The 24 hours of Le Mans has been run and won, and we’ve come away with a straight car after running faultlessly throughout the whole race. We struggled quite a bit with BoP here – we just did not have the pace to match the guys we should have been fighting with. We did all that we could though and came home 10th in the LM GTE Am class.
This event is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. It is not just the race that is a test of endurance – the whole event requires endurance!
Race week kicks off with first practice on Wednesday, followed by first qualifying later that evening. Our focus on Wednesday was primarily to check our set up and ensure all drivers completed their required night time laps. Everything went to plan and we went into Thursday fairly positive.
Unfortunately Thursday was not a great day for the Gulf Racing team with a problem causing our Porsche to stop on track in Q2 and further problems limited our track running. So much so that I was not able to get out on track at all.
Friday was a day off from track action and it was all about the driver’s parade through the city centre. This is one of the craziest things I’ve been involved with as a driver! There are tens of thousands of people lining the road the whole way along – it’s a real carnival atmosphere!
It was nice to see a few friendly faces including my parents and girlfriend in the crowd cheering me on!
Having missed out on track time on Thursday I was given the keys to the Gulf Racing Porsche for warm up on Saturday morning – and much to everyone’s relief the session ran faultlessly!
The build-up the race start is also something else – we go to the grid well before race start for the huge grid walk. The track is packed with people wanting to get a close up look at the cars before the race.
And then it was finally time for the race to start!
Ben was in first and everything ran smoothly. This is pretty much the story of our race. All of us drove cleanly; no off track moments, no walls clipped and no spins. The car ran faultlessly as well. We just did not have the speed to match our main competitors. But our clean race meant that we were able to pick up 10th in class.
For me one of the highlights of the race was doing a triple stint in the dark – it is hard to explain just how awesome this is. Racing around that epic track, in the dark, with the high speed LMP1s and LMP2s constantly catching and passing me... I certainly will not forget that experience anytime soon!
Overall it was great experience – but it has left me wanting much more! Bring on 2018!!
I haven’t had much time to think about the experience as a last minute call up by Craft Bamboo has meant I was on a plane on Wednesday heading to Japan. I am racing with the team in the Blancpain GT Series Asia round at Suzuka this weekend. Suzuka and Le Mans in one week - this year is turning out to be pretty full of epic firsts!