Evolution Capital was delighted to host French professional racing legend and former Le Mans Series winner Xavier Pompidou at the firm’s flagship event, the Evolution Capital Le Mans Grand Tour, which kicked off on Thursday June 13.
Pompidou joined the Evolution Capital team for a talk and dinner after Race Day on Saturday June 15. Guests learned how he went from being World Go-Kart champion in 1990 to winning Le Mans championship 2004.
Preparation: the key to success in endurance racing
Nigel Cook, founder and managing director of Evolution Capital, commented: “We were thrilled to have such a legend in the world of endurance motorsport join us at our flagship event. Winning Le Mans takes a huge amount of preparation, which is we what we are all about at Evolution Capital.”
Pompidou added: “A professional driver since 1992, I’ve been honoured to drive some of the greatest GT cars and the best-performing prototypes. Preparation is key in endurance racing, so I really understand the value and importance of being prepared. In business, just as in sport, covering all the bases and ensuring every detail has been considered is vital.”
The time spent with this urbane and charming Frenchman revealed much of what it takes to make the grade in this most testing of sporting arenas. It was both compelling and absorbing and the team was engrossed in his presentation. No one was in any doubt of what it takes to make a champion.
Pompidou made the choice to focus on endurance motorsport in 1998. That same year, he achieved his first podium place at Le Mans in the LMP1 category. He won the 2004 event in the GT2 category in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. He won again in 2005 and was vice champion in 2007 and 2009.
He has now hung up his helmet to focus on coaching the next generation of drivers, both in karting and on the professional circuit. He founded XP Development, located in Paris, to technically, physically and mentally prepare young drivers. He still rides in the biennial vintage event Le Mans Classic.
Le Mans 2019: a round-up
For team Evolution Capital, Le Mans 2019 was a huge success. The day before race day the town was thronged with imported, multinational petrol-heads of all shapes and sizes. The Brits have always flocked here in their thousands and this year was no different – Brexit seemed like a thousand years away.
Staying at the nearby Chateau Paty, guests were very well looked after. Each evening the team enjoyed lavish food and fine wines served in the impressive dining room. The babble of conversation was steady and the hosts, the Despointes family, were delightful.
Race day was an adrenaline-packed experience. The event is massive, of course, and on arrival the party was thrown into the fast running tide of racing enthusiasts, hawkers and media types all flowing inexorably toward the track. This veritable whirlpool of activity swept the team into its vortex and the party eventually took their positions in the grandstand in front of the cars below. Speeches, anthems and pre-match commentary blared over the speakers. Each car was bedecked in a spectacular livery of colours and branding, engines were started and the contest was underway.
It was spectacular, noisy and exhausting. This was just watching them so goodness knows how the drivers themselves cope with keeping their souped-up chariots in control.
Rob Lamden, founder and owner of Between The Lines Communications, said: “Having attended a number of Evolution’s events in the past I knew I was in for a treat, but this one was spectacular from start to finish. What a piece of organisation and execution – it was an amazing piece of teamwork. Thank you.”
The 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race eventually came to an end with the usual fanfare of noise and celebration as Fernando Alonso romped home in the winning car with something to spare. “Luck sometimes plays an important part in motorsport and today we feel extremely lucky,” he said after his car crossed the line 17 seconds ahead of the other Toyota car.
As endurance races go, this was the ultimate challenge for car and driver and after 24 hours in testing conditions, both were feeling the pressure. As enjoyable as it was watching the cars power around the track for a full day, it could be a little hard on the spectators and there were many tired faces among them.
Fast cars, slow boats
The Evolution Capital team, never a group to shirk responsibility, returned to Chateau Paty for the last night. The competitive spirit was clearly in evidence still and there were challenges laid down which had to be met. The inaugural ‘Round the Chateau’ challenge was to crown a weekend of racing superlatives. Competitors enabled their vehicles (in this case, pedalos) and baled out any residual water from the small plastic craft.
Soon they were ready to go and the first two drivers battled their way around the course – the moat surrounding the chateau. Neck and neck, they went under the first bridge and it was only on the straight that eventual winner Clive Purvis forged ahead in his craft. His spirits were not dampened by the over-exuberance of some of his supporters giving him a drenching as he went under the second bridge.
The second heat was won in a similar style by Luigi (no second name) who headed the field by some distance, although a steward’s enquiry later reversed the decision in favour of Tom Carroll. The final of the event sadly never materialised as competitors succumbed to some chilled champagne.
This mini-event was fiercely contested and brilliantly punctuated our stay at the wonderful Chateau Paty and adjacent properties. It was a stay that was appreciated by all our guests, who showed their appreciation for the Despointes family with a round of thunderous applause.
Tom Carroll, outgoing CEO of Our IT said: “I did not know quite what to expect from our group as I was meeting many of them for the first time, but we melded magnificently. I cannot thank Evolution Capital enough for their diligence and preparation in making this trip a huge success.”
A perfect and memorable stay was had by all. Bring on Le Mans 2020.