Five questions put to Nicolas De Crem in the run-up to the 1000 Km of Spa NAMUR. The second round of the Le Mans Series is being held at Spa this coming weekend. As was the case at Paul Ricard several weeks ago Nicolas De Crem, together with ...
Five questions put to Nicolas De Crem in the run-up to the 1000 Km of Spa
NAMUR. The second round of the Le Mans Series is being held at Spa this coming weekend. As was the case at Paul Ricard several weeks ago Nicolas De Crem, together with Bernard Delhez and Dominik Kraihamer will also be at the start. During the winter season the young Nicolas De Crem made the transition from national to international motorsport and this season will be competing in the entire Le Mans Series at the wheel of a Formula Le Mans prototype of Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing. Just before the race in Spa we had a chat with the young Nicolas De Crem.
Nicolas, the transition from the national BTCS to the international Le Mans does not only imply faster cars, but also longer races, so how do you physically prepare?
"I've been training a fair amount in the field of endurance and cardio, with in my case an emphasis on running. But that isn't the only aspect of my physical training. In collaboration with the University of Salzburg, where my Austrian tem-mate Dominik Kraihamer also trains, we have worked out a specific programme, which in addition to endurance also concentrates on the strengthening of specific muscles, muscles specifically used when driving. Just take the neck, the arms and the torso. Motorport is a highly complete sport, even though people far too often ignore the fact."
What about the mental aspect of the preparation?
"Well I have that from all the people around me, with them I come to rest and concentration and therefore don't need to receive any additional mental support. I'm fortunate to have a perfect entourage and can find that peace of mind and rest in the team, providing me with all the support I need."
There were a few weeks between the races at Paul Ricard and Spa, and obviously the team didn't remain idle?
"Definitely not! The car was completely overhauled. The engine was shipped off to Oreca, because they are the only ones allowed to work on it, whilst the team of Thierry Boutsen Energy Racing thoroughly checked over the car and more especially the gearbox. The latter gave us a few headaches at the end of the race in Paul Ricard, and it transpired afterwards that we had entirely lost first gear. In addition we started to analyse all the data from last year's race, because these cars also ran at Spa last year and so we already know a few useful parameters. Based on that we have defined a basic set-up and will go out from that during the first free practice on Friday. Obviously adjustments can then be made, but I reckon that we're already looking pretty good."
What does the 1000 Km of Spa represent for you?
"It means an enormous amount. It's a race with a great tradition, an international reputation and on top of that we're racing in front of a home crowd. It's a legendary race and among the most prestigious sporting events of our country. I have quite a number of partners and supporters who will be travelling on down to the Ardennes, and that means that we'll be racing in a very special atmosphere. I'm delighted that both the RTBF in the French-speaking part of Belgium, as also EXQI in the Dutch-speaking part will be broadcasting the race live, which should provide our commercial partners with a substantial return."
Last but not least, where do you want to finish on Sunday?
"We're out to win, that's for sure. We have a strong team and three fast, homogenous drivers, so we won't be satisfied with less. During the first race Bernard Delhez clocked up sufficient kilometres and now knows the car as well as we do, and that's quite an advantage. On top of that all three of us know the Spa circuit pretty well. Just make a note of that, we're going all out for victory!"
Free practice takes place on Friday at 12.05hrs and 16.25hrs, and on Saturday at 9.45hrs, whilst the qualifying sessions start at 13.50hrs. The green light signalling the start of the race is on Sunday at 11.30hrs.
-source: Nicolas De Crem