OAK Racing set the scene for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo earlier this week by staging an exhibition featuring their Morgan 2012 LMP2 at the magnificent JK Iguatemi centre. The highlight came on Wednesday with a cocktail reception that included numerous personalities headed by former F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi.
The sister car of the French team’s two Morgan 2012 LMP2s that will compete in round five of the FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend crossed the Atlantic not to race but instead take pride of place in one of Sao Paulo’s most exclusive neighbourhoods. Arranged around the prototype that sat resplendent in the legendary blue and orange racing livery of Gulf Oil International were the images of photo agency DPPI Media who are exhibiting a selection of photographs depicting iconic moments and characters from endurance racing.
The promotion of the team and its constructor department Onroak Automotive, the WEC and endurance racing, in Brazil – a country traditionally known for its passion for motorsport – has been a resounding success since opening just over two weeks ago. It culminated on Wednesday 12 September with the cocktail reception organised by the team that also marked the official launch of the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo.
It was an initiative welcomed by the press who were joined by team drivers Jacques Nicolet, Matthieu Lahaye, Olivier Pla, Bertrand Baguette, Dominik Kraihamer and Alex Brundle, as well as many Brazilian and French personalities including Fittipaldi and host DJ Igor Cunha.
Amongst those invited were famous singer and presenter Sula Miranda, President of SPTuris (Sao Paulo’s tourist board) Marcelo Reder, the city’s sports department representative Antonio Moreno Neto, Sao Paulo mayoral candidate Celso Russomano, Executive Director of the Momentum agency Gustavo Fonseca, Associate Director of Nduduch Nicholas Duduch, IDORT President Elcio Guimarães, CEO of CNT television channel Osmar Gonçalves and WEC CEO Gérard Neveu.
Guests were treated to a selection of fusion cuisine inspired by both Brazil and France and prepared by young chef Morena Leite who was trained in Paris.
In staging the successful exhibition OAK Racing benefited from the invaluable assistance of Emerson Fittipaldi, the shopping centre’s management, communications agency Nduduch, photographic agency DPPI Media, the WEC and the team’s partners, especially Ecodime. Without their support this showcase could not have come to fruition.
Neveu, Fittipaldi, Nicolet and Neto then took to the stage to deliver their verdicts.
Gérard Neveu, World Endurance Championship CEO: “First of all I would like to apologise for the absence of ACO President Pierre Fillon who arrives in Brazil tomorrow (Thursday) and will not fail to visit the exhibition. The 6 Hours of Sao Paulo is an exceptional event but one that is a human story. Tonight we have with us an extraordinary businessman and very good driver, Jacques Nicolet, along with an extraordinary driver and very good businessman, Emerson Fittipaldi. It’s great that an event such as the 6 Hours Sao Paulo is a place to meet these kinds of people! Endurance racing has a tradition of engaging with fans outside of the circuit’s parameters so I would like to thank DPPI for this initiative. I also extend a big thank you to Brazil and to the city of Sao Paulo for its hospitality and reserve a special mention for Emerson Fittipaldi. Emerson, it is men like you who helped create the heyday of motorsport.”
Emerson Fittipaldi, after presenting the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo and recalling the names of various Brazilian drivers involved in the event, spoke in French: “I would also like to welcome all our French friends! We are very pleased to be staging for the first time the World Endurance Championship in Brazil. We thank the OAK Racing team and its drivers who are with us tonight for this great exhibition in the mall.”
Jacques Nicolet, OAK Racing President: “Our passion for endurance racing is the reason we are here in a country that displays the same appetite for motorsport. It’s one reason why we have organised this exhibition in Brazil. I want to add that the car is not a showcar. It is a real LMP2. If you add the engine it will start! I would like to pay particular tribute to Emerson Fittipaldi. It’s drivers like Emerson who helped to maintain my passion until contesting my first race at the age of 42.”