The sheer size of the place – not to mention the huge speed – is part of the magic of Le Mans. The mixture of conventional race circuit and public roads is a huge challenge. You have to build up into your rhythm, always trying to find little improvements with yourself and the car as the week unfolds.
The layout offers a fantastic mixture of corners. The Dunlop Esses, the fast entry and banked exit of Indianapolis and the downhill, narrow Porsche Curves are among the best anywhere in the world, and getting them right – in daylight or darkness, rain or shine – is hugely satisfying. And for full fright factor, you’d have to say that hammering down the Mulsanne Straight in the dark and the rain tops the lot. I do feel I’m earning my money when that’s going on!
Le Mans is the third round of the World Endurance Championship, which I’m doing with Aston Martin Racing. I feel totally immersed in the family, having been with them for so many years. The privilege of being a British driver racing for such an iconic British brand in sportscar racing’s premier category cannot be overstated. To have made all 13 Le Mans appearances with the Prodrive team – the first two years in their Ferrari 550 Maranello – is something I’m immensely proud of, too. I really can’t imagine racing for anyone else.