Racing twice around the clock means
racing at night. Is that a skill, or an art?
Aston Martin Racing
Vantage V8 GTE-Pro
“Comparing driving Le Mans during the
day and at night, it’s almost like two
different tracks. The key when you are
going around in the daylight is to try and
find reference points on the track that
you know will help you at night. Your day
points are not going to be usable once
you get into the darkness. The run from
Mulsanne down to Indianapolis, when you
are in the trees there, that’s the darkest
point around the whole track and you
need to know what’s coming.
“My biggest issue driving at night is the
glare from the LMPs when they come to
overtake you, because your mirrors flare
up with intense, dazzling light and you
can’t actually work out their closing
speed or position – all you get in your
mirrors is a complete whiteout. You have
to ignore it and concentrate on your line
and hope they appreciate that you know
they’re behind me. But you can’t judge
what they’re doing or how they’ll pass
you because you’re blinded by their lights.
“And then to compound that, even
worse is when they start flashing their
headlights. That isn’t really helping. In
fact, it’s making the situation even worse
because it’s disorientating. Look, I know
you’re there because my car is lit up
inside from your headlights. I get so
angry and frustrated when you get guys
flashing from a half-kilometer away. What
are you expecting me to do?
“If they annoy me when they come past
with all the flashing, I just spend the next
straight flashing back to annoy them the
same way they’ve been annoying me...”
Regardless of the class, or even the era, in which you’re
racing, some Le Mans fundamentals never change.
Speed is a big part of the equation, but
the crew in the No. 2 Porsche LMP1 had
to tick a lot of other boxes to keep
themselves in the hunt at the end.
WORDS Marshall Pruett MAIN IMAGE Camden Thrasher