Aston Martin Racing : Lap of Sebring with Adrian Fernández

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“From the start-finish straight you head towards the first left-hand corner, which is extremely tricky as it is so bumpy. You gradually slide the car to the right on the way out but the exit is blind, so you don’t see it until the last minute. The best thing is to take as tight a line as possible, as then you avoid the worst of the bumps.

From fifth gear we change down to second for turn two, keeping clear of the kerbs, and then we take as straight a line as possible, going up through the gears, into Hairpin.

This corner is very bumpy too and you need to take care under braking as the rear moves around a lot. Hairpin is taken in first gear, then you straighten the car up as best you can – it will want to push out – and it’s up to Fangio.

This corner is taken flat, again using a very tight line to avoid the worst of the bumps. We’re in fifth gear just before Tower, then you knock it down quickly to third, braking late but not too late as it’s so easy to overdrive this corner in an LMP1 car. Again it’s very bumpy.

You need to be quite patient and wait to put the power on; then it’s off down to Bishop. When I’ve raced at night here in the past it’s always difficult to see the apex and then, very quickly, you’re into a fast left-right-left, which is taken in fourth gear. Here, you can use the kerbs to straight-line it.

Le Mans corner is one of the most important corners of the lap as you need to get it exactly right to get the best possible drive onto the Ullman straight. Luckily there’s good grip here and it’s on one of the smoothest parts of the circuit, but you need to be cautious with the kerb. You can get away with taking a bit of it provided you accelerate smoothly. On the straight you accelerate all the way up to the shift lights, using every bit of the power, but it’s also an opportunity to have a quick rest, check for warning lights and so on.

At the end of the straight you come to Sunset, which is probably the most difficult corner of the lap. You approach it very quickly but you’ve got to be progressive with the braking or the bumps will spit you off. In the middle of the corner it’s still extremely bumpy and the car just wants to jump out all the time. Along with the first corner, it’s probably the most physically demanding turn as you’re pulling a lot of g-force.

At the end of Sunset, I let the car drift as wide as possible to line up for the start-finish straight. Keep doing that for 12 hours, and you’ll get to the end of an extremely tough race!”

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