IN THEIR OWN WORDS: THOUGHTS ON LE MANS There are so many angles and stories about Le Mans in play for this year's edition of the world's most famous auto race. With 12 teams and 35 drivers at this year's 24 Hours, the...
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: THOUGHTS ON LE MANS
There are so many angles and stories about Le Mans in play for this year's edition of the world's most famous auto race. With 12 teams and 35 drivers at this year's 24 Hours, the American Le Mans Series contingent no doubt will play a significant role in the outcome of the event. Today they offer a few views as the race's 75th running quickly approaches.
Mika Salo, Risi Competizione
On American Le Mans Series success:
"It's nice to be able to say that we have had so much success in America but Le Mans is a much bigger deal. There is no point in going there and being happy with second place. To succeed at Le Mans you have to stay out of trouble, spend as little time as possible in the pits, and maintain a consistent pace throughout and that's what we will be aiming to do."
Andy Wallace, Dyson Racing
On the RML Lola-AER in LMP2:
"The car has already been fast this year at Monza and Valencia. The team has performed well so far and is tremendously experienced. It's always a huge advantage if you have informational data at the track plus a reliable car. We have both."
Rinaldo Capello, Audi Sport North America
On the significance of a once-per-year race:
"Le Mans is Le Mans. It is difficult to make a forecast because it is such a long race. It happens only once a year and everything should run perfectly that day. If it doesn't, you have to wait 12 months to try again. After 12 months, you still have to hope that everything has to run perfectly. We know we have the best car. We have the best team and the best people in the pits. We just need some luck."
Jörg Bergmeister, Flying Lizard Motorsports
On Porsche vs. Ferrari in GT2:
"The reliability is good on the RSR. We haven't had any issues so far. The last couple of years we always have had an advantage on straight-line speed. This is not the case now. But our car can handle quicker in the corners we think than the Ferrari. It won't be easy. What you need in a 24- hour race is luck."
Seth Neiman, Flying Lizard Motorsports
On the adrenaline and nerves at Le Mans:
"I think this will be different for different people. For me, I expect it will come in a few waves. First rush will be right before the first session as the anticipation starts to gear up. Next will probably rolling out of the pits on the first night run. And then finally, first stint of the race."
Emanuele Pirro, Audi Sport North America
On past successes:
"Whatever you have achieved in the past doesn't help you in the present. We have to use all the weapons to prepare ourselves in the best possible way. Although we won there last year and at Sebring doesn't help at all. What we do have is experience, and that helps in preparation and focusing on specific items and making sure you have a setup that is good for the full 24 hours. The experience is important but the success isn't necessarily helpful."
Allan McNish, Audi Sport North America
On what it takes to win at Le Mans:
"The motivation is the same as every year. Le Mans is the most important sports car race and very difficult to win. I'm looking for my second victory and my first with Audi after so many podiums. I'm preparing exactly the same way as I've done before. The team is well prepared. We've had a very strong endurance test. Dindo (Capello) and I have great successes in America. At the moment we are just hoping that Tom (Kristensen) will be able to race."
Johnny O'Connell, Corvette Racing
On the GT1 challenge:
"When we look at things, this will probably be our most difficult Le Mans. The Aston Martins should be faster. The Saleen has really been a car, since its inception, that should have been a dominant car. You talk to all the guys who have driven it and they love it. All that car has been lacking is a proper team to prepare and run it. Hughes de Chaunac's team (ORECA) is a top team with good drivers and I think they'll be the team to beat on speed. But our strength at Corvette Racing and General Motors has been our reliability. Every year our cars have finished the race and finished on the podium. We won't be the fastest but we'll be the toughest."
The 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET) on Saturday, June 16 from the Circuit de la Sarthe. SPEED will provide 17.5 hours of coverage in North America starting at 8:30 a.m. ET on June 16. MotorsTV will air week-long coverage throughout Europe. Live coverage can be found on Radio Le Mans through americanlemans.com.
The next race for the American Le Mans Series is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, set for 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 7 at Lime Rock Park. CBS Sports will televise the race at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 8. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA Live Timing & Scoring.