Former Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Guy Smith returns to Le Mans to contest this year's legendary 24 Hour race next weekend (14-15 June). Driffield-based Smith aged 33 last contested the world's "blue ribband" endurance sportscar race in 2004...
Former Le Mans 24 Hour race winner Guy Smith returns to Le Mans to contest this year's legendary 24 Hour race next weekend (14-15 June).
Driffield-based Smith aged 33 last contested the world's "blue ribband" endurance sportscar race in 2004 when the Yorkshireman finished second -- one year after winning the French "classic" in a Bentley.
"It's great to be racing at Le Mans again," confirmed Guy. "The last time I was there was when I finished second in 2004. There have been some minor changes to the circuit since then so the recent test [1 June] gave me a good opportunity to familiarise myself.
"Driving at Le Mans is always a great joy -- it's a very magical place. No matter how many times you have been here and what you've achieved, it's still a very humbling experience."
Smith drives a British-built Lola, powered by a British-made AER engine, for the Portuguese Quifel ASM Team in the LM P2 category along with Olivier Pla (F) and Miguel Paes do Amaral (Por) next weekend which marks Guy's fifth career Le Mans race.
Guy continued: "I'm contesting the LM P2 category for the first time at Le Mans so not fighting for an overall victory but a class win. Our aim is to make it to the finish and hopefully get on the podium.
"I drove this actual car in Istanbul in a Le Mans Series race two years ago and have a good history with this car. Allan Mugglestone, a well respected engineer from Doncaster, is at the helm -- I've known him since I began racing."
Smith's Lola B05/40 LMP2 Sportscar chassis is manufactured in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, with the 2-litre turbo AER (Advanced Engine Research) engine built in Basildon, Essex. The ASM Team is based in Lisbon.
He continued: "Without stating the obvious it's a long race which always throws up many surprises. I think particularly in this class it's all about keeping going and keeping out of trouble. Hopefully that is what we will be able to do.
"The Porsche RS Spyder, a car I drive for Dyson in the American Le Mans Series, has definitely been the class of LMP2 both sides of the Atlantic. It's typical brilliant German engineering. The car runs fast and reliably -- I know how good it is from racing it in America.
"It's always going to be difficult for us to beat it in outright pace. Our strategy has to be to keep going and spend the least amount of time in the pits. The Porsche has never contested a 24 hour previously so it'll be interesting to monitor.
"I drove at Sebring for seven hours in total. What is interesting about Le Mans is it's not actually that physical because you have got the long straights so you get time to rest. I think it's more mentally tiring. Being awake for 24 hours and the concentration and the closing speeds it's very tiring emotionally."
Official qualifying for positions on the 55-car grid is staged on Wednesday and Thursday evenings with the twice around the clock race getting underway on Saturday at 2pm BST.
-credit: guy smith