Circuit de la Sarthe
Le Mans 24 Hours Q&A
Robertson Racing make their long-awaited Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend with husband and wife duo Dave Robertson and Andrea Robertson joined by long-time driver partner David Murry behind the wheel of the team’s #68 Ford GT. Here the American trio offer their thoughts ahead of the great race.
I always thought Sebring and Petit were huge events but this is 100 times bigger!
1. It’s your first Le Mans 24 Hours. You must be excited?
Dave Robertson: Absolutely! The first few days have already been a fantastic experience and that’s without even getting in the car!
Andrea Robertson: Yes, a little, but more nervous and apprehensive at what’s in front of us. This is after all the biggest motor race in the world.
2. Earliest memories of the race?
DR: Aged 12 watching the race on ABC network’s Wide World of Sports. That’s when I thought it was really neat and far more interesting than some of the things I had been doing.
AR: Similar to Dave; watching TV in the late 60’s when the Fords dominated this race.
3. What has it taken for you and the team to get here?
DR: Lots of paperwork, money and practice! But that’s to be expected!
AR: A lot of hard work and dedication from everyone involved, but we have not once considered giving up. On a personal note, it takes a lot of discipline on both the mental and physical sides. Being a woman, you are always considered the underdog so you have to work harder but I just want to be the best I can be. To me I don’t believe age makes a difference.
4. Ever believe you would make it?
DR: We only really began thinking seriously about the possibility in the last two years. Up to then it was just a dream really.
AR: It has taken some time and we have had to overcome a number of obstacles. Thankfully we made it in the end.
5. Does being a husband and wife team bring with it added pressures?
DR: No, actually it simplifies the whole operation. As a couple, we have a different, more positive way of communicating with each other than if we were merely colleagues. There’s no ego and we share the same interests for the team. There’s no internal competition.
AR: That’s also true when we’re behind the wheel. We both have a different approach - Dave is very analytical and technical while in comparison, I just drive! I have a very competitive streak – and we both respect that. It’s important to have give and take in any relationship.
6. How is Le Mans different to any of the ALMS races?
DR: The scale is much larger. There’s no circuit like this in the States and while Sebring is always well attended, there are just so many more people at Le Mans. There’s a lot going on around the week.
AR: I always thought Sebring and Petit were huge events but this is 100 times bigger! The attention the cars and drivers receive from the fans is just incredible. Scrutineering was a real eye opener. I think running the Ford GT plays a part. The fans are very appreciative of the race’s past and I’m sure we’ll see that again during the Drivers’ Parade on Friday.
7. Was it an easy decision to transfer Dave Murry to the #68 car?
DR: Very easy. Dave has been an integral part of the Robertson Racing story since the start. We would not be here without him so it was 100% right that he be a part of this adventure.
AR: He’s part of the family really! Obviously we miss the other boys not being here and it’s disappointing that the other car didn’t make the list. But Dave has been part of the program since 2007 and we would not be here without him. He knows us inside out and also has Le Mans experience.
8. Which stint are you looking forward to the most?
DR: First and last will be the most interesting and emotional.
AR: All of them! It’s taken four years to get here so I’m going to savour every lap.
9. Do you see yourself as ‘outsiders’ coming over from America?
DR: No, not really. Everything is united by racing. People might speak different languages and go about their business in different ways but we are all here to do one thing.
AR: To an extent, yes, but we take great comfort in the familiar faces around the paddock.
10. Finally, who’s the better driver?!
DR: I’ll dodge that question by saying David Murry! In all aspects.
AR: David Murry.
This time we are making American history coming from the States with an American car.
11. David, I guess that’s as good a cue as any! You’re a veteran of three Le Mans. How has the event changed since you last raced here ten years ago?
David Murry: Quite a bit actually. I was last here ten years ago, which isn’t that long considering the race’s long history. Scrutineering is no longer behind the museum in town which was always a great setting. There’s also more track time and the event just seems to be that much bigger. The track’s not changed that much though.
12. Ever think you would return?
DM: Not really but it’s really nice to come back after a decade as you appreciate it for what it is. Every time you race here it is different and very special. This time we are making American history coming from the States with an American car.
13. How has the GT class changed since you finished second here in 2000?
DM: The biggest change by far is driver comfort as we now have air conditioning and cool suits. Of course you also have the evolution of the GT cars which are now about eight seconds faster per lap than 10 years ago.
14. You’ve raced in every category at Le Mans. Which was the best?
DM: They are all very different. I loved fighting for overall position in the factory Porsche and of course the podium we scored was a great moment. However, every time is different and this year will be very special due to the American history.
15. What are the team’s objectives for this year’s race?
DM: To finish, first and foremost. A lot of people say that but at Le Mans it’s a victory in itself. Also to make sure the Robertsons enjoy their first of hopefully many Le Mans experiences.
16. Has the team made any specific changes to the car for this race?
DM: No. The team developed the car over the winter and made a lot of progress, but as an independent operation it’s impossible to tailor the car to a specific circuit with significant updates.
The 79th Le Mans 24 Hours kicks off this Saturday (11 June) at 3pm local time.
-source: robertson racing