Former Le Mans Winner Smith Focuses On "Petrol Division" Success Guy Smith starts the 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance sportscar race on Saturday afternoon (12 June) aiming to become a "petrol head" one day later. Since 2006,...
Former Le Mans Winner Smith Focuses On "Petrol Division" Success
Guy Smith starts the 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour endurance sportscar race on Saturday afternoon (12 June) aiming to become a "petrol head" one day later.
Since 2006, diesel-engined sportscars have dominated the annual twice-around-the-clock race Smith won with Bentley in 2003 and this year is likely to be no different.
The "factory" Audi and Peugeot diesel-powered cars are expected to fight amongst themselves for outright race honours again leaving Yorkshireman Smith determined to be the best-placed petrol-powered car.
"I don't expect to finish on the [top-three] podium as I believe it'll be another diesel whitewash but I think we can be the 'best of the rest' and highest-placed petrol engined car," confirmed Smith. "That's my aim and if by good fortune we can creep into the top-five, that would be great."
Thirty-five year-old Smith, from Beverley, returns to the "top" LM P1 category driving a British-built Lola Coupe for Rebellion Racing team -- buoyed after finishing third -- on his race debut for the Anglo-Swiss team at Paul Ricard in April.
Guy continued: "I am really looking forward to being back at Le Mans and particularly at the wheel of an LM P1 class sports car. It's always great fun to race at Le Mans but driving a P1 machine makes it even more special. The last time I drove one at Le Mans was in 2004 for Audi UK when I finished second -- a year after my win with Bentley."
Smith's seventh career Le Mans race appearance will see the Yorkshireman share the driving duties with Andrea Belicchi (Italy) and Jean-Christophe Boullion (France).
"It doesn't matter if it's your first race there, seventh or 20th -- the buzz and atmosphere is unique to Le Mans and that's what makes it so special. It's the ultimate challenge for a driver, commanding huge respect. It took me at least two Le Mans races until I felt totally comfortable there as there is just so much to take in and learn," added Guy.
The 8.47-mile circuit offers a tremendous challenge to man and machine over one lap, let alone over 24 hours and throughout the darkness of night.
Guy remarked: "Driving the ultimate lap at Le Mans is very hard but doing that stint after stint with the possibility of being in the car for almost four hours is very challenging, but that's what makes it the greatest race in the world.
"The circuit is constantly changing in terms of the amount of rubber being laid, the weather conditions during day and night. It can throw anything at you and when you finish there it is a huge sense of achievement and above all a real team effort."
-source: guy smith