Ask the Drivers: During the Race

tjm1322ju226This time, as our TOYOTA Racing drivers give a unique insight into their Le Mans 24 Hours experience, we ask them ‘what do you do during the race when you’re not driving?’…

Alex: I have no fixed routine in Le Mans. I like to relax as much as I can. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I don’t. It depends a bit how the race unfolds. In any case you just let it happen. The most important thing is that you come prepared. Your food and drink levels should be more than perfect because if you start already in a bad way you have trouble later in the race.

Stéphane: I am not a sleeping guy like Nico or Kazuki. I like to sleep only one or two hours during the race. I talk to the engineers, have a massage, following the race on TV. I am around and can jump into the car any second if needed; I am ready.

Kazuki: Last year we nearly had eight hours time between driving stints. So normally we need to do debrief with the engineers about the previous stint, then I get changed, have a massage and depending on the time of day I will get some sleep. Actually, probably I slept anyway no matter what the time was! I am still learning what is the best way to sleep and keep myself fresh – sleep for as long as possible or just a short nap. I wake up latest 90 minutes before my scheduled time to get into the car. I do some warm ups and I wear contact lenses so I wash my face and put new contact lenses in. I try to understand what is going on in the race, then I am ready to go.

Anthony: It is quite good now. We had a good formula last year where the drivers stayed in the car for four stints. I guess we will try to stick to that this year and give the drivers on driving a lot of time out of the car. I felt it was easier physically and mentally last year. A very long break when you are not driving is really nice; you are able to recover much better. You can eat properly and sleep. It is important to try to sleep. It is definitely not easy but I found it easier last year and at the end of the race I felt I could drive again. The period to recover between each driving is quite long, so it is very good.

Nicolas: When I am not driving I usually eat something, go for a massage and then go to sleep. Depending on the time I have, I can sleep nearly two hours but it is difficult to know exactly how long I sleep. Most of the time you do not sleep properly. I mean you listen to the race commentary or you have a look on the lap time. I am not sure you fall in a deep sleep but at least you rest. It is important to stay quiet in your room.

Sébastien: After you jump out of the car, you have to talk to the engineers to debrief. Then, you have to prepare your stuff for the moment you will have to jump in the car again. After that, you head to the hospitality to eat then go for a massage and at last, relax or sleep. I try to sleep as often as possible but I try also to relax. As we can go up to five stints, we stay quite a long time in the car and after, sleeping is easier.