Fan interview with Vanina Ickx

Vanina on the road to Le Mans: the fans ask the questions! The Belgian driver answers questions from her fans, a few days before contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin. As the highly anticipated event...

Vanina on the road to Le Mans: the fans ask the questions!

The Belgian driver answers questions from her fans, a few days before contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Team Signature-Plus Lola-Aston Martin.

As the highly anticipated event approaches, Vanina Ickx will head to the Sarthe on Monday as she joins the Signature-Plus team and her two teammates, Franck Mailleux and Pierre Ragues, for the traditional "pesage" or scrutineering at the Jacobins. After preparing with the 8 Hours of the Castellet and the 1000km of Spa, and a visit to the 24 Hours of the Nurburgring with Volkswagen, Vanina gets ready for her sixth participation at the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. But first, she answered a few questions from her supporters....

What is the magic of Le Mans? (Jacques Musch)

"Historically, it's the most famous endurance race and it's also one of the oldest. It's difficult for a team to be granted an entry. It attacts the most beautiful cars and the race has to be prepared for months in advance. It's an event that lasts an entire week. The pesage is where you catch up with friends: other teams, drivers, fans... And there's the briefing, which reminds me of school. After the practice and qualifying sessions, is the drivers' parade, which is so unique to Le Mans with an incredible crowd. In short, you live an eventful and tiring week, with the pressure rising and rising. Then the stands fill up with fans, and it's time for the start. You feel ultra privileged to be there!"

What makes this track so different? (asked by several fans)

It's very fast and road-like. As a result, the track is very irregular. There are ruts, white lines and changes in the pavement. It's full of traps, most notably in the rain. On the Mulsanne straight, we run on four lanes, but after the Mulsanne corner, there are only two lanes! The Porsche Curves have no sand traps or escape routes. It's a difficult track, but I like it for its rhythm."

What is the added value of Team Signature-Plus? (Jean-Luc Renou)

"It's in the professionalism and qualities of each individual who makes up this team. They've made their mark in open- wheeled series and now they are doing the same in sportscars. It's a team that does everything it can to meet its ambitions, and they do things methodically. The team is made up of very passionate and competent people and they know their priorities."

What is the most exhilarating moment? And the most difficult?? (asked by several fans)

"There are two best moments. The start, whether in the car or not. The moment you've waited for has arrive, and we're off. It's the hour of truth. And also the finish, if you have the chance to finish, of course.

"The most difficult moment is when it's 3 a.m. and it's raining. You have to get out of your sleeping bag and slip on driving overalls that are sometimes still damp from your previous stint. It's cold, and you have to cross the deserted paddock in the rain. In a few minutes you'll have to go from "zombie" to extreme concentration, just like that."

Ski jumping, ultra light planes, auto racing... What is your drive, what is it in you that makes you overcome fear, that inner-fight? (Philippe Vanhussel)

"Nelson Mandela said: `courage is not the absence of fear.' You have to know how to manage it, how to face it. My drive is to overcome my fears. Truthfully, I challenge myself through all of this."

What is Vanina's secret for always staying `zen' and smiling? (Stephane Gallot)

"It's just a lure! (laughs) But seriously, I don't have any use for passing my bad moods onto people who have nothing to do with it and who are happy to be there. I consider myself as a privileged person, but not only in terms of auto racing. Every morning I tell myself that I am lucky to have the life that I have, and to be health at that. It's normal to pass this happiness on to other people when they meet me."

Vanina, what is your type of man? (Ludo Moury)

"I'm still asking myself that question. (laughs) The perfect man would be charming, funny, sporty, attentive, generous and not too tall. He'd also be very patient, spiritual and cultured. And he would be macho when needed. Does he exist?" ;-)

Questions from Bastien, 12 years old...

Vanina, who would you prefer to be: Neil Armstrong, landing on the moon and uttering the famous words, "That's one small step for man...", or Steve McQueen, becoming a legend of Le Mans? "I'd like to be Neil Armstrong. As a little girl, I dreamed of being an astronaut. I would have loved to go into space."

You're on the Mulsanne Straight going 300km/h. It's 3 a.m.: what music do you listen to on the radio, recently allowed by the sporting regulations??

"A good techno song! Insomnia by Faithless... or I gotta feeling by the Black Eyed Peas."

Imagine you can choose the race and year you could run. What would it be?

"1969, the year of the famous duel between my dad's Ford GT and the Porsche 908. Just to live this moment from behind the scenes and to race on the Mulsanne Straight with no chicanes and the bump before the Mulsanne Corner."

"Thank you to all my fans for their messages. Catch me on my Facebook group where I'll take the time to answer more questions after the 24 Hours of Le Mans."

-source: vanina ickx

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Vanina Ickx , Pierre Ragues , Franck Mailleux