Buemi wary of "dangerous" amateurs, wet conditions

Toyota driver Sebastien Buemi is predicting a race of survival in this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours courtesy of wet conditions and a high number of event rookies. 

Buemi wary of "dangerous" amateurs, wet conditions
Listen to this article

The Swiss driver believes that getting through the traffic without incident will be the key to a race that is forecast to be affected by rain for much of its duration. 

He has admitted to concerns about the amateur drivers and in particular the rookies, who have had less track time ahead of this year's rescheduled race as a result of the cancellation of the traditional pre-event track day. 

"I'm going into the race thinking it is a survival race," said Buemi, who shares the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley.

"Contact could happen much more easily than it did in the past and I will try to go with an extra margin [when passing slower cars].

"A professional driver when he gets to Le Mans starts at a very good level, but the amateurs haven't had the test day and been able to think about it before they come back."

Read Also:

Buemi suggested that the problem of negotiating amateur drivers in the LMP2 and GTE Am classes will be exacerbated by the longer period of darkness in this year's double-points round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. 

"It is so difficult with the amateurs in the night," he said. "They take such a big margin, they don't know where to go, they drive in the middle [of the track], it is really dangerous. 

"Sometimes they move, but most of the time they move too late and that can create an accident. They need to stick to their racing line as much as possible and we can drive around them."

Hartley said that he hoped that the amateurs will become more accustomed to the track and the conditions as the race wears on. 

"It has certainly felt that there are a few more newcomers out there this year," he said. 

"We've all been new to Le Mans and it takes a while to get up to speed, but hopefully during the race they will figure it out and understand where we are going to go [when passing]."

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon revealed that he is briefing his drivers to be extra vigilant in traffic this year.

"That has been part of our briefing with our drivers, that this year there are a lot of rookie drivers and they need to take care," he said. 

There are almost 40 Le Mans rookies on the entry for this year's race, while the two pro-am classes, LMP2 and GTE Am, make up a higher proportion of the field than in previous years. 

There are 24 P2 cars compared with 20 last year, and 22 GTE Am entries versus 17 at Le Mans in 2019, with the LMP1 and GTE Pro classes both shrinking from their 2019 levels.

It is possible that it will start raining as early as 7pm, most likely with thunderstorms, and the percentage chance of rain will increase through the night. 

Forecasts suggest a dry period of the race just after dawn on Sunday, with a brief return of rain later in the morning. The race starts at 2:30pm local time. 

shares
comments
Aston Martin qualifying pace "didn't make sense" - Makowiecki
Previous article

Aston Martin qualifying pace "didn't make sense" - Makowiecki

Next article

United Autosports “not favourites” despite record LMP2 pace

United Autosports “not favourites” despite record LMP2 pace
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Prime

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

As the GT class faces a time of transition, it’s a good time to recall the greatest hits of the GTE Pro years that pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels.

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Prime

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Prime

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic.

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022