Le Mans, for those of you who have been living under a rock, is perhaps the most gruelling race 24 hour race in the world with drivers flying through the pitch dark of the night with speed more often than not on the higher side of 300kmph, just making it to the finish line at the end of 24 hours is a feat in itself. This time Le Mans gets even more personal for racing fans in India, with our very own Karun Chandhok lining up on the grid. It gets even better. He will be staging his attempt in a retro-style Gulf Liveried Tockwith Motorsport Ligier JS P217.
The Iconic blue and orange theme became the colour of Le Mans after Steve McQueen’s 1971 movie where he plays the part of a Porsche driver and his struggle with what is definitely the worlds most gruelling race for both man and machine.
Chandhok –being backed by the AVT group — remains the only Indian to have ever laid rubber at Le Mans, returns to the hallowed grounds of Circuit de La Sarthe in France for the fifth time. With 300,000 trackside fans and millions watching from all over the globe. Chandhok will make his charge in the LMP2 class in the Tockwith Motorsports LMP2 class Ligier-Gibson P217, a debut season for the team in this iconic race. Racing alongside Chandhok will be debutant Philip Hanson and Nigel Moore.
“Le Mans is magical, it is the best race in the world in many ways. The challenge of it is that it’s so damn difficult. You’re driving in the day, in the night, the track conditions are changing, the temperatures are changing, you’ve got rain inevitably at some stage, you have four different tyre compounds to choose from, you have to deal with the traffic, it’s such a long lap as well, very, very tricky to get right, and we’re doing over 320 kph at four different points on the track,Realistically, I’m with a rookie team and with a rookie team-mate who’s 17 years old so it’s going to be a challenge to get a strong result. We’re in a Ligier chassis and judging by the official test session, we don’t seem to have the pace of the Oreca chassis who looked very strong. It’s a 24-hour race and lots can happen so we’ll just keep our heads down and work away but I think if we get in the top 6 we would have done very well considering all this.” said Chandhok.
The LMP2 class is making something of a resurgence in Le Mans and is likely to be the most closely contested race in the last twenty-five years. With 25 cars on the grid, Karun will be racing alongside several drivers that he’s competed against over the years including Bruno Senna, Nico Prost, Nelson Piquet Jnr, and Jean-Eric Vergne.
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