LIZ HALLIDAY ON . . . LE MANS This weekend, Liz Halliday returns to Le Mans for the official test day that forms the prelude to the world's most famous endurance sports car race. Liz and teammates Clint Field and Duncan Dayton will each pilot...
LIZ HALLIDAY ON . . . LE MANS
This weekend, Liz Halliday returns to Le Mans for the official test day that forms the prelude to the world's most famous endurance sports car race.
Liz and teammates Clint Field and Duncan Dayton will each pilot the Intersport Racing Lola in their bid to capture the LMP2 class victory at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The race, scheduled for June 17-18, will be televised worldwide, with United States coverage provided by SPEED Channel and throughout Europe by MotorsTV.
Liz recently reflected on her first trip to Le Mans a year ago, and several other Le Mans-related topics:
What do you remember most about your debut at Le Mans last year?
"Wow! It was truly amazing -- Really the most spectacular event I have ever been a part of. I remember the awe of taking to the track for the first time and thinking, 'Wow, I'm actually here!' Also the fans were incredible -- it was totally unbelievable to be around the hundreds of thousands of people who come to watch the race. I really can't wait to be there again!"
You led the LMP2 class for quite some time before a mechanical failure shelved the car. How will this year be different, for you and the team?
"Well, I think that we were a strong team last year, but since then they have had more time to get to know the car, and AER has done more work on the engine reliability as well, so in theory we are even better prepared this time.
Last year's Le Mans was also my first race ever in this car. Since then, I have had many more races and wins with the team and the car. We have a great driver lineup and crew, and hopefully we will be on the podium at the end."
You and Intersport go into Le Mans on the strength of three straight American Le Mans Series podium finishes. How important is this momentum going to France?
"It's great to go into a big race like Le Mans knowing that you have had a strong start to the year. The win at Sebring is especially important because the car ran almost flawlessly for the twelve hours -- that's a big boost for the team."
What's the most difficult thing for a driver in preparing for Le Mans?
"I think the mental and physical preparation are both difficult. Because you are sometimes doing three or four-hour stints at Le Mans, you need to have a lot of endurance fitness, as well as neck and upper body strength. The other big factor at Le Mans is mental fitness. It's the biggest endurance race in the world and there is a lot of pressure on the drivers to perform well and get to the finish. If you're well rested and prepared, you can put everything [you have] into the race."
When will you travel to France, and what will you be doing as soon as you arrive?
"I will be traveling to France on the Sunday before the race [June 11]. There will be a day of scrutineering, which is always busy, but around that you want to have as much time as possible to relax and settle in before the driving starts on Wednesday."
If you are to win Le Mans, what factors must come into play?
"Well, most importantly there must be reliability from the car and the drivers. We need to be quick and consistent without taking too many risks. Also, a good race strategy from the team must be in place so as to keep the car running in the best condition possible. It's all a team effort, and the main goal has to first be to finish."
What LMP2 cars will be your chief competitors?
I think our main competitors will be the RML car, which won last year; the Belmondo cars, as they tend to be very reliable; and there are many more competitors this year who we need to be wary of such as Synergy, Rollcentre and Binnie Motorsports."