ALSO READ: Le Mans, the biggest race on earth
A few interesting points from our chat with Andre Lotterer, three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner:
Audi has dominated Le Mans over the past decade, but you didn’t win the World Endurance Championship (WEC) last year (Le Mans is one of the races on the WEC calendar). How do you see this year panning out?
Le Mans is a different story from WEC. Sometimes you have a car that suits Le Mans better than WEC. But this year, we pushed really hard to update our car, made a big evolution, and we won the first two races. We look strong for both occasions.
What is it about Le Mans that makes it so exciting for drivers?
There’s so much about it that’s special to me. First of all, it’s only held once a year, and it’s 24 hours, so it’s not easy to finish. And it’s on a race track that’s very high speed. The average speed is around 240kph to 250kph. So any mistake would most likely lead to an accident.
It’s a very mythical and historic race. It’s been around for almost 90 years, so it has created a lot of heroes and milestones in the automobile industry and motorsports. That’s why a lot of brands come here to show their new technology. It’s the greatest race in the world, where anything can happen.
There are a few hundred thousand people here – it’s a massive event. It’s like the football World Cup! Well, that happens once every four years, but Le Mans happens once a year, and if you fail, your whole season is just a disappointment.
Car manufacturers seem to love showcasing their new cars here.
It’s a great platform for car makers who want to showcase new technology because the rules are very open. People who don’t know much about racing don’t realise it, but Formula One is very restrictive. Here, the rules are much more open. We can run with diesel cars, hybrid technology, LED lights.... We can do a lot of things on efficiency, which will be used in the cars of tomorrow.