mind is going crazy playing back all the
incidents, the moments, the near misses
you had during the race. And it’s scary. It
is definitely scary.”
Ferrari 488 GTE-Pro
“It’s about getting into a rhythm so I
know when I go into a corner what is
happening behind me. All the time you’re
looking behind. As soon as I’m done with
the corner I need to know what is
happening again behind me because the
speed difference between us and the
hybrid P1 cars is absolutely crazy.
“In the past we were watching the
mirrors and nobody was there, but once
they went to the 1,000 hp hybrids,
they’re overtaking you before you think
to look. If you are asleep through two or
three corners it might end up bad.
“There have been some nasty hits
between LMP1s and GT cars, and they
have made improvements with the
information we get inside our racecar
with the rear cameras and such. Some
cars even have the radar, and it is very
necessary for safety now.”
MARATHON OR SPRINT?
For many years, the first step toward
winning Le Mans was making sure that
the car could actually go the distance.
919 Hybrid LMP1
“If you don’t have another instruction,
you always try to push. This is the normal
way we race. Nowadays, endurance racing
is like that and the cars are strong that
you can always push to the limit since you
don’t have to take care of your brakes or
stuff like that. Really, the only times we
will drive with instructions is if we try to
save extra fuel or maybe go an extra stint
on tires. Le Mans is like a sprint race of
endurance, so even when we want to
save, we still push, push. Only in special
circumstances will we keep something in
reserve, but I cannot think of many times
that this has happened.”
Knowing what to do when they’re not in
the car so they’re ready to go again
remains one of the most important skills
in a Le Mans driver’s toolbox.
“My first couple of Le Mans were the
most tiring because you don’t turn off.
You’re so wrapped up in everything that
you only catnap, watch the timing
screens, and never really remove yourself
from the race itself.
“Then you realize the only thing you’re
doing is ending up more fatigued and less
efficient. David Brabham taught me to
debrief for 10 minutes at most, grab
something really light to eat, go back to
the motorhome, shower, and try my
hardest to get some proper sleep.
“With my routine now, I’m back in the
garage half an hour early. I shower when I
get out of the car, have a shower when I
wake just to freshen up, and come back
nice and punchy for the next stint.”
A summer race means that there are
fewer hours of total darkness at
Le Mans than at the Rolex 24 at
Daytona. On the other hand, Daytona’s
more compact layout doesn’t send
cars into the pitch-black wilderness...
The Brit has been
Le Mans since
2003, and all but
the first two of
have been with
Aston Martin. He
drove Aston’s DBR9
to GT class wins in
2007 and ’08.
TURNER Technology has changed dramatically
over the years, but the funamental job
has not: build a car that can last 24
hours, and drive it as fast as possible.