Aston Martin Racing : Q&A with the drivers at Sebring

Friday, March 19, 2010

As Aston Martin Racing prepares for qualifying in the opening round of the American Le Mans Series, works drivers, Adrian Fernández , Stefan Mücke and Harold Primat talk about their what it means to drive the Aston Martin LMP1 car in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Adrian Fernández (MX)

Q: You’ve had a fantastically successful career in single-seaters, including finishing second in the Champ Car series. What’s it like driving the Aston Martin now?
AF: “I consider myself very lucky as I’ve experienced everything in my career and not stopped racing for 27 years, from Formula Ford to NASCAR to running my own team. So to end up here is a perfect fit, but also another exciting new thing for me at the same time.”

Q: You’ve already got an LMP2 title under your belt, but what does the step up to LMP1 feel like?
AF: “It’s a whole different ball game. The LMP1 cars are much more aggressive. In an LMP2 car you can come out of a corner and just nail the throttle, but with these LMP1 cars you have to really feed in the power or you spin. And in a closed-cockpit car your visibility is also much more limited.”

Q: What’s the most difficult thing about Sebring?
AF: “The bumps, the surface changes, and the constant traffic. You need to be quick, but you can’t rush it either. In many ways, Sebring makes Le Mans look quite easy...”

Q: What does Aston Martin mean to you?
AF: “The noise of that V12! It’s a dream. I’m 46, still fit, still quick and driving for Aston Martin. You can’t ask for more than that. As a Mexican, it’s also very special for me to be driving in Gulf colours, as those were the colours that were on the 1970s sportscars driven by Pedro Rodriguez – who was a real hero in my country.”

Stefan Mücke (DE)

Q: What are the biggest challenges going into your first 12 Hours of Sebring?
SM: “I think the biggest challenges are definitely the bumps and the holes. It’s the sort of place that you probably wouldn’t even use for testing. There are some tricky corners as well, particularly the first and the last corners that are totally blind and have no run-off. Sebring is just a unique place, like nowhere else”

Q: What’s your objective for the race?
SM: “First and foremost, to get to the end of the race without making any mistakes. It’s so easy to lose it at Sebring and it’s also very tough on the car. If the car can get to the end of 12 hours at Sebring, then it can certainly get to the end of 24 hours at Le Mans. From a results point of view, it would be nice to be on the podium.”

Q: You’ve had a lot of experience of Aston Martin’s LMP1 car. Is that going to help you to adapt to this new challenge?
SM: “Definitely. As a driver, it’s easier to focus on learning a circuit if you already know the car. I’ve done some testing at Sebring so I know the circuit reasonably well, although there are definitely some areas where I can still improve.”

Q: What does Aston Martin mean to you?
SM: “Aston Martin is a fantastic brand, and every time I drive the car it is a pure pleasure. To be driving for this great name, with the noise of the V12 in your ears, is the most amazing feeling.”

Harold Primat (CH)

Q. What’s it like to be racing in America?
HP: “It’s very exciting and something that we have all wanted to do. The people here are very enthusiastic and welcoming, and actually we see a bigger fan base than we have in Europe. Sebring is a legendary event in motorsport history and I think everyone is looking forward to hearing our V12 out on the track!”

Q. How difficult is the track to drive?
HP: “I like Sebring a lot, except for the first and last corners that are very tricky – and there is not much run-off space either. What makes it difficult are the bumps and the holes on the track, which can easily throw the car off balance. It’s a very big challenge, which is part of the appeal of the place.”

Q. How do you set up the car in order to cope with the characteristics of Sebring?
HP: “That’s mostly down to the team, but the main work is obviously on the springs and dampers. We have a few more development parts for the race, so hopefully all these little things put together will add up to a general improvement.”

Q. What does Aston Martin mean to you?
HP: “It’s a name that is recognised all over the world. When we went to Japan last year, we had a huge welcome and it’s the same in America. Of course we will struggle to beat the diesels, but we definitely have the most exciting car to drive and watch.”
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes