"Everyone is feeling up for Le Mans and we're confident..."
It’s Le Mans 24 Hours week already, and for me that means my first attack on the legendary race as a works driver with Aston Martin Racing. I’ll be going for honours in the GTE Pro class along with my co-drivers Maxime Martin and Jonny Adam in the all-new Vantage GTE, and I can’t wait.
My first Le Mans was last year, and I was proud to take pole position in the LMP2 class on my debut, but unfortunately the car retired before my first stint in the race. I was back on the Circuit de la Sarthe just over a week ago for the Le Mans Test Day with the Aston Martin, and it was really, really cool. I think it was even more fun in a GTE car than it was in a prototype, which I was surprised about. That’s because some of the high-speed corners a lot more challenging, whereas they’re flat in a prototype. You can attack the kerbs, and the car had a really nice balance and performed well. Certainly, right from the word go it felt like the car was at home on the track, which is great because Le Mans is what the car was designed for.
Since the Le Mans Test Day, I took part in the latest round of the FIA Formula E Championship in Zurich with DS Virgin Racing. It was going quite well in the race, and I was knocking on the door of a good points haul, but because of a battery sensor failure on my first car I had to pit early to get into my second car. That really killed my race, because I really had to conserve the energy in the second car to get to the finish.
Hopefully Le Mans will bring better fortune. I had a good first outing in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin Racing last month at Spa, and then at the Le Mans Test Day I was the fastest of the AMR drivers. I really felt at one with the car. We do need to get a more favourable Balance of Performance against our opposition and there are some things to shake out there, but as a team we feel ready to get it done – all the drivers, the engineers and the mechanics. Also, we’ve put a lot of effort into our endurance tests, and there’s been a lot of mileage clocked up. But none of that means anything until we do it when it counts!
Le Mans has always been a special place for me; ever since the first time I was there aged just nine years old in 2003, and the Bentley won! Hopefully I can help bring another famous British marque onto the podium…
Even with the question marks over the Balance of Performance, I think we do have a good chance of success. Everyone is feeling up for it and we’re confident. I think we’ll be in for a good run.