Simon Pagenaud has contested practically all the world’s best-known races, from the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Monaco Grand Prix (Formula Renault 3.5), to the Indy 500. This weekend, the Frenchman is about to add another classic to that list, namely Saturday’s 24 Hours of Daytona.
Along with his American team-mates Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker, Simon is looking forward to familiarising himself with the subtleties of his N°42 Riley-BMW round the Floridian track which uses both the celebrated Tri-Oval and infield sections. The objective of this first attempt is to produce a reliable run and go the longest distance possible, an approach which has a habit of paying dividends in the world of 24-hour racing.
Meanwhile, this weekend’s competition marks an end to Simon’s winter break. After an intensive fitness training programme and long sessions sitting in Dallara’s IndyCar simulator in Italy, it is time for serious business to resume, and the 24 Hours of Daytona represents a challenging appetiser before the Frenchman kicks off his second IZOD IndyCar Series with Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports. It promises to keep him very busy, too, since the 2013 Indy calendar features 16 meetings, including three that will stage two races!
SIMON SAYS... “The close season is well and truly over! I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a race car in anger again. The year promises to bring its fair share of new, exciting challenges, beginning with my first attempt at the 24 Hours of Daytona. It’s an adventure I am sharing with Sahlen which is also making its debut in the Daytona Prototype class. We face competition from some far more experienced teams, including a number of former winners. We know it’s going to be a steep learning curve but we will do our best, and long races like this often throw up their fair share of surprises. The team and I will obviously be thrilled if we manage to secure a top result at first attempt.
"After the race, I will continue my preparation and test programmes ahead of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series. It’s great to be continuing my apprenticeship with Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports. Hopefully, we will do even better than last season [fifth and best rookie]. I can’t wait for the action to begin at Saint Petersburg [Florida].”