Jonny Cocker diaries: Mazda Raceway Patron 6 hr

Jonny Cocker

Drayson Racing's Jonny Cocker continues his accounts of the 2010 season at the wheel of the green Lola-Judd prototype to and, looking back at the six-hour American Le Mans Series Monterey presented by Patr¢n and ahead to the 78th 24 Heures Du Mans.

Laguna was a challenging weekend because the weather was very cold which meant low grip but the engineers worked really hard in the last test session and we were fastest on full tanks, so that was really encouraging for all of us at Drayson Racing.

We knew that we had a good race car at that point as well, which is obviously important going into a long race like a six-hour event. Paul did a really good job qualifying the car and did well at the beginning of the race, so we had a strong starting position. He had a little spin unfortunately but got the time back and was running some really good times, very competitive and right there with the leaders, so that was a really good start for us.

Once Paul had done his hour-and-a-half, we pitted and I jumped in the car. The Lola-Judd felt lovely; the tyres were lasting really well and I think we were the only prototype to be double-stinting the tyres. Disappointingly we had a gearbox failure in my second stint, which put an end to our race but I think we were on for a podium position at least and the way things panned out with people having all the problems it would have most probably have been P2.

Le Mans is going to be so exciting. After Laguna the car came back to Lola’s HQ in Cambridgeshire and we went to Rockingham where I shook down the car for a final check before going to Le Mans this weekend.

It’s going to be fantastic going back to Le Mans in a P1 car this year. It’s going to be a great gauge of where we are because everybody is there, the best teams in the world, so there really is nowhere to hide and I think that is good thing, something I really relish. The opportunity for the team and me to show what we can do and challenge for the fastest petrol-powered LMP.

I still know that I have got limited experience when it comes to Le Mans. It’s only my second event and I’m driving against guys who have been there for 10 years or more. I just take every opportunity with both hands and then ensure that I come out of it whatever it is by learning as much as possible. We have got a good team, like I say good experience with guys like Emanuele (Pirro). I feel more mentally prepared than last year and I am sure we will be right on the pace.

As for the event itself … well it’s just absolutely magic. For a driver it’s still very important to conserve your energy and to try and just be sensible about how much you’re doing pre race. But the parade is incredible and amazing to be involved with and something that you have to enjoy as much as you can because you only get the opportunity once a year. The fans are sensational and I look forward to seeing them all next week.

Jonny Cocker

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