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Le Mans 24 Hours: Brendon Hartley - Q&A

Crash.net speaks with the youngest member of Porsche's LMP1 line-up, Brendon Hartley, to discuss his 'dream' of representing the manufacturer
Q:
This is your first Le Mans in an LMP1 car, how does it compare to your previous experiences here?

Brendon Hartley:
I did the last two years with Murphy Prototypes. When I did Le Mans for the first time in 2012 I'd come from single-seaters and I was looking for a new avenue. I never imagined that I'd love Le Mans so much and find such a new passion in motorsport. Since then it's become my life and it's a dream come true now to be racing with Porsche and it's made all my work from when I was six years old racing go-karts worthwhile. It's a real dream come true.

Q:
It's obviously a big deal to be a Porsche factory driver and you're clearly the young driver of the team. How much of an honour is it to represent Porsche on their return to Le Mans?

BH:
I'm extremely proud and honoured that they decided to choose me. There was obviously a lot of drivers in the paddock that were capable and wanted to be in my position so I'm very grateful for them giving me the chance and a little bit surprised at the same time. It's very special to be a Porsche driver, especially at Le Mans, and they're such an iconic and successful team but once you put on the helmet you forget about it very quickly and just enjoy driving this very beautiful car around the best circuit in the world.

Q:
How have you found the car and its development?

BH:
That's one of the most enjoyable bits because when you go to a test day, in any car, you've got a list of things that need to be improved but when you're in a programme like this all those items are ticket off the list and ready to go. Being part of developing a programme and technically with so much new technology that we'll see in road cars in the near future it's so exciting to be involved with it.

Q:
The FIA WEC is billed as a great platform for manufacturers to trial new innovations that will hopefully filter down to road vehicles in the future – what is it like to be involved in such a pioneering project?

BH: “I'm getting to experience it first hand and that's super cool. The way that we accelerate out of a corner with the hybrid system is very impressive. The efficiency that we're getting now is quite well documented and how far we can go with a similar lap time is very impressive. It's exciting to be at the forefront of it and working with the engineers and I love it and it's one of the perks of the job.

Q:How much emphasis has Porsche placed on this race? Obviously at Silverstone and Spa you were quick, but Le Mans is an entirely different prospect.

BH:
The package that we produced was aimed at Le Mans, for very obvious reasons. It's a very new car with lots of things to be developed and it didn't make sense to go down two different routes. Le Mans is a very particular track so it didn't make sense to develop two different cars so the main emphasis went on developing a Le Mans car which while it didn't work well at Silverstone at Spa it showed huge potential. The team was on pole there and it was a massive surprise to us and I think that we had big strengths there that can be explained. I think that all the teams are working heavily towards Le Mans. We're all at a similar pace which is very impressive when there is so much different technology involved. We've gone in three different ways but arrived at a similar lap time. I can't see anyone running away with it too easy.

Q:
What's the strategy for the race? Is there a particular way that you want to approach it?

BH:
From my side I'll approach it as I normally do and try and drive as fast as I can for as long as I can. It's a long race and anything can happen. The main objective at Le Mans is obviously to keep it out of the pits and the less you're in there the better. The strategy is just to get to the end as quickly as possible!

by Ollie Barstow


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