It was quite surprising not to see the Lavaggi LS1 in the official 50-car LMS entry list a few days ago. Planetlemans had an extensive interview last year with the Italian engineer/constructor/driver where he described his engine woes and the strength of his chassis. Given the nature of this project we had certainly expected the LS1 to be on the LMS grid in 2008, not to find it among the chosen ones was a suprise but… had Lavaggi applied for an entry to begin with?
Unable to get in contact with Lavaggi or the team we had to resort to our vast contact network and we found out that indeed, an application had been sent by the Monaco-based team to the LMS organization before the closing date for a season entry. This aspect clarified, we immediately started thinking of a potential reason for rejection: “easy: the engine” was our logical deduction.
A few phone calls later and still unable to get Lavaggi on the line we did however find out that the disastrous Ford block was no more and instead an AER would be on the back of the LS1 in 2008. So, why a Lavaggi-AER with a complete, timely submitted form does not make it to the seasonal LMS grid?
In all honesty I still cannot answer that question. I am aware (and satisfied) of budget, quantity and quality of the entrants in the LMS but an effort like Lavaggi is also certainly worth a chance to prove itself? True, Audi and Porsche are now in the list but haven’t we seen cars like the T2M Dome or the Noel del Bello Courage granted LMS (and even Le Mans!!) entries with performances way below par? The series is growing but a car that has shown solid pace (Spa 2007) is rejected while a few others have not even put one mile on a track?
You could say I am a romantic, stuck in the old times with the constructor-driver legend; I think my reasoning is pragmatic. With the new engine, the LS1 deserves a chance: Why not invite Lavaggi to Paul Ricard and measure the car’s pace for example? Make a judgement call only after that and not before. Like we say in South America “you know the horse on the track”, and this one should be given the chance to prove its worth.
To be continued (when we find Giovanni…)