Olly’s Top 5 Laguna ‘Ems’!

1   Magnificent Monterey

Monterey Bay

What’s not to like?  The Monterey Peninsula is a magnificent coastal area with marvellous scenery and there’s always a great atmosphere at the track and in the town.  The whole place has a lot of character and we always look forward to going there.  There are many great restaurants and a type of cuisine I really like, plus several English pubs.  More than one driver has been known to take a drink or two after the race in the Mucky Duck, it caps it all off perfectly!

2   Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

In previous years we haven’t always got our set up right and last year in particular was a difficult race for all of us.  However, the Corvette C6.R has had major development since then and, coming off two very good results at Sebring and Long Beach, we’re confident we’ll be able to fight anyone at any venue this year.  We know we haven’t automatically got it covered and still have to work hard but all four of the drivers are fired up and motivated with our excellent car.  Choosing the right tyre at the right time is a key factor and we’re working closely with Michelin on that.

The main challenge at Laguna is that it’s a low grip track with quite a polished surface so you never really feel the tyre biting into the tarmac.  Additionally, with the colour of the asphalt being what it is, particularly at dusk it’s often tricky to see where the track finishes and where the sand or grass begins.  If an engineer hears the word ‘dust’ once, he hears it a 100 times!

3   Mighty Corvettes (plus Milner, Magnussen and Matador!)

In previous years we haven’t always got our set up right and last year in particular was a difficult race for all of us.  However, the Corvette C6.R has had major development since then and, coming off two very good results at Sebring and Long Beach, we’re confident we’ll be able to fight anyone at any venue this year.  We know we haven’t automatically got it covered and still have to work hard but all four of the drivers are fired up and motivated with our excellent car.  Choosing the right tyre at the right time is a key factor and we’re working closely with Michelin on that.

Tommy and I are forming a good team in the No.4 car and are bonding well.  I think we’re a good force in the championship and will take the fight to anyone at Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari or Porsche…or Mags and the Matador!

4   Monster preparation for Le Mans

It’s a six-hour race into the darkness so we’re getting into the swing of endurance racing again following our two hours at Long Beach.  It’s very much a dress rehearsal for Le Mans, going through all the routines and pit stops, flexible strategies, and working with the car and tyres in cooler, evening conditions.

Laguna helps prepare for night racing at Le Mans

It’s good preparation for the drivers and the team but we’re super-mindful of the fact that the cars we’re driving have to go on a plane for Le Mans just a few days after finishing in California.  That point will be spelled out to us by the team bosses more than once over the weekend!  They want us to race, for sure, but always to make sure safety is in the back of our mind!

5   Marathon memories

I’ve recently run the London Marathon but, even without that event, all the training and running I do is in preparation for Le Mans.  Just as the team is focussed towards the 24-hours, I base my whole season around that race and train to be as fit as possible for that week.  I find marathon running is a great foundation for my fitness and it’s easy to keep that up in Monterey as there are excellent trails or the beach to run on.  It’s a great environment to be in and around and I’m sure Antonio – who ran a marathon in Madrid the same weekend as mine in London – and I will be running each morning.  I was a little disappointed not to have beaten my personal best time of 2 hours 58 minutes in the marathon, but I finished under 3 hours again and you learn something every time.

This entry was posted in American Le Mans Series. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.