Only a year ago, Michael Waltrip was discovering endurance sportscar racing at his first participation in the Dubai 24 Hours in an AF Corse Ferrari F430 GTC. The experience was so memorable for the NASCAR driver that he did everything he could...
Michael Waltrip : "Le Mans, Le Mans, Le Mans..."
Only a year ago, Michael Waltrip was discovering endurance sportscar racing at his first participation in the Dubai 24 Hours in an AF Corse Ferrari F430 GTC. The experience was so memorable for the NASCAR driver that he did everything he could to get back here.
"Here, the people are cool and it's a real pleasure to be present. I just have to be careful not to spend to much time at Burj Khalifa (laughs). I love the track and I've now got a year's experience behind me."
Unfortunately the 2010 race ended in the night.
"The traffic on track is always a problem, particularly at night. I couldn't do anything to avoid contact since a competitor was sideways in front of me. This year, it's even more crazy with even more cars on track. The car speeds are different, making the management of traffic an important factor. I like the challenge and hope that we'll see the finish at the highest position possible. The practice sessions went well and the car is good. That said, we'll have to have a little luck considering the quality of the field."
Last summer, Michael also participated in the 24 Hours of Spa, again in an AF Corse F430.
"In Belgium as well, I really enjoyed the experience because the race pace was so good and everyone was sharp. Going into the Raidillon at night is magic. We finished third in class and it's a good memory for me."
The next step for Michael is already in sight and should happen at Le Mans this June.
"I'm already in mode Le Mans. Le Mans, Le Mans, Le Mans (laughs). It's a dream for me! I'm hoping to realize it starting this year with partner Rob Kaufman. Ask Rob what he thinks of Le Mans. Everyone wants to go, us included. We are going to do everything we can to be there. We've already planned to be present at the official Le Mans Series tests at Paul Ricard HTTT before a likely entry in the 1000km of Spa to better prepare for the Sarthe classic."
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Author: Laurent Mercier, Endurance-info.com
English translation: Rainier Ehrhardt