June 15, 2012
June 14 – Le Mans, France – After months of preparation, the Nissan DeltaWing team made final preparations Thursday, just days before the car’s Le Mans debut, and the Global Media Center spoke with drivers Satoshi Motoyama, Michael Krumm, and Marino Franchitti in France on their expectations for the historic weekend ahead.
When I am racing, whether the car is in competition or not, I would like to drive as fast as I can, and the Nissan DeltaWing is a new challenge with a smaller engine of just 1.6 liters, and smaller tires, and other new technologies. During our testing phase, week after week I wanted to drive the car faster.
To prepare to drive a 24-hour race, what you need mainly is endurance, so normally I do a strength training and endurance (program) combined, which a racing driver needs.
Preparing for Le Mans you’re going to be in the car for three hours in a stretch at some stages, which is like a marathon. You do that not only one time, but you have a few hours rest and you do it again, so you need a lot of endurance – low-heart rate for long stretches.
I try to do that in hot places, for example, I was in Kuala Lumpur last week with 40 degree heat, and I did one-hour runs, and the body gets used to the heat as well. It’s not going to be so hot here in France, which is good, and not only improves our performance a lot, so we prepare like that.
We hope to be able to do 11 or 12 laps, which should be about the same as the Audis, as the other LMP1 and LMP2 cars. So, that’s our aim, we’ll see how that plays out, and we won’t really know until the first thing on Saturday, but the aim is to not change drivers too often.
The Michelin tires have such durability that normally you would do a triple stint, then change tires and drivers. The tires may be durable enough that we’re just changing drivers, and of course with a 40-liter tank the fuel time is a lot shorter than the 80-liter tanks on the bigger cars, so there’s a lot of very good points about the Nissan DeltaWing and we’re looking forward to showing them off Saturday.