For Gustavo Yacaman, 2015 marks a breakthrough season in his third full season in sports cars.
The first two years, 2013 and 2014, have seen the Colombian build his resume in both a Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford and last year, OAK Racing’s Morgan-Nissan and Ligier JS P2 Honda in North America.
But after a career that has taken him Stateside for the better part of the last six years, with four years in Indy Lights prior to 2013, Yacaman now makes his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in his first full season abroad since 2008.
He does so as part of the G-Drive Racing squad, arguably the class of the LMP2 field in the FIA World Endurance Championship, with the combination of his two cars last year: a Ligier JS P2 Nissan.
“For me it’s the first time I’m in this position,” Yacaman told Sportscar365. “Having the best car, the best teammates and the best team is rare. I’m enjoying this as much as I can, because opportunities like this don’t come along very often.”
Yacaman and co-drivers Luis “Pipo” Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez have opened the year with back-to-back runner-up finishes in Silverstone and Spa in the No. 28 car.
That trio currently leads the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers by 16 points over their teammates in the sister No. 26 car, Sam Bird, Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov (44-28).
To score their first win as a group, they’ll have to be the best in a 19-car LMP2 field, the biggest class at Le Mans. The opening two rounds featured eight and 10 LMP2 car fields, respectively, and the numbers will be close to that again in the second half of the WEC season.
Yacaman has downplayed his own personal maturation and development over the last two years, and instead opted to note the professionalism of the Philippe Dumas-led team in his second year with the squad.
“It’s just been like a dream,” Yacaman said. “We all get along very well. All the mechanics are really professional. The car is a joy to drive.
“Yeah we drive the car, we’re leading the championships and we look like superstars, but honestly it’s the team that is the real superstar. Just don’t make mistakes. We haven’t made a single mistake. The team deserves all the credit.”
Yacaman didn’t get much running during the Le Mans Test Day, with only three dry laps during a mostly wet day.
More than any other track he’s raced on, adjusting to the weather or track conditions at various points of the circuit has been part of the learning process for him.
“So far with the test day being in the rain, it’s been tricky,” Yacaman said. “It’s not like any other track.
“At a normal track you have a section where there’s a lot of grip, slick, and it’s easy to recognize and remember all the sections. But here it’s such a vast track that you’re going from grip to no grip, to maybe a wet spot, to a dry spot.
“It’s so tricky to deal with a wet racetrack at Le Mans. What makes it tricky is that you’re always at such a high rate of speed. So it’s tricky to slow down your mind.”