Eric De Doncker and Motorsport 98 in Michelin Le Mans Cup 2018

© DR

It was one heck of a challenge, but brilliantly taken on! In the wake of the title in Group C Racing with the former Eric van de Poele Spice SE90C machine, Eric De Doncker and his Motorsport 98 team had decided to return to modern motorsport by acquiring a Ligier JS P3 with a view to competing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup 2017, taking in Monza, Le Mans (as curtain raiser for the 24 Hours!), the Red Bull Ring, Le Castellet, Francorchamps and Portimao.

Having called on the services of the fast British driver Andy Meyrick, former works Bentley driver in GT, Eric De Doncker’s objective was to play up front with the leaders as often as possible. Mission cheerfully accomplished, with one victory and a final 3rd place in the championship!

« As from Monza we knew that we were perfectly with it, the man in charge of Motorsport 98 explained. Even though we had not carried out many test runs it did not prevent us from clinching an overall 5th spot! This trend was confirmed during the Road To Le Mans, with a 6th and 9th place notwithstanding a few issues. On the Austrian Red Bull Ring, we flirted with a podium to finally rack up the points for 4th place. If luck turned its back on us at Le Castellet, where I was scuttled by a rather overzealous GT driver right from the start, a top 3 was finally in the bag on home ground, on the Francorchamps circuit! As for the final round in Portimao, it evolved like in a dream, seeing we finished a mere 3 seconds down on the Norma, prior to inheriting victory on a carpet of green! Result: we end the season on the final podium, in front of such teams as Graff or Spirit of Race. And that exceeds all our expectations … »

Outcome: in 2018, Motorsport 98 will once again be taking on the Michelin Le Mans Cup, with an even more ambitious objective! « Driven by our experience gained this season, I am convinced that we will be in a position to go for the title, Eric De Doncker continued. Andy Meyrick is once again up for it, and the presence of a British engineer during the final round at Portimao allowed us to go in the right direction, with a victory to boot. No point in beating around the bush, next year we are aiming for the title following a competition that will be taking in the same circuits, with in order Paul Ricard, Monza, Le Mans, the Red Bull Ring, Spa and Portimao. »

But that is not all … Already present at Le Sarthe during mid-June for the Michelin Le Mans Cup, Eric De Doncker has an inkling possibility of being at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time! « I’m presently in some advanced contacts with a French team competing in LM P2, he confirmed.  Obviously to finalise this participation I will need the backing of some partners, but I believe that Le Mans is one of the world’s main events that still holds a dream, and its knock-on effect remains impressive. Fingers crossed … »

As he is about to close the major chapter of the 2017 season, Eric De Doncker wishes to thank the entire Motorsport 98 team for the passion and enthusiasm displayed at the various circuits and in the Spy workshop. « With Julien Daivier, the man in charge of the technical part, Motorsport 98 remains a family oriented team, but that loves to work correctly. The results are there to prove it. Thank you one and all, not forgetting Cath’, my wife, who looks after the supplies and catering for the entire team. It is up to us to properly prepare for 2018… and then head off for new adventures! »

Vincent Franssen,