Nico Hulkenberg says he has no real expectations of a big result ahead of his Le Mans 24 Hours debut next weekend with Porsche.
The Force India Formula 1 driver, who raced the 919 Hybrid alongside teammates Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy for the first time last month in the second round of the WEC at Spa, had his first taste of the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday’s test day.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Hulkenberg said that while an outright win on his Le Mans debut would be an “absolute dream,” he was refusing to get carried away, and that his primary focus will be on simply enjoying himself.
Le Mans is definitely something I have wanted to do for a long time, and it’s a big wish that comes true.
“It would be an absolute dream to win here,” said the German, “but I’m a rookie here and Le Mans is such a long race.
“It’s a new track for me – I need to learn it and get comfortable, and so many things can happen; you need a lot of luck, the right timing and so on.
“I come here open-minded. I want to have fun and I want do a good job for Porsche and myself, then we’ll see where we end up [at the finish].
“It’s definitely something I have wanted to do for a long time, and it’s a big wish that comes true.”
Traffic an enjoyable challenge
Hulkenberg also cited the challenge of having to negotiate slower traffic throughout the race as an aspect of endurance racing that he particularly enjoyed on his WEC debut at Spa.
“Where I come from, single-seaters, we don’t have this traffic – all the cars are more or less similar speed and it’s a different type of traffic.
“Here it’s an extra challenge, an extra thing to manage. Anticipating and having a good nose for where to position yourself, I just like that challenge.”
The 27-year-old was coy when asked whether he saw his future in sportscars rather than F1, saying: “My future, how it will go and where it will go, we will see in the next couple of months.”
Interview by Basile Davoine