13 June 2011

Le Mans… an amazing race

Had an action packed weekend watching live coverage of the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi winning the race. They completed 355 laps with drivers Andre Lotterer, Marcel…

Had an action packed weekend watching live coverage of the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi winning the race.

They completed 355 laps with drivers Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer winning by just 13.854 seconds to beat the Peugeot of Simon Pagenaud, Pedro Lamy and Sebastien Bourdais.

I also watched the crash of both the Audi’s of Le Mans legend Alan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller.  I was watching with my good friend and fellow British F3 driver Fahmi Ilyas, we were amazed at how big the impact was but  both drivers managed to walk away unharmed after crashing into the barriers in a spectacular fashion. A lot of people tend to say that motor racing is a very dangerous sport. But personally I think modern racing
cars are built with a lot of safety. They are also built with very strong bodywork and tub, similar to my Dallara Formula 3 car.

As you can see from this picture, the cockpit is very safe.


Plenty of ex-Formula 1 drivers have taken on the challenge of this spectacular race and it’s definitely something that excites me to do one day. I have always dreamt of racing in Le Mans ever since I raced in Formula BMW in 2007. I hope an opportunity will arise for me soon.

My only experience of endurance racing was in 2007 in a Lotus Exige 300RR and in 2009 in a Mosler MT900R. I raced these cars in a very well known race in Malaysia called the Merdeka Millenium Endurance Race; a 12 hours endurance race around our Grand Prix track, Sepang International Circuit. Unfortunately in 2007, the team and I didn’t manage to finish the race as we had electrical problems with the car in the sixth hour. But we had strong pace during qualifying and I managed to qualify the car in fourth place, just behind the quick Porsches. Meanwhile in the Mosler, I qualified the
car in second place. I had a really good start and led the race. But we had an overheating problem on the sixth hour as well. But in the end we finished sixth in class. I also enjoyed working and learning with experienced GT drivers such as Tim Sugden and Melvin Choo. They taught me a lot of the principals of endurance racing.


Last but not least, I would like to congratulate my friend Olivier Lombard who raced with me in Formula BMW Europe  in 2009. Now he has won Le Mans on his first attempt in the LMP2 class with Greaves Motorsport. Well done mate!

 

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