smart strategy Orbit Racing returns to the 24 Heures du Mans with a custom plan. Leo Hindery of New York, Peter Baron of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Marc Lieb of Germany will drive the No. 87 YES Network Porsche in the June 14/15 endurance race...
Orbit Racing returns to the 24 Heures du Mans with a custom plan. Leo Hindery of New York, Peter Baron of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Marc Lieb of Germany will drive the No. 87 YES Network Porsche in the June 14/15 endurance race in Le Mans, France. Hindery and Baron drove together at Le Mans last year, starting fifth and finishing seventh. They believe their experience will prove valuable in setting this year's race strategy.
"The first time we came to le Mans, we treated it as if it was the Daytona 24, and it's much different," Hindery said. "Daytona starts at 1, much earlier in the year. It gets dark earlier and stays dark longer. In Le Mans, we start at 4, it's light until about 10:15, then by 4:30 in the morning, you see sun again. So we can be more clever about how we stint the drivers.
"Last year, we were more traditional, and there's a lot of nuance to this race that you figure out the second time. We're better-prepared all around. I think we all know how to calm down a little better, get a little more rest. I think we'll do pretty well this year."
set for 24
Lieb is a rookie at Le Mans, but he knows the importance of setting up the car for 24 hours on the long 13.65-km course.
"The most important thing is to work on the race setup to make the car easy to drive for 24 hours," he explained. "It is important to have a setup which is not hard for the tires, so that the tires last for a stint and double stints for the night. Le Mans is surprisingly hard for the tires - I wasn't expecting that! And the car has to be drivable for every driver."
Heavy rain is possible, but Lieb said it's not a factor in car setup: "You try to make it as good as possible under dry conditions. The changes you have to do for the rain are much easier and you can do them quickly during a pit stop."
Baron started an Orbit Racing tradition at Le Mans last year, catapulting team t-shirts across pit lane to fans in the grandstand. He's back this year with more treats.
"We want to be the most fan-friendly team," he said. "Le Mans is the highlight of our racing year. Not only do we enjoy the race, but all the events that surround it. Because the race is so special for us, we want to make it special for the fans, too.
"Last year, we used a giant slingshot and launched a thousand t-shirts into the stands across pit lane. The fans told us we were one of the few teams that stood outside their pit area signing autograph cards. We also let kids sit in the race car. We have more shirts this year - kid sizes, too - and thousands of autograph cards. We're ready!"