Young Driver AMR: Le Mans 2010 Driver interviews

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Tomas Enge
Tomas, what are your expectations before your ninth start at the 24h of Le Mans?“ It will be a difficult race this year, but we have a great chance. The Aston Martin DBR9 won the GT1 class at Le Mans in 2007 und 2008 and is really a good car for Le Mans. It will be a very interesting field in GT1.

We have the very strong Ford, we have Corvette and also the Saleen. This year will be the fifth time I will share a car with Peter Kox at Le Mans. We were a good duo in the past and this year Christoffer Nygaard will join us. I’m quite optimistic, as we have a proven car, and the team showed this year that they perform excellent pit work. So we will fight one more time for success at Le Mans with the Aston Martin DBR9.”

You claimed the GT1-Pole at Le Mans five times in a row. What’s the secret behind your qualifying speed?“
I would say: Don’t brake too much! (laughs). To be serious, I guess it’s the track itself. I really love this track and it suits me very well. The nature of the track is great, it’s fast with flowing corners. We drive 300km/h on the long straights and I really like that. And of course the fact that I drove Prodrive built cars every time gives me a good feeling. They have always been very strong at Le Mans and I would really like to continue my series of GT1-poles this year.”

What your most memorable moment at Le Mans?
I would say it’s all the success I had in the past. The class victory in GT1 back in 2003 and of course my series of poles. But it’s also not always good memories that you have. Le Mans can also be a very cruel place. In 2005, the first year with the Aston Martin, we were leading for 15 hours. Then 1,5 hours before the finish we had an issue with the fuel pump and retired. Every year I raced in the GT1 class at Le Mans, I was in one the quickest cars. Each year we were in the class lead, but at the end we were not always lucky.”

What is the key to be successful at Le Mans?
"It’s all about running, fast and onsistent. The most important thing to keep the car on the track. You have to save the car as much as possible throughout the race and always stay on the road. From the driver perspective it means you have to go like clockwork, then everything is possible.”

Christoffer Nygaard

Christoffer, how do you feel one week before your first start at Le Mans?
“ When we raced the GT1-World Championship round at Brno some two weeks ago, it felt like Le Mans was years away. But now everything is going so quickly. With every day the race comes closer, and there is a lot of tension building up. I attended a presentation of all Danish drivers taking part in this year’s 24h of
Le Mans in Copenhagen this Thursday and it is a great feeling to be in a group with Le Mans legends Tom Kristensen and Jan Magnussen. It’s such a legendary race and I’m so proud that I will take part in that race with the Young Driver AMR team this year.”

The 13.629kmlong race track at Le Mans is completely new to you. How do you prepare yourself for this track?“
I prepared with a lot of inboard videos to learn the track. This is very helpful. Some driver’s prepare with video games, but all games I tried are a little too much entertainment and less racing. But it helped to learn how the track goes. We have a little bit of extra time at Le Mans on Tuesday, and I will use this time to walk and drive along the track with Tomas Enge. He is very experienced at Le Mans and I already talked a lot with him about the race. He will show me all the secrets of the track, that you can’t see in an inboard video.”

How do you physically prepare for that race?“
The 24h hours are quite different to the one hour races of the GT1-World Championship and or FIA GT3-European Championship which I usually race. So I changed my training more to the endurance objective. In Le Mans we will have a air condition in our car which we don’t need in the World Championship, this will make it a little bit more comfortable.”

What are your expectations for your first start at Le Mans?
“I hope for the class victory, but it will not be very easy. Our competitors are very strong, we saw that in the World championship and at the 1000km of Spa. But our Aston Martin DBR9 is reliable and very well
prepared. Many people say we are favourites for the class victory. I see it a bit different, as we expect the Fords and Corvette to be very strong at Le Mans. I hope we will be able to run a fast and consistent pace during in the race and manage to see the chequered flag – then everything is possible.”

Peter Kox
Peter, what are your expectations for this years 24h of Le Mans?“We have a well sorted car with the Aston Martin DBR9, it’s a solid base. It’s the same car that I previously raced twice at Le Mans with the Aston Martin Racing factory team. The Young Driver-team is very professional team and furthermore a really nice group of people. I race against them in the GT1-World Championship and could get a first impression. They really know what they are doing. And I will team up with Tomas Enge for the fifth time at Le Mans, highlighted by our pairing In 2003, where we won the GT1-class together, so everything is pretty solid.”

How would you judge the chance for a class win this year?
“Our aim is to win the class and our chances are quite good. But I expect the three Ford GT to be very strong. I’m not quite sure yet about the Corvette, they are a little bit difficult to judge. In every way it will be a very interesting race.”

Is it a disadvantage that you race the Aston Martin DBR9 at Le Mans for the first time this year?
“No, not really, as I know the car and the track very well. I compete in the GT1-World Championship in a
Lamborghini. That car has a different concept, but at the end it’s still a GT1 car and behaves similar, so I’m used to these types of car. The last time I drove an Aston Martin DBR9 at Le Mans was in 2007, but my last race in the DBR9 was last year and I’m quite experienced with that car.”

You have good memories in that particular Aston Martin DBR9 that you will race at Le Mans.
"Yes, at Le Mans we use chassis number DBR9/106. I know this car quite well. Last year I won the GT1-class of the 1000km of Silverstone in this car. I hope I can add another class win to the history of this car.”
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