Preview 24 Heures du Mans
INTERVIEW WITH LOIC DUVAL
With just a few days to go to the start of the Le Mans 24-Hours week Loïc Duval, who set the fourth-quickest time at the test day last Sunday, has finished his training programme and is ready to cope with the days to come!
Loïc, what information can we glean from the test day last Sunday?
LD: “In terms of sheer performance we weren’t too surprised by the final standings. It’s more or less what we were expecting. The only surprise was Porsche’s position as we thought they’d be quicker. Our car’s lovely to drive, in particular in the series of fast corners where it feels like it’s glued to the track!”
How have you trained for this race?
LD: “From a physical point of view I haven’t changed my programme. A few years back I used to eat a lot of blueberries before Le Mans as they were supposed to improve night vision. I didn’t notice any difference so I stopped. From a technical point of view I speak to Tom Kristensen and Lucas di Grassi a lot on my Smartphone: we exchange ideas. We’ve also set up a little group with some of the engineers and we organise meetings through Skype.”
Do you think you can win Le Mans again this year?
LD: “Of course! Given the results of the test day clinching pole will be difficult even though we’ll give it a go. Taking this situation into account we’ve really concentrated on our race, our fuel consumption and how we can reduce tyre wear. We’ve also done a lot of work on our possible reactions in case of a brutal change in the weather conditions or if the race is interrupted by the safety car. That’s where you can really win Le Mans.”
The speed difference between a GT and LM P1 looks enormous. Is it something to worry about?
LD: “Not necessarily. First of all it seems to me that this year the GT drivers are far more aware of the speed difference; they’re more careful. Then our car has a rear-view camera, which enables us to see when we can pull in after passing. It’s pretty useful. And for the first time this year we’re using laser headlights so it’ll be impossible not to see us! But that doesn’t mean we can relax our vigilance.”
Should your car win France will be on level pegging with Great Britain in terms of victories for drivers per nationality at Le Mans. Is that an extra motivation?
LD: “Ha, ha! Not at all. But it’d be a nice little bonus to clinch this statistic!”