Preparation key to LeMans success
The numbers from Le Mans grow more and more staggering each year. On a circuit that measures 8.3 miles, the average lap speeds for prototypes are in excess of 150 mph. And the winning Audi R10 TDI raced for 381 laps and more than 3,220 miles in a 24-hour span. Yes, it's the ultimate test of both man and machine.
In all of racing, there is nothing like Le Mans and the sheer physical and mental strain that it places on a team. Drivers, however, routinely push themselves to - and often beyond - their limits to win the greatest race in the world. Like the race itself, preparation is about endurance and not necessarily strength.
So how do drivers prepare themselves for such a herculean task? A handful of American Le Mans Series competitors offer up their training habits.
Guy Smith, Quifel-ASM Team
Zytek 09S (LMP2)
"I am running two hours every morning followed by one hour of weights and boxing in the evening. There is lots going on. My wife Alicia is due to give birth to our second child - hopefully before Le Mans!"
Simon Pagenaud, Pescarolo Sport
Peugeot 908 HDi (LMP1)
"I am trying to get back on (French) time; that's the most important thing. I am doing a lot of running and getting my heart rate at a good pace. It's the same as Sebring. You want to wake up early in the morning and do some training to get used to the cycle. Le Mans isn't that physical but you need to be able to focus for four hours. It is mental training and being able to focus for a long period of time."
Mika Salo, Risi Competizione
Ferrari F430 GT (GT2)
"Le Mans is such a long race. I think it's difficult to prepare for because anything can happen. Personally I've been doing my usual training - in the gym, running and some weights to keep the brain working and keep sharp. The driving at Le Mans is not the big thing; it's that you don't get much rest in between the driving. You have to be fit enough to deal with that."
The 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is scheduled for 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, June 13 to 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, June 14. SPEED will provide live television coverage. Flag-to-flag coverage of the race, qualifying and practice will be available at radiolemans.com.
The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. The race is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 18. The race will air live on SPEED. American Le Mans Radio and Live Timing & Scoring will be available at Racehub on americanlemans.com. You also can follow the Series on Twitter.
The race also will mark the fifth round of the MICHELIN Green X Challenge. Tickets are available at americanlemans.com and limerock.com.