Ask the Drivers: Toughest Moment

Le Mans 24 Hours RaceNext up for the TOYOTA Racing drivers as they give you an insight into their Le Mans 24 Hours experience, what is the toughest moment of the race?

Alex: It depends on the race. I would say from hour one to hour 24 is hard enough!

Stéphane: It is tough around midday on Sunday when you still have three hours to go and you feel the car and team is tired. Even on the radio you can hear the engineers are tired. It is quite tough for all of us. If it is hot and you are tired it is a very particular feeling and I don’t like this moment, but it is part of the race. I like night time a lot and I like very early morning, 6am, but the last three hours, especially if it is hot, you just want to get through as quickly as possible. The race is basically done most of the time so you hope the car doesn’t have any problem and you can just get to the end. They are long hours.

Kazuki: The thing which was really hard last year was the changing weather because the track is really big and sometimes you see rain spots then it gets dry, then wet again; the weather was changing all the time. You can be unlucky to arrive at the wet part at the wrong moment. As soon as we see rain spots on the windscreen we try to see the track and figure out how much rain is coming. We try to be conservative because if you make one big mistake that’s it for the race. Where it was really difficult last year was in the night. Basically you cannot see how much water is around. It was really tough but it was the same for everyone. In a way I am happy to have gone through this in my second year at Le Mans to get the experience of such conditions.

Anthony: Getting into the car when it is dark. The first time you drive at night time is tough. You wake up in the night and you have to jump into the car; there is no harder experience in driving. It is such a tough challenge to wake up, get into the car, driving at night where visibility is incredibly low and you feel your lap time should be completely perfect, but in fact you are two seconds slower than you should be, that’s the big shock! To try to wake yourself up and drive faster you can start to miss your braking points and then mistakes can happen very easily.

Nicolas: I would say when you exit the night, from the early morning until the end of the race. When you exit the night, at around 6.00am, you think the race is finished but there is still seven hours to go. Those seven or eight hours are very long and really tough!

Sébastien: Driving at night with the rain! You cannot see anything and it is very difficult. Another tough situation is getting tired in the morning with bad visibility in the sun, a lot of insects and dirt on the windscreen, you don’t see much but you need to remain highly concentrated. Such a situation requires a lot of concentration.