Circuit de la Sarthe
The four golden rules to win Le Mans!
To have any chance of winning the biggest motor race in the world you obviously need a fast and reliable car, but it’s not the only factor. Benoît reveals the four simple rules that can help tip the balance!
With six participations at the Le Mans 24 Hours already under his belt, Benoît Tréluyer’s objective this year is to do better than in 2010. Only one step away from the top of the podium last year, his first with Audi, he is now dreaming of adding his name to the race’s prestigious list of winners. Like every other year, the Alençon-born driver, who grew up in the backyard of the Circuit de la Sarthe, has not let anything interrupt his preparations. With the 2011 edition of the race set to get underway, he gives us some crucial tips and rules that are his keys to success.
Set-up and comfort
First of all, you must have a good set-up on the car or you’re going to get tired very quickly. Last year, we found a perfect driving position. This year with the Audi R18 TDI it was a totally new situation, but we got there in the end. Driving comfort is essential. You can arrive at Le Mans in the best possible physical condition, but if you aren’t comfortable in the car, you will destroy yourself very quickly! Although the 24 Hours circuit is not one of the most physical by nature, as it provides some ‘relaxation’ periods on the straights, it is very demanding mentally. To lose the least possible time, you must be able to drive at the top of your game during the longest period of time and, to achieve this, a good driving position is crucial.
To be efficient, a team must be well organised but must not be too big! If there are too many people it can become cumbersome to manage. You need enough to ensure you’re not snowed under with work, but not too many to maintain good communication. At some stage during the development phase of a new car it can happen that staff from other departments is required and the team grows for a period of time. But for the event, the team will return to its normal size and continue the perfect communication between its members - one of its biggest strengths.
Getting along with your team mates
To make a good team, it’s not just about a question of being homogenous, but more about getting on well with each other. Therefore, prior to the event, it’s important to build a certain atmosphere within the team. It doesn’t happen during the 24 Hours week, by then it’s too late. We have a perfect harmony with André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler; as well as with the other Audi drivers. The benefit of having been able to build something so strong is that we can say anything to each other, even things that we don’t agree on. We know each other well and we know that it won’t have a negative effect on the atmosphere. I have great confidence in André, who showed during the last Spa 1000kms what he was capable of. The same applies for Marcel, who I am starting to know very well. Maintaining a friendship with your team-mates also means that you don’t want to bring back a damaged car at the end of your stint. To win Le Mans you need to have a lot of respect for your team, your mechanics and your team mates.
Drive at your own pace To win the 24 Hours you need a reliable car that is fast, easy to drive and has good fuel consumption – all qualities that the Audi R18 TDI has. We have done several endurance tests during the past months and we are well prepared. However, in race conditions, you have to take traffic into account and at Le Mans it’s always an important factor. With regards strategy, ours is to f concentrate on our own and to drive at a good pace that includes a safety margin, which is a bit more important than during any other race. You have to avoid following the pace set by your competitors. Even if you would be a bit slower, it’s important not to panic. You have to run at the pace you are capable of. This is the most important rule - the golden rule.
-source: Benoit Treluyer