Spa 24H: United Autosports - Eddie Cheever preview

Eddie Cheever (USA). Age: 52. Born: Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Lives: Indianapolis, USA Spa 24Hr: Debut. Spa History: Spa debut May 22 1983 F1/3rd, F1 (1983, 85-89 -- 1983/3rd, 1987/4th, 1988/6th), GpC (1986/5th, 1987/4th. Last race at Spa:...

Eddie Cheever (USA). Age: 52. Born: Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Lives: Indianapolis, USA

Spa 24Hr: Debut. Spa History: Spa debut May 22 1983 F1/3rd, F1 (1983, 85-89 -- 1983/3rd, 1987/4th, 1988/6th), GpC (1986/5th, 1987/4th. Last race at Spa: 1989/Ret (F1). Other 24Hr races: Le Mans (1980/19th, 1981/8th, 1986/24th, 1987/5th. Daytona (2006/17th, 2007/32nd).

Shares #68 Remington / Singapore Stock Exchange / Road & Track / Legends of Motorsports / LG Electronics Audi R8 LMS with Zak Brown (USA), Mark Blundell (GB) and Richard Dean (GB).

"It's a great circuit and I finished third on my Spa debut in 1983. Renault was the first big team that I raced with and Alain Prost was my team-mate. It is a truly fantastic track and is very different to other circuits, Spa having a very natural flow to it.

"Monaco, Monza and Indianapolis, along with Spa, are the tracks that I think always require a certain amount of attention because of the history and the drivers that have raced there. Spa is a place where the great American driver Dan Gurney won a Grand Prix, for example, and there are so many historical moments that if you are a race car driver, you are always intimately involved with so it is nice to come to Spa and race again.

"The drive at Spa came about because of my friendship with Zak [Brown]. I'm also involved in Grand-Am racing in the United States, I own a company that makes the Daytona Prototype sportscars, so there is an element of curiosity of wanting to come back over to Europe and have a look at these cars.

"It was nice to see that Spa hadn't changed that much when I was over earlier this month for the test day. I've raced there [Spa] almost 10 times but never at night I don't recall. There is also a history of rain at Spa, whatever time of the year, but that doesn't bother me. I like driving in the rain, especially there [Spa], I've always liked racing in the wet. I honestly hope that I get a wet driving 'stint' during the race.

"I used to do a lot of running when I was a child at school and my father used to tell me that if you are tired then the guy next to you is even more tired. So using this theory, if it is slippery for you, it is even more slippery for the next guy -- the more difficult the conditions the better!

"In addition to Formula One Grand Prix cars, I've driven the Group C Jaguar sportscar over there [Spa]. I won many races for Jaguar in the late 1980s but always fell short at the Le Mans 24 Hours. On one occasion Derek Warwick and I comfortably led with an hour to go only for a small bolt to come lose so 24 hour races can, at times, be very frustrating. But I like long distance racing. I was very lucky that I got to do a lot with Derek - he was a great co-driver an absolute 'workhorse'. We would both do four hour 'stints', one after the other, which I never want to do again but I am glad I did them.

"To win a race like the Spa 24 Hours is an aggregate of everybody's effort. It's an aggregate of the mechanics effort, the drivers, the engineers -- you have to manage to amalgamate all of this so that at the end at the last hour you still have a good strong car and that someone is driving it intelligently and hopefully you haven't made many mistakes. It is not so much about speed, more about being consistent. A perfect 24 hour race is when you do your 'stint', you come in, you put in fuel, you change driver, change tyres then do it all over again while keeping out of trouble.

"I have great memories with Jaguar at Spa while I had a fourth place there with Arrows which was great. It was a very exciting era in Formula 1 in coming to Spa and getting on a podium was good, it was a lot of fun. Hopefully we can have a good run with the Audi."

-source: united autosports

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