At only 18 years old, Reshad de Gerus will take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. This is the first time that a driver from Reunion has lined up at the start of this legendary motorsport event. We met him during private tests on the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
“To well-born souls, value does not wait for the number of years”. Crossing the path of Reshad de Gerus, this famous phrase from Rodrigue in the Cid spontaneously comes to mind. At only 18 years old, the driver from Reunion has just signed a contract with the Duqueine team to participate this season in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and in June, he will line up at the start of the oldest and the most prestigious endurance race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is the first time that a driver from Reunion achieves this performance.
Private testing on the circuit of #SpaFrancorchamps EsReshad de Gerus 18 years old #Duqueine_Team first driver from Reunion to take part in the #24hDuMans June 11th and 12th ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/DEn93DCNsS
— La1ere.fr (@la1ere) March 30, 2022
It’s passion, it’s work, a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. I left Reunion at 14 to do what I love and today I am here.
On the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, the Oreca O7 chained the laps to reach up to 300 km/h in top speed. At the wheel, Reshad de Gerus, one of the team’s three drivers, is focused. In radio contact with the Team Duqueine engineers, he is testing the car’s performance and getting his bearings before starting the first round of the ELMS on the Castellet circuit in a few days.
Therefore, a first question arises. How did this young man, as talented as he is, manage to convince Team Duqueine, one of the best French endurance teams, to place their trust in him? The answer comes naturally and with a smile. “At the end of last year, they contacted me to do some tests, it went very well and after discussions, we signed a contract”, says Reshad.
He is a driver who has a very good top speed, he is calm and reflective, these are three essential qualities to be a good endurance driver.
Reshad, we met him three years ago on the Castellet circuit during the last round of the French Formula 4 championship. That day, the young driver felt the blow. Recurring mechanical problems had deprived him of the title of champion of France, but his analysis of the race already suggested an exceptional determination and mentality. “It’s a bit frustrating not to fight on equal terms, I lose a championship because I don’t have the means to fight”he asserted.
Since then, he has chained races in Formula Renault Eurocup and Formula 3 FIA in particular. Last year, when he wondered about his future as a driver, Team Duqueine offered him to carry out endurance tests on the Portimao circuit in Portugal. The driver from Reunion seized his chance and got a drive to take part in the European Le Mans Series in the LMP2 category alongside two experienced drivers: the Mexican Memo Rojas and the Briton Richard Bradley. Team Duqueine is starting its 5th consecutive season in the ELMS and has set itself the goal of being in the top three in each race.
Convince before going further
At 18, he signs with Duqueine and will participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Today, focused on endurance and the mythical event of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Reshad has not given up on his dream of one day joining Formula 1, the holy grail of motor racing. “It’s always there, in a corner of my head, it doesn’t disappear like that. Afterwards, you have to be lucid and realistic, there’s a lot of money at stake, so it’s complicated. For At the moment, endurance is my priority”, says Reshad of Gerus.
After Le Castellet on April 17, Reshad de Gerus will line up at the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11 and 12. The young driver intends to take advantage of the presence of the biggest manufacturers in the world and the media effect to show the full extent of his talent. “It’s a race that lasts 24 hours. Anything can happen, you can be last on the first lap and win the race. The objective is obviously to finish and win. It’s clear, we’re going to do everything for that”, says the young pilot. Reshad de Gerus wants to make a success of his season in LMP2, the antechamber of the Hypercar, the premier category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and endurance races. After, later, the young man does not hide it, he hopes to be able to integrate the stable of a big manufacturer.
At the end of these two days of testing on the Spa Francorchamps circuit, the young driver is confident. “We did some tests to be able to develop the car and I think we are not far from the truth, we are ready for the first race”he concludes with a smile. The season kicks off on April 17 at Le Castellet, before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June where many fans from Reunion and elsewhere will be there to cheer him on.
Watch our report during the private tests on the Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium with images by Nordine Bensmail and editing by Louisa Lahcen: