« “Let’s go round again” »
President and CEO of the IDEC Group
With him, we shook with fear in the hostile oceans, thought a lot about his campaigns and over and over again celebrated his achievements… Above all we have been able to appreciate his particular way of doing things, which corresponds perfectly to our values of commitment, courage and loyalty. Of course, there have been moments of doubting, but we have never given up. Why? Because with Francis Joyon, our relationship goes beyond the incredible quest for sporting feats. Looking beyond his amazing list of successes, with Francis, we have been through some huge human adventures. It has always been with the same passion and yet modesty… as these two elements are not incompatible.
With a crew once again
When Francis came and told us that he would be attempting the round the world record with a crew, we were once again won over. Both by the project and by the man. With Francis, we have already won a lot of races, conquered many records, built a boat (the previous IDEC), opened up new routes to Mauritius, brought people and efforts together between France and Brazil, among other things… So why not attempt the Jules Verne Trophy? Last winter, we set off around the world, remaining faithful to our commitments and values. With a short-handed crew of six aboard a 30-metre long boat, IDEC SPORT took up the huge challenge of getting the round the world record. There was success and disappointment, as they only missed out on the record by a few hours.
two worlds, one goal
A strong feeling and passion for sport is what led to the creation of IDEC SPORT. The strong feeling was for Francis Joyon, an extraordinary sailor that Patrice Lafargue met early this century. Charmed by the man himself, the president of the IDEC Group decided to accompany him in his ocean-racing projects. The first attempt was a masterstroke: at the helm of the IDEC trimaran, Francis Joyon set a new solo round the world record in early 2004 completing the voyage in just over 72 days, a record he would bring down to just 57 days 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds four years later. This time remains the record today. There was a big change in 2015, after years of solo sailing, Francis Joyon decided to take up a new challenge, the Jules-Verne Trophy, the crewed round the world record. Once again, Patrice Lafargue joined in allowing Francis to acquire one of the best trimarans available measuring 32m in length.
The launch of this new project coincided with what the president of the IDEC Group had on his mind for years – the creation of a car racing team. A keen car racing enthusiasts since his childhood, he had been racing in the endurance circuit for ten years or so and even took part in the Le Mans 24-Hour Race in 2011. His dream? Once again to compete in the Everest of endurance racing along with his son Paul whom he got interested in car racing, once he had finished his studies. In 2015, Patrice Lafargue decided to set up his own structure, relying on the experience and talent of Ruffier Racing, Jean-Claude Ruffier’s team for whom he was a driver, and which was up for sale.
“The idea was to do the Le Mans as a family in 2017, so I thought the best way to do that was with my own team. That’s when I had the idea of taking over Jean-Claude’s team working with him. I wanted to be able to count on what his team had acquired, as this was a good base for the future, allowing us to build on that and move towards the categories competing in Le Mans,” he confirmed. The creation of this team at the same time as Francis Joyon’s project changed, was a unique opportunity to bring together the two worlds of ocean racing and car racing under one banner, IDEC SPORT, with on the one hand, IDEC SPORT Sailing, and on the other IDEC SPORT Racing.
“On paper, these two worlds look contradictory, the sea and land, but in sporting terms, there are lots of similarities. Each team takes up a challenge, there is the matter of endurance, lots of determination to achieve the goal, but there is also a lot in common in the preparation of the boat and car, which is a very technical area,” explained Patrice Lafargue, whose goal at the head of IDEC Sport Racing is to enjoy himself, but also to win. “Patrice really wants to win, take up new challenges and always go that bit further, confirmed Jean-Noël Le Gall, Team Manager for IDEC SPORT Racing.