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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Lynn: Le Mans podium "really special" after COVID-era 2020 win

Cadillac’s Alex Lynn said it felt “really special” to celebrate his Le Mans 24 Hours podium in front of a packed crowd after his 2020 GTE Pro win during a closed-door event.

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

Lynn finished third overall in the centenary edition of the French endurance classic in the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R he shared with Earl Bamber and Richard Westbrook, a lap down on the winning #51 Ferrari and the second-placed #8 Toyota. 

It marked the British driver's first visit to the podium at Circuit de la Sarthe since he, Harry Tincknell and Maxime Martin won the GTE Pro category for Aston Martin in 2020.

But while the 2020 race took place in the absence of spectators due to COVID-19 lockdown measures, a record 325,000 fans turned up for this year's event, boosted by the arrival of Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot and Cadillac itself in the top Hypercar category.

Asked how it felt to stand on the overall podium, Lynn said it was the presence of fans that set apart his 2023 result from his previous GTE Pro triumph.

"Really special, the 100th one, just really cool," he told Motorsport.com. "[There are] so many fans. The last time I was on the podium here in the Aston there were no fans. So that's really cool now to feel that. 

"It's been buzzing all week with the atmosphere and it's really cool to be standing on the podium and picking up the trophy."

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Except for a late-night spin for Westbrook, the #2 Cadillac enjoyed a largely trouble-free race en route to third, especially as in comparison to the other two V.Series R cars in the Hypercar entry.

The #2 Chip Ganassi-entered Cadillac was involved in two separate incidents with Sebastien Bourdais at the wheel, while Action Express Racing's third-string Caddy dropped out of contention on the opening lap itself when Jack Aitken damaged the car at the first chicane in the damp.

But Lynn said that it wasn't all plain sailing for the #2 crew, revealing an oil problem that cost them time in the pits.

"We lost a lot of time in most pitstops refilling the oil," he said. "I think that took us away from 'the fight to win' to 'just fighting for the podium'.

"I'm sure everyone was dealing with a niggle. Like Ferrari [the winning #51] said they had to reset the car twice. So nobody has a clean run, but that was our biggest issue.

"To be fair from our side once we knew the things we were dealing with the car, then it became about just banking third."

Asked when the Cadillac turned its attention to preserving third, Lynn said: "It's hard to say because it all became a bit of a blur. Probably in the morning, seeing that third was going to be the best that we can do."

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The podium result was significant for Cadillac on its return to Le Mans, with its previous ill-fated programme with the Northstar LMP coming to an end in 2002 with a best result of ninth.

On Cadillac's chances of winning a race in the World Endurance Championship at some stage this season, Lynn said: "I hope so. I think we've got a good chance of doing something.

"The car is just getting so much better so quickly. We are excited to see what we can do."

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