YOONG COUNTS DOWN TO LE MANS 24 HOUR RACE NEXT WEEKEND
Alex Yoong, A1 Team Malaysia driver, will be the first Malaysian to take part in the world famous Le Mans 24 hour race on June 18 -- 19.
In the build up to this gruelling weekend he is following a strict exercise and diet routine, and training hard for his debut.
Last week Alex was given his first taste of the Le Mans circuit at the pre-event testing and gained an insight into the world's greatest sports car race. Since 1923 the allure of the Le Mans circuit and the challenge of a round-the-clock race has compelled the best teams and drivers to make the annual pilgrimage.
Alex says of Le Mans, "For a driver, this is the toughest test in sports car racing. It's a physically demanding car, with a long, challenging lap, which needs total concentration and stamina.
For the spectator, there's plenty to see and do. Watching over 50 cars racing at over 200 mph, with dazzling headlamps during the night, listening to the screaming engines on the long Mulsanne straight, riding the giant ferris wheel at the trackside funfair, it's non-stop action for the 200,000 fans who make the trip to this historic event."
The '24 Heures du Mans' race itself may only be 24 hours long, but for Alex his race build-up starts much earlier. He'll arrive in Le Mans on Monday and spend the time re-familiarising himself with the team set up, meeting with the engineers and co-drivers, and developing a preliminary race strategy. On Tuesday the car will be given a comprehensive technical inspection by the race officials, and Alex along with all the other drivers, will have his equipment safety checked as well, including his race helmet, HANS device and firesuit. The race cars are on display in Le Mans city centre for much of the day.
Wednesday is an opportunity for fans to visit the pits and see all the Le Mans race cars up close. The three RfH team drivers -- Alex and team mates, Jan Lammers and Stefan Johannsson will be on hand to sign autographs during the afternoon, before an official Drivers Briefing and, in the evening, the first two qualifying sessions with all three drivers taking a turn behind the wheel.
Final qualifying takes place on Thursday and Alex will again be out in the car and chasing a strong qualifying position and car setup for the race on Saturday.
Alex will be able to catch his breath on Friday, as it's a day off from track activity and driving, but he'll still be kept busy. As well as team briefing and strategy meetings, he'll be making sponsor appearances and taking part in the drivers' parade in the centre of Le Mans, giving fans their final chance to meet their favourite drivers.
An uninterrupted night of sleep will be next on the agenda for Alex, as he makes his final preparation for the race ahead, when he'll be 'catnapping' when he's not driving in the race.
On Saturday Alex will have a leisurely breakfast followed by final team meetings, and a sports massage to prepare his body for the extremes of racing that he'll endure over the next 24 hours. As the race commences Alex will be alternating driving with his two team mates and when he's not in the car, he'll be resting and preparing for the next stint. This routine will continue until Sunday afternoon, when the team hope to be celebrating success in the Le Mans 24 hour race.
Alex says of his week ahead, "I'm used to preparing for a maximum of two hours racing and perhaps another couple of hours practice and qualifying beforehand, so this week of activity is new to me. I'll be driving for around eight hours within 24 hours, as well as around two hours of qualifying on Wednesday and Thursday. It's going to be an intense week, but I'm really looking forward to my first experience of racing in this historic event."