Guy Smith, 25, has been preparing hard for his first Le Mans 24 Hour race, which takes place at the famous French circuit next week. At the team's final test session before the event, which took place at Silverstone last week, Smith had a chance...
Guy Smith, 25, has been preparing hard for his first Le Mans 24 Hour race, which takes place at the famous French circuit next week. At the team's final test session before the event, which took place at Silverstone last week, Smith had a chance to try out the car in its Le Mans trim. For the last month he has been back at his home in Hull keeping trim with a rigorous training schedule to bring him up to peak fitness for the challenge; gym work, running and cycling programmes designed to build stamina and muscular strength.
The young British driver elected to contest the ALMS sportscar series this year, driving a Reynard 2KQ-LM with the Johannson Matthews Racing team. He shares driving responsibilities with ex-Formula 1 driver, Stefan Johannson and US team co-owner, Jim Matthews. He has only one previous 24 hour race experience - Daytona 24 Hours - which he took part in with the team earlier this year and was his first opportunity to race at night. Guy recalls this baptism, saying, "Daytona was a fantastic event. I'd never driven a 24 hour race, never driven at night and never driven on a banked circuit in a sportscar, so it was all fairly daunting. But it didn't take too long too get on the pace. My longest race up to that point had been about an hour and a half. I did four stints at Daytona and each one was longer than that!"
Smith was given his first taste of the Le Mans 24 Hour race circuit at the official test session at the end of April, experiencing the thrills of the super-fast Mulsanne straight and tricky Porsche curves. The memories are still fresh in his mind as he says; "My first lap of the Le Mans circuit was just awesome. I had never been to the circuit, so I didn't know quite what to expect and, of course, I had heard so much about it. But there's nothing like driving it. You just can't help grinning from ear to ear. The speed of the Mulsanne is incredible. Now, I just can't wait to get back there."
The team will travel to Le Mans on Monday in readiness for the scrutineering checks and official engagements for the drivers. The cars will take to the track for their first practice and provisional qualifying sessions on Wednesday, with further practice and final qualifying on Thursday. Smith looks forward to the event, commenting, "Now I've had that initial time in the car in April and learnt the circuit, I can start to concentrate on getting quicker. Le Mans is somewhere I've always wanted to race, so it really is a dream come true for me. Winning is, of course, our goal and I know the Johansson Matthews team, together with Reynard and Judd, will be doing their utmost to pursue this. We've got some strong opposition out there, but I hope we'll be out there putting up a good fight. We've got good speed, the car has been getting better and better and everyone's very focused, so all the ingredients are right. As for the outcome - well, I can't think of anything better than standing on the top of the podium - that's my goal."