Following two seasons in the LMP2 ranks, including a runner-up finish in the FIA World Endurance Championship last year, David Heinemeier Hansson takes up a new challenge for 2014, a move that he hopes will help deliver a world title.
The 34-year-old Dane has made the switch to the GTE-Am category, joining Aston Martin Racing and and the Young Driver AMR-backed effort with countrymen Kristian Poulsen and Nicki Thiim, beginning with this weekend’s season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone.
“I’ve had the goal from the beginning that I wanted to do Le Mans for a very long time,” Heinemeier Hansson told Sportscar365. “And if I were to do Le Mans for the next 20 years, I’d definitely want to go there in a GT car at some point. This opportunity was just perfect.
“Jan [Struve, Young Driver AMR team principal] put a great effort together with an all-Danish lineup, except for a couple of races where we’ll have to take a substitute.”
With Thiim having recently been signed by Audi as a factory GT driver, AMR-contracted driver Richie Stanaway will take his seat for the rounds the reigning Porsche Supercup champion cannot compete in, which includes next month’s Six Hours of Spa.
For Heinemeier Hansson, though, who is set for a full-season campaign in the No. 95 car, he feels ready for the new task at hand, having gained considerable pre-season running time in the V8-powered beast. It included a two-day test at Sebring in November, prior to AMR’s group test at Portimao in late February.
“I feel like I’m well prepared,” he said. “Just as importantly, it’s good that we start at a place where I really know the track. This is the fourth time I’ve been to Silverstone.
“It’s great that it feels comfortable like that, versus if you show up at a new track you don’t know, with a team you’ve never talked to before, with a car you’ve never tried before. That’s tough and none of those things are true now.”
With a new driver ranking system for GTE-Am, which mandates at least two Bronze or Silver-rated drivers for each lineup, the Silver-rated Dane, who starred in ALMS P2 competition in his rookie season in 2012, feels the class will produce some of the best racing this year.
“There’s ten cars for the whole season and there’s actually some really tough cars,” Heinemeier Hansson said. “It’s funny. You’d think the driver ranking system with Bronze and Silver would bring more weak cars but there’s a lot of cars that are optimized in their driver rankings to make sure they have a very, very fast Silver.
“I don’t know if it’s really shaping up to be what the ACO wanted, which was two amateur drivers. It seems like in a lot of cars, it’s one amateur driver that just buys the fastest Silver driver he can get, whereas in our car, we’re definitely two amateur drivers.
“But I’m confident in it and am happy to have seen the pace in practice that I’m not a mile off. The car is very comfortable to drive. I think the Aston is probably the easiest of the GT cars to drive. All of that plays into it.”
While having finished second in class last year at Le Mans in OAK’s Morgan-Nissan, Heinemeier Hansson is hoping to to make it one step higher on the podium this year, in what will be a stacked field in the production-based rans.
“It’s going to be great,” he said. I’m really looking forward to the whole season, particularly getting another crack at Le Mans. It will be tough with 16 cars. You’re not going to get anything for free this season.”