Xavier Maassen heads off FOR 77th EDITION 24 HOURS OF LE MANS with ONE ambition
LANAKEN. 'Newcomer and achiever', these are Xavier Maassen's key words regarding his first participation at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This promising GT driver is presently ranked third in the FIA GT championship and will now also be at the start of the world's greatest race, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. It goes without saying that Xavier Maassen will be competing with his FIA GT team, namely Luc Alphand Aventures at the wheel of the trusty Corvette C6.R, which he will be sharing for the occasion with Frenchmen Yann Clairay and Julien Jousse. His main ambition? "Well quite clearly a third place behind the two official Pratt & Miller Corvette would, unless they encounter problems, be the highest attainable, but I really want to achieve that. A podium at Le Mans is a pretty exceptional objective!"
Getting fully prepared
Xavier Maassen, the Belgian-Dutchman is presently preparing for Le Mans "and I'm looking forward to it more and more as the date approaches", he told us after a one and a half-hour running session. "My physical preparation is going smoothly, what with mountain bike training in the Eifel, long-distance running and fitness. We also went testing with the entire team last week in Dijon, in order to get to know each other better and to focus on being together for one full week. Because Le Mans is in fact far more than a normal race, something I had already discovered last year. At that time I visited Pratt & Miller during the qualifying sessions and you can't help but be highly impressed by it all."
Xavier Maassen: "After my participation at the GP of Monaco with the Formula Renault 3.5, Le Mans is actually the second highlight in my career. Monaco, Le Mans and the Indy 500 are more than mere car races; they are world renowned events generating an enormous impact on the public, the media and the motorsport world in general. You need to look no further than the presence of works cars such as Audi, Corvette, Peugeot and Aston Martin."
Xavier Maassen is clear cut regarding his ambition. "What with the entry of the two official Corvette C6.R you know that winning is a pretty difficult assignment. That team is a step ahead of all the others and it's not for nothing that they won five of the eight last editions of this race in the GT1 class. But we are determined to go for a podium and third place is our objective. Anything on top of that would obviously be a bonus. Our major competitors are in fact our own team-mates at Alphand: Luc Alphand, Patrice Goueslard and Stephane Gregoire. They might be somewhat slower, but they have loads of experience..."
The Netherlands well represented
Xavier Maassen is not the only Dutchman competing at Le Mans. "No, that's correct. What might give an extra dimension to a strong performance is the presence of a fair number of Dutch top performers at the start of the race: Christian Albers, Jos Verstappen, Charles Zwolsman, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Kox and Tom Coronel. That's an exceptionally strong delegation, with only Jan Lammers missing this year."
Xavier Maassen's team-mates are the young Frenchmen Julien Jousse (23) and Yann Clairay (25). Xavier had in the past competed against Julien Jousse in the Formula Renault 3.5 and the young Frenchman is now competing in the new F2-class, whilst Yann Clairay similar to Xavier has moved over from single- seaters to GT racing and competes for Alphand in the Le Mans Series.