It’s Thursday, the day before Carb Day. The Lotus Fan Force United team has been working flat-out since Monday morning to get the #64 FP Journe DW12 prepared for the final day of practice. We’ve received and installed our new Lotus engine, hopeful that it will provide Jean with just a bit more grunt for race day.
It is more than worth noting that the Lotus Fan Force United team comes to the Indy 500 as the only true “one-off” for this year’s race. Yes, there are entries that are “Indy-only,” but all of those single-event entries are being fielded in association with a full-time team. Fan Force United, with tremendous support from Lotus, have taken on the challenge of Indy on its own. What others said that they could not do in a month, we managed in far less time, achieving each goal that we have set for ourselves along the way. Many thought this effort would be a recipe for disaster, but all have tipped their caps to the Fan Force United group, for what has been, regardless of speed, a flawless and well-executed leap to center-stage of the world of motorsport.
As the team continued its preparations this morning, word came that Jean Alesi’s fellow countryman, F1 driver Jean Eric Vergne, is wearing Jean’s helmet design for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, in order to honor Jean’s participation in the Indianapolis 500. It is truly humbling for us to have so many eyes, from all around the world, cast towards our driver and this team, as “the Jean” tackles his newest and perhaps most difficult single challenge.
Working with a driver of his stature has been an incredible experience, and we sincerely hope to be able to do it again next year, as Jean has expressed interest in a return engagement at Indy, with a bit more horsepower available to his legendary right foot. It seems as if Jean has found something of another home here, with this team and among its fans, and appears to want to be a part of its story on more than just this one occasion.
Interestingly, Jean has made a pointed statement in the last few days, expressing his admiration for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the race, and his team, saying “I have learned more in one week here than I did in my entire Formula One career.”