Fernandez Excited, Optimistic for Le Mans Debut Adrian Fernandez will be making his first career start in the world's most famous endurance race this Saturday -- the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fernandez, alongside teammates ...
Fernandez Excited, Optimistic for Le Mans Debut
Adrian Fernandez will be making his first career start in the world's most famous endurance race this Saturday -- the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fernandez, alongside teammates Haruki Kurosawa of Japan and Robbie Kerr of England, will pilot the Barazi Epsilon-entered #33 Zytek 07S/2 sportscar sponsored by Lowe's in LMP2 class competition. The field of 55 cars will take the green flag at 3:00 pm local time (9:00 am ET) following a week of activities leading up to the prestigious event.
A successful outing in official pre-race testing saw the #33 Zytek machine at the top of the time sheets with Fernandez posting a lap [3:39.016] that was two seconds quicker than last year's pole time, a lap eventually matched by the team's sister car -- the #32 entry driven by Michael Vergers. While Fernandez acknowledges that a variety of factors can affect victory in an endurance race, he is cautiously optimistic heading into this weekend's race following the team's efforts to date.
Adrian Fernandez on Le Mans:
What is it like to drive the Le Mans Circuit? "It is just an unbelievable experience. We are going over 200+ mph on public roads in some parts. It is just fantastic and I absolutely love driving it. We are at full throttle most of the time so this is a very fast track. It is also very challenging. If you make one small mistake, you pay big. There are not many race tracks in the world that are as fast as this one and that's what makes it so special. When I went on the track for the first time, it was on a bicycle and I felt like I went back in time. You can feel the history here. The first time I left the pits, I actually had goose bumps. To drive here is just a tremendous experience."
What are your thoughts on the race? "With the line-up we have with Haruki and Robbie and the Zytek package, I'm very excited about our chances in the race. I think we have everything we need going in and if we take care of the car, I think we can win. I have really been impressed by Zytek; they have done a great job. Our goal in competing at Le Mans this year was to learn everything we could to bring Lowe's Fernandez Racing here and we are accomplishing that with the help of Zytek. This is one of the most impressive events that I have ever prepared for."
* Fernandez will be the first Mexican driver in over a decade to contest the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The last was Tomas Lopez in 1991.
* The last Le Mans win by a Mexican driver was Pedro Rodriguez, one of Fernandez's heroes, in 1968.
* Fernandez's first-ever auto race was the 24 Hours of Mexico in 1981; he last competed in a 24-hour endurance race in 2006, at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where an overheating problem retired the #12 Lowe's entry at the eight-hour mark.
* Fernandez is hoping to one day bring his Acura-powered Lowe's Fernandez Racing team and co-driver Luis Diaz to Le Mans and is using the opportunity to partner with Zytek this year as a learning experience. Lowe's Fernandez Racing's Tom Anderson [co-owner and managing director], Steve Miller [general manager] and John Hennek [engineer] were present at the Le Mans pre-race test and will also be attending the race.
* The #33 Zytek LMP2 07S/2 sportscar is powered by a Zytek 3.4-liter V-8 engine and is run on Michelin tires.
* Haruki Kurosawa [Ha-roo-key Cur-o-sow-a], 29, from Shizuoka, Japan, had his best finish in two starts at Le Mans in 2004 with a 12th-place result; he has spent the last two years competing in the European Le Mans Series.
* Robbie Kerr, 27, from Burbage, Leicestershire, England, will be making his Le Mans debut; the former British F3 champion most recently represented his country in the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport ranks.
* Lowe's Fernandez Racing currently competes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with Fernandez and Diaz piloting the #15 Lowe's Acura Lola to two top-four finishes to date including a second-place run in the 12 Hours of Sebring.