Autocon Motorsports return to Le Mans 24 Hours as the sole US representative in LMP this year. Team owner/driver Michael Lewis-– splitting time with Tony Burgess and Bryan Willman next week - took time out of his busy schedule to speak to lola-group.com about the teams aims for the coming week at Le Mans.
1. What are your aims and objectives heading to your second Le Mans 24 Hours? “The number one objective is to finish. Number two is to run a flawless race with no mistakes or problems. In an ideal race we’d aim for a top 10 finish with our Lola-AER. Those are my ‘team owner objectives. My ‘driver’ objectives are a little more selfish. I’d like to turn a lap in the mid 3m30’s and consistently run in the high 3m30’s in the race.”
2. How tight is the turn around for getting the car from Laguna to Le Mans? “The logistics of being an overseas team is the first race you’ve got to ‘win’. This is proving particularly challenging and it gives us roughly three days to turn the car around and our shop is on the west coast."
3. How will Hugh Chamberlain fit in to the team for Le Mans? “Hugh was instrumental in getting a lot of things in place for us in Europe. He’s a real character with great experience at Le Mans and I’m sure he’ll be instrumental during the race as well.”
4. How would you describe racing at Le Mans? “For me, a life-long race fan, it’s a pilgrimage in addition to the challenge of the event itself. I truly think it’s the single greatest race in the world. To be involved as a team owner as well as driving is such a thrill for me. The atmosphere of the event is unparalleled. This is my second shot at this (after 2008) and you never know how many you’re going to get as a small team, so you really have to make it count.”
5. You will be the only true American team competing in LMP. Are you hopefully of good US following during the week? “On foreign soil you really do take the ‘representing America’ thing seriously and we hope to do a good job. I really think we’ll surprise a few people with our performance in the Lola-AER. We do hope that a few people will tune in and check up on us at Le Mans. Hopefully we’ll still be pounding around on Sunday and the fans in the US will be shouting for us.”
A select group of Series drivers and teams will compete at the 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The world’s greatest motor race is set for June 12-13 from the famed Circuit de la Sarthe in France. SPEED will broadcast the event live with flag-to-flag coverage available on radiolemans.com.
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