Le Mans is a place you dream about. To drive and compete at ever since you are a kid if you are into cars and motorsports.
Last weekend it was time another year to participate in the most attended motorsports event in the world.
This year was my 10th consecutive race at Le Mans and I’ve done every year with the same co-driver, Tracy Krohn. We set a modern-day record as competing in the most races together as a driver pairing at Le Mans.
This was our first year in the LMP2 category; in the past nine years previous we had been competing in the GT category and have collected three podium finishes as our record (so far).
To come to this very special and ultra-fast place requires respect, focus and preparation and when you compete in a LMP car you really understand how fast this place is and how important it is to have done your homework.
The weather was challenging the entire week with very little dry running. This makes for an even more interesting task, when you trying to sort out your starting tire pressures, fuel consumption and general car set up.
We decided from the beginning that we would focus on the race set up and don’t worry about qualifying and set a fast time. We struggled with an inconsistent handling car depending on the fuel load and which tire construction we were running.
We finally had to try to find a happy medium and went for a tire choice that would give us more stability turning in to the corners , but may sacrificed in overall grip and lap time.
The parade on Friday night was a great experience as always. However, this year the weather turned out to be nice and a huge crowd came to see all the drivers riding in historic cars and handing out autograph cards and signing autographs to the very enthusiastic racing fans.
When we drivers and the teams getting are ready to go racing, the fans just keep singing, cheering and drinking their choice of beverage.
There seems to be something in their drinks that my drink seems to be missing. To see the mix of people, ages, cultures, languages, but one common factor of motor racing, all having a blast, it really motivates you as a driver.
You want to put on a good show and make sure the fan get something to talk about for a long time.
The fans have a chance to sing the national anthem for the drivers they are supporting and cheering for, and then it’s time to go racing.
The first couple of hours is when you want to get a good read on tire wear, fuel consumption and that everything operates normally.
Unfortunately for us at Krohn Racing, we started to experience electrical issues already after a few hours. They just got worse throughout the night, with several operating systems failing, such as (TPMS) Tire Pressure Monitoring System, traction control, etc.
With those systems not operating normal, it becomes very difficult to drive and get the most possible performance out of the car.
But the Krohn racing crew did a great job keeping the car running, despite several penalties, on track incidents, etc.
As much as you like to win and be standing on that podium, in the end of the day, if you can finish and work through all the gremlins and issues you are faced with during a grueling 24 hour race and at the famous grounds of Le Mans, you still accomplished something great, even if you did not get to finish the mission you came there for.
Despite being tired and disappointed, I’m already start thinking about next year’s race. I’m thinking about how much better that is going to be, with new possibilities, challenges and to get to share one of the absolutely most fantastic experiences with fans again.