pescarolo 03 Judd
 

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Country of origin:France
Produced in:2012
Designed by:Pescarolo Team
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 13, 2012
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the 2010 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we were treated to the very surreal sight of Henri Pescarolo not behind a screen on the pit-wall but behind a laptop in the press room. It was the first time in many decades that Monsieur Le Mans did not participate as either a driver or an entrant. A fighter, Pescarolo bounced back with the help of his many friends and under the 'Pescarolo Team' banner entered his old car in 2011. Its very strong run sadly ended in the closing hours with a big shunt at the entry of the Porsche Curves.

With his squad back on their feet, the next hurdle for Henri Pescarolo to tackle was a change in the regulations, which rendered his existing car obsolete. A distant evolution of the Courage C60 dating back to 2001, the team's 'Pescarolo 01' could actually be updated once more to make it eligible. It was, however, decided that this was the right time for something new. Perhaps new was not quite the right word as the Pescarolo 03 was to be built around the carbon-fibre chassis used in 2011 for the ill-fated Aston Martin AMR-One, which barely lasted a lap at Le Mans.

The 'tub' was supplied by Roald Goethe's Rofgo Collection, which is dedicated to Gulf-backed racing and we expect the car to eventually be rebuilt to its Aston Martin guise. The debut of the 'new' Pescarolo was unfortunately postponed with part-supply problems given as the reason. In fact, financial and legal were at the root of the delays after funds allegedly promised by Luxury Racing not materialising. Eventually, it was Goethe who stepped up again, this time with the means to complete the car in time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

One of the side-effects of the delays was that there was little time for any serious development work. As a result, the Pescarolo 03 is, simply put, a re-engined AMR-One. That was an absolute necessity as the straight six used by Aston Martin was by far the prototype racer's weakest link. We understand that the original plan was to use HPD's well honed V8 but for financial reasons, Pescarolo opted for the proprietary Judd V8. It is mated to another off-the-shelve component; XTtrac's sequential six-speed gearbox.

The new drivetrain was bolted to the existing chassis with a steel, tubular subframe taking most of the suspension load. Major components like the suspension and interior, complete with the sophisticated steering wheel were bolted right back onto the car. Subtle changes to the exterior do distinguish the Pescarolo 03 from the AMR-One. Among them are a slightly revised nose and more conventional side-pods. An unusual feature is the engine air-intake mounted in the fin as the chassis did not accommodate for a more obvious location under the passenger roll-hoop.

Ready just in time for the new Pescarolo's debut was threatened again by legal action after a last minute change in the driver line-up. On the insistence of car-owner Roald Goethe, Julien Jousse was replaced by his protégée Stuart Hall. This did not go down well with Jousse's father and both the Pescarolo and the Dome S102.5 also run by the team were impounded by the courts on the eve of the Le Mans Test. Fortunately, the two cars were released within a few hours, allowing the Pescarolo 03 Judd to make its much belated debut.

It was hardly surprising, considering how new the car was, that the Pescarolo 03 had a difficult time in the Test. One of the main culprits, however, was Judd's V8, which produced more vibrations than the car could handle. A small consolation was that the car did clock lap times considerably faster than the Aston Martin AMR-One had ever done. With more track time available before the race, and Henri Pescarolo's ever strong performance during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a good result is not out of grasps yet for the Pescarolo 03 Judd.

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