The 24 Hours of LeMans is one of, if not the biggest races in the year. With over a 150 drivers racing across various classes and a history that dates back to 1923, the 24 Hours of LeMans sees a footfall of over 250,000 people over the course of the weekend. Run on the historic Le Sarthe race circuit, which is known for its long back straight where cars can reach over 300 kmph, modern-day competitors complete over 5000 kilometers during the 24 hours time period.
The 2019 edition will give Indian fans something to cheer about when racing superstar Arjun Maini becomes only the third Indian to contest the prestigious event. Backed by J.K.Racing, Arjun will compete in the LMP2 category with 19 other entries, racing for the British team RLR Msport, Arjun will share his racing duties with gentleman driver John Ferraro and the experienced Frenchman Norman Nato who is a previous winner in Formula 2. At the age of 21, he will also become the youngest Indian ever to contest the race along with legends such as two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, 4 time World Touring Car Champion Andy Prilaux, as well as former LeMans winners such as Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and former Formula One race winner Giancarlo Fisichella to name a few of what is proving to be a very talented lineup of drivers.
Speaking about his weekend Arjun said, “Competing in one of motorsport’s biggest races is crazy! The atmosphere during testing alone was something special and I can hardly wait for the actual race weekend. The biggest challenge I will face is the fact that I will be in the car much longer than in any of my previous races and I hope to be as consistent as possible as this will be key is gaining a good result. Another interesting aspect of endurance racing is navigating through traffic. It’s all about risk assessment here, as I need to find the balance between losing time behind a slower car versus gauging if a driver can see me in their mirrors and finding this balance is another crucial aspect to the race. I’m managing my expectations for this race as 24 hours is a very long time in motor racing and anything can happen. Obviously, I’m looking to do my best and bring in a positive result for both myself and the team, that being said I also want to make the most of this opportunity as it’s not every day you get to be a part of a historic race such as this.”
Arjun’s team principal from RLR Msport added, “This weekend is going to be a massive learning experience for Arjun! Coming from single seaters, he’s adapted extremely well in the tests leading up to the race and I fully expect him to be one of the fastest drivers in the LMP2 class come race day. I’m quite positive about our chances for this weekend as Normal Nato brings a wealth of experience to the team, the synergy between Norman, Arjun, and our team’s bronze driver John Ferraro has been exceptional and I hope this carries over to the race weekend.”
Having recently signed a management deal with e-Ace International, Arjun’s manager Tomas Siltanen added, We are expecting that Le Mans 24h will give Arjun a further boost in his career to become a full time professional and also Le Mans is the biggest scene to show Arjun’s potential to race amongst the best in the sport. This is the first time Arjun races the 24h Le Mans so one of the most important is to be consistent and learn from every lap because we know he has the speed!”
While two time LeMans winner JJ Lehto added, “It is great to be a part of Arjun’s development to become a professional driver. It’s a huge opportunity to race in the 24h Le Mans which I also have great memories from. It is a hectic 24 hours which is all about being fast, consistent and super concentrated all the way. Also, everything from hydration to sleep plays a key factor. Unfortunately, we started working together only a while ago so we have not been able to work together that much yet but we will do our best to support and help Arjun in any way possible to get a maximum result. I hope that everybody understands how big an event the 24 Hours of LeMans is and once you make a good result there, you will reach huge publicity and it will open up new doors in your career.”
The race takes place on the 15th and 16th of June and can be streamed live on the 24 Hours of LeMans app which is available on both the App Store and Play Store.