June 19, 2015 (Le Mans, France) – Blasting around la Sarthe at night for the first time, even a seasoned professional can’t help but think of McQueen’s famous racing film.
Townsend Bell, a TUDOR United SportsCar Championship driver who’s at Le Mans for the first time, has been sharing his experiences with Road & Track. You can read part one right here. – Ed.
During Wednesday and Thursday we finally got down to business here at Le Mans, and after qualifying, our No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia will start Saturday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in 9th position in the GT-AM class.
My co-driver, Bill [Sweedler], has done an incredible job. He probably has not had as much time in the car as Jeff Segal and myself, but he was immediately on the pace and feeling very confident in the car. He’s spent a lot of time preparing for the track, as I have, with video and the simulator, so he has come here very well prepared. I think this type of circuit really suits his style.
It’s a big adjustment for both of us to go back to the GT-E-spec Ferrari. We used to race this car before we switched to the GT-Daytona Ferrari. In addition to being a new racetrack for us, we are relearning the car and getting used to the the tires. This is my first time racing on the Michelins, and it’s been a big adjustment, particularly in terms of braking. The way that you apply and release the brakes at the limit is probably the biggest change.
I had a little off on Wednesday, so it was important to get back in the car Thursday and shake that off. I think that I’m feeling very confident that I understand the track pretty well, I understand the limit, but I still have a high degree of respect for the environment. It’s a lot like Indianapolis from that standpoint. Le Mans is probably the most challenging course I’ve ever had to learn, because it’s so long and so unique, but the team has made it very easy to get up to speed.
One other thing—the P1 cars here are shockingly fast, and it’s very impressive to watch them go by. I’d like to think that GT racing is the best ticket you can buy for the prototype race because the view is spectacular. For this reason, practice is also really important because the more that we run the more we can understand and deal with it. We rely heavily on our spotters and rear-facing cameras.
There’s no more practice for us—today is the driver’s parade in downtown Le Mans, and we’ll try to relax and get as much rest as possible before it’s time to race on Saturday.
Photo Credits: Roberto Viva
About Scuderia Corsa
The 2013 Grand-AM Rolex GT championship-winning team Scuderia Corsa was founded in 2011 by Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo. The team was created for the sole purpose of supporting the racing needs of Ferrari clients and includes turnkey programs, GT endurance racing, the North American Ferrari Challenge Series and track events. Giacomo Mattioli is the owner of Ferrari Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and South Bay and partner in Ferrari Maserati Silicon Valley with Art Zafiropoulo.
Follow Scuderia Corsa on Twitter @Scuderia_Corsa, on Facebook at Scuderia Corsa, Instagram at #Scuderiacorsaferrari and ScuderiaCorsa.com
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