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This is a blog entry from Team Lowe's Racing driver Adrian Fernandez, as he prepares for the historic 24 Hours of Le mans race in France on June 16th. Enjoy this insider's perspective on preparing for this great event!
I have just returned from Le Mans, France, and an official test day this past Sunday in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race on June 16. The test is part of the tradition of Le Mans. The eight hours of track time was well worth the many hours of travel as we prepare for the biggest race on our schedule and the most celebrated sports car endurance race in the world.
The weekend was off to a good start and I am pleased to report that we already have a podium at Le Mans this year… well, at least on the karting track. My teammate Stefan Mücke and I participated in a charity karting event on Saturday. I finished second and, hopefully, this is a good omen for our #97 Lowe’s Aston Martin Vantage GTE in the race!
As I mentioned before, Le Mans is one of my favorite circuits and, at 8.47 miles in length, we will do well over 2,500 miles in the race. With a track this long, it is easy to forget some of the nuances, so one of the first things on the “to do” list was a track walk and I had some fun entertainment along the way with my good friends Luis “Chapulin” Diaz, Ricardo Gonzalez and Toni Calderon.
Of the three of us sharing driving duties in the #97 Lowe’s car, only Darren Turner has previous GT experience at Le Mans so the test was really important to give both myself and Stefan some seat time. For a 24-hour race, you have a list of priorities including making the car comfortable to drive, finding a good balance for varying track conditions and also having a good pace and reliability.
Overall, I was very pleased with how the test went. We didn’t have any reliability issues and were quickest in the first four-hour session and fifth in the second. Mother Nature cooperated and gave us some wet weather driving conditions to sort out and, while we all agree we can still fine-tune the balance a bit more for the race, we definitely had the pace.
There was definitely a big difference for me initially in driving a GT car versus a prototype at Le Mans but I was quite comfortable after a few laps. Unfortunately, I could never really get into a rhythm and lay down a series of consistent laps due to the rain and other factors but I was pleased with my driving and feel confident going into the race.
As far as our expectations for the race, now that we have had the test day I would say that we definitely have a car capable of winning. I also feel we have a shot at the pole in our class. In a 24-hour race, qualifying is not all that important but it would be nice to have the prestige that comes with sitting on pole at Le Mans.
In just over a week, 56 race cars and 168 drivers will converge on the Circuit de la Sarthe to begin practice and qualifying activities leading up to the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In my next blog I will outline the schedule and also tune-in options to follow the race.
Lastly, congratulations to my good friend Jimmie Johnson on his win at Dover this past Sunday, and hopefully Pocono will treat you just as well this weekend!
Thank you for your support,