Preparation is just one part of the Le Mans odyssey The preparation required by a team and drivers contesting Le Mans is mind blowing and starts months before the 24 hours of racing action. Every team member, the cars and drivers have to be in...
Preparation is just one part of the Le Mans odyssey
The preparation required by a team and drivers contesting Le Mans is mind blowing and starts months before the 24 hours of racing action. Every team member, the cars and drivers have to be in top condition and I'm pleased to say everything is shaping up nicely for my attempt to take four consecutive class wins, racing in the LMP2 class with Highcroft Racing for the first time.
The HPD ARX-01c Highcroft car has already undergone extensive preparation, including a 12-hour test at Sebring and complete dress rehearsal to switch to a new aero kit especially developed for Le Mans.
Fresh from taking back-to-back American Le Mans Series (ALMS) wins on May 22, Highcroft have been busy completely changing the cars once again to Le Mans configuration, ready to be shipped from Connecticut to France just a few days later.
Meanwhile, I flew back from the States last week accompanied by my Le Mans teammates - Marino Franchitti and Marco Werner - for an intensive training camp with my trainer.
I know Marino well as he's a key part of Highcroft's ALMS driver lineup, and although I've not co-driven with Marco before he brings strong Le Mans experience, having won with Audi.
A key ingredient to a team's success is chemistry between the drivers, so to spend several days undergoing rigorous training and team bonding programs with Marino and Marco was fantastic. We all went away not just feeling fitter, but closer.
We also did 12 hours on the race simulator at Wirth Research. The session gave the guys invaluable insight, as Marino hasn't raced a prototype at Le Mans before and the ARX-01c is a very different animal to the diesel Audi for Marco, while I continued on the setup analysis we've been developing for some time.
The simulator is a major asset as you've effectively done a day's testing by the time you arrive on track. You don't have a lot of time at Le Mans because it's such a long lap and every driver has to make their run, so you have to make clear and concise decisions about the car's setup.
On the simulator we set the model of the car, the tires and the track, enabling us to get vital information such as aero balance, gear ratios, what sort of roll bars and springs we need. That bank of information will help us know what direction we need to take the set-up, and make decisions quickly and clearly when we get to Le Mans.
That's the level of preparation and technology behind trying to win Le Mans and the height of professionalism continually shown by Highcroft Racing, regardless of whether we're preparing for the team's Le Mans debut or a test session.
After such a successful week, with many parts of the jigsaw coming together, I'm confident that everyone is well prepared to take LMP2 victory at Le Mans.