Wilfried Merafina: “The 2024 version is going in the right direction”

The launch of the 2024 season was postponed by a month in order to adapt a new generation of engines straight from the United States. Recently tested at Magny-Cours on around thirty cars, this new unit demonstrated exemplary reliability.

Published on 09/04/2024 à 10:21

Dominique Dricot

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Wilfried Merafina: “The 2024 version is going in the right direction”

Photo: S. Azemard

Wilfried Merafina, what assessment do you make of these tests?

First of all, I am proud to see that the teams and drivers have understood the reason for postponing the launch of the championship by one month. The first meeting was supposed to take place at the end of March in Magny-Cours, but we turned it into a running-in session because we were 21 days late in delivering the new engines. They come from Detroit (United States) and the journey by boat took three weeks longer than expected. To top it off, customs clearance, which usually takes four hours, dragged on for four days. For the tests to take place at Magny-Cours on March 29 and 30, our teams assembled 28 engines in three days! In this context, I am pleased to note that we have not encountered any major problems. While most of the cars started in the pits for the first time on Friday morning, the only issues were with the electronics. Easy things to fix. In short, at the end of the two days of testing, I see that the Lamera Cup in 2024 version is going in the right direction. Our customers are satisfied.

Do you need to modify these engines?

Yes. They arrive in American configuration; we must adapt them. Particularly in terms of the electronic box. You also need to add a starter, an alternator, and replace the oil pan with a smaller model. Which represents approximately five hours of work per engine. We could have ordered them in Europe, but their cost is 4 to 000 euros more expensive per engine. This block equips the Mustang in the United States, which only costs $4 (500 euros. Editor's note). In France, this engine is heavily taxed and the car is worth double that. Which means that we see very few Mustangs on our roads.

Why did you change the engine?

Because the previous unit (a 2,5 liter 5 cylinder with 325 horsepower. Editor's note) was reaching the end of its life. This one is a lighter, more compact and more powerful 2,3-liter 4-cylinder. At Magny-Cours, it was configured in a 350 horsepower version, however it can easily go up to 500 horsepower without problem, but that would not be reasonable. The Lamera is above all intended for gentlemen, some of whom are new to motorsport. And, for reasons of cost, the cars are fitted with conventional tires. In principle, this engine can run on ethanol, but some countries visited by the Lamera Cup, such as Spain, cannot provide us with this biofuel. For Germany and Portugal, it is not won either.

Do you confirm that the first event will take place at the Lausitzring?

100%, from May 3 to 5! This season is looking good. As for the meeting in Magny-Cours, it has been postponed to September 28 and 29. We should count on around thirty cars, which is not bad in the current situation. We will have two new teams from the Netherlands and Belgium. There are also people who come back to see us, because the formula is less expensive than the discipline they previously tasted.

Where are you with the Lamera GT4 project?

Two teams continue to develop the concept. It is above all a TCR version in order to be aligned in the Creventic events which interests us. The car should run in the middle of the season.

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