Clint Field - Young Driver Ready for First 24 Hours of Le Mans Braselton, GA - (Many racing teams and drivers that regularly compete in the American Le Mans Series will be racing in the 72nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de...
Clint Field - Young Driver Ready for First 24 Hours of Le Mans
Braselton, GA - (Many racing teams and drivers that regularly compete in the American Le Mans Series will be racing in the 72nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the Circuit de La Sarthe in France June 12-13. The ALMS is associated with and based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans and annually builds its schedule of events around Le Mans, giving teams that wish to compete at Le Mans the opportunity to do so. The ALMS will return to action June 25-27 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This is the latest in a series of feature articles on ALMS drivers and teams with their thoughts on competing in the world's most famous endurance race.)
Of all the drivers who will start this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, few can say they've done it before reaching legal age.
<B>Clint Field turns 21 years old June 16, but by then he'll have made his first journey to Le Mans as a competitor. He'll drive with teammates Bill Binnie and Rick Sutherland in the famed day-long endurance marathon in a Lola B2K/40-Judd fielded by Intersport Racing in the LMP2 class. Field discusses his upcoming adventure at Le Mans and the return of the ALMS to his home track, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, in this interview.
Q: You've been to Le Mans before, but this time you'll be in the cockpit.
Field: "Yes, and it's something I've looked forward to for a long time. We were over there for the test, and the track is unbelievable. Everything you've heard about Le Mans, it's all true. The straightaways there are really long. In our case, when you're going 180, 190 (mph), you're thinking of all the races they've had there, the unbelievable drivers who have competed there. It's a great opportunity for me."
Q: The car you'll be driving, the Lola B2K/40 Judd, is everything okay with it now?
Field: "It's actually very, very good. We gambled earlier this year by switching to the Judd. It's a powerful engine, one we have used before. Changing the engine changed the whole dynamic of the car. We got rid of some of the understeer problems we'd had, and the Judd has just unbelievable power. It should be good for us the whole year."
Q: Other than driving, you've been involved in a lot of your team's activities, true?
Field: "I have, but at the moment, I want to concentrate on driving. I have worked in the logistics end of our business, and, having been around it all my life, it was kind of an easy choice for me.
"Right now, though, I want to put all my focus into being the best driver that I can be. Our team manager has taken over some of the things that I used to be doing."
Q: What about down the road?
Field: "I see myself doing something in management. If racing doesn't pan out, that's a career I could pursue."
Q: You've been around racing almost since the day you were born. What have you learned from your father (Jon), aside from racing alongside him?
Field: "He is one of the most focused persons I have ever been around. He's always doing something, whether it is getting ready to race, working out, or working a deal for the race team. My dad is a constant worker."
Q: Your team came out of Sebring with some issues to face. How did that go?
Field: "We went into that race knowing it was going to be a (tough) task for us. We'd just gotten the car the week before. Going in, we knew some things were going to break, and we just had to learn from the experience. Afterwards, we did some tests, and we think we have got all the problems solved. With all the tweaks you have to make, you just try to keep learning and keep making the car better."
Q: The ALMS returns to Mid-Ohio late this month after a one-year hiatus. What will it be like to again race near your home?
Field: "Well, it's always great to race at home, because that means you don't have to fly anywhere. We always look forward to coming home to Ohio. Especially after the long trip to Le Mans."
Q: When will you leave for France?
Field: "We go this coming Saturday (June 5)."
Q: And when they drop the flag?
Field: "I don't know. I've been there before, obviously, but never as a driver, and you think of all the great people in our sport who have competed there. It's going to be a pretty unbelievable feeling."