Maxime Martin Le Mans 24H Race Report

Circuit de la Sarthe

Maxime Martin: « Le Mans, simply crazy … »

For any self-respecting driver, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is quite a feat in itself. A trend Maxime Martin was about to experience at first hand. Thanks to the collaboration between Kronos Racing and Marc VDS Racing, the young Belgian was able to realise the dream and discover this legendary circuit, at the wheel of a Prototype in the LMP1 category no less, none other than the superb Lola Aston Martin. The outcome was quite simply terrific: title of best Rookie following the qualifying sessions, 7th place overall, 2nd place in the LMP1 Petrol. Difficult to ask for more for an initial début…

#22 Kronos Racing Lola Aston Martin: Vanina Ickx, Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders
#22 Kronos Racing Lola Aston Martin: Vanina Ickx, Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

« Over and above all Le Mans is an incredible atmosphere, and in all honesty I must admit that it went way beyond what I had imagined, Maxime explained. Over the entire weekend there were approximately 250,000 spectators, all passionate motorsport fans. Simply crazy! Amongst some of unforgettable moments; the parade on Friday through the centre of Le Mans, where I was officially awarded the title of Rookie of the Year on a podium, following my lap times during qualifying. And then there are all these spectators around the circuit. Everywhere. All the time. Not only are the fervent motorsport aficionados present, but the masses also, which is rather unusual … »

And then there is this Le Mans circuit, like no other, with its endless straights, its fast bends, its length and atmosphere. An incredible challenge. Enough ingredients to make these 24 Hours of Le Mans an event entirely different from any other … « It’s totally atypical, Martin continued. For example, it’s different from the 24 Hours of Spa. Physically driving this LMP1 didn’t create any more problems than those with a GT. On the other hand, mentally, Le Mans is tough. The difference in speed between the GT cars and the Prototypes means that you permanently have to be on the look-out. On the straights one might have a tendency to let go somewhat, to drop one’s guard, however the braking zone is quickly upon you, and the slower cars also … Having seen the pictures of the Audi crashes, one realises that the slightest error of judgement can have disastrous consequences, and you say to yourself that this could be dangerous. But once you are behind the wheel you forget all about it. However, as compared to the official drivers who are battling it out for victory over a few seconds I must admit that we took far less risks during overtaking. There was no question of trying everything and anything, seeing our main objective was to bring the Lola Aston Martin across the finish line … »

I truly hope to be back at Le Mans in the future, because it’s for this type of experience that we go racing.

Maxime Martin

A brilliantly accomplished mission; throughout the entire race the #22 was hardly slowed down. … « In the beginning of the race Vanina lost a wheel, and with only four hours to go she went off track, luckily without any serious damage. The team carried out the necessary repairs, and we lost some 6 to 8 laps with this incident. Seeing we finished 10 laps down from the Lola Toyota Rebellion, there’s no reason for any regrets. Our 2nd place in the Petrol Prototypes and this 7th place overall perfectly reflects our performance … »

All that now remains is the memory, and obviously the hope of returning to the Sarthe asphalt … « According to the wish of its owner, our Lola Aston Martin LMP1 has competed in its last race, and the least one can say is that it ended its career on a high note. A result fully appreciated by all those in charge at Aston Martin Racing, who congratulated and thanked us. I truly hope to be back at Le Mans in the future, because it’s for this type of experience that we go racing … »

-source: Maxime Martin PR

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Eric Gilbert , Bas Leinders , Maxime Martin
Teams Aston Martin Racing , Marc VDS Racing
Tags aston martin, kronos, lola, marc vds, maxime martin