It was only the second 24-hour race for the BMW M8 GTE and only the second ever GTE race for BMW Team MTEK. Even more importantly, it was our first attempt at the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans and, although we retired in the early hours due to an incident, it was a mega start that showed a lot of potential. I’m a big believer that, when things don’t go your way, you can either make excuses and blame everyone else, or you can learn and come back stronger, so I’m using these hours to reflect on my week so we return next year ready for battle. We learned a lot as a team but, as a person and as a racing driver, it was also great life lesson.
For my first stint, I was a bit nervous – it’s only my second 24-hour race, after all. I was driving well but I got unlucky with traffic, and a few little things happened around me that, in the end, cost us some time. But, I learned that there are things that you should not get angry about - loosing two or three seconds in an early stint is not the end of the world. You have to step back and look at the bigger picture. So, I decided to chill out and, in my second stint, approached it differently. As a result, I drove really fast, overtook a lot of cars and had loads of fun. I climbed us up to fourth overall and the car felt insanely good until a damper issue occurred.
We got back into the race but, as the sun came up, one of my team-mates had an accident and the damage forced us to retire. Our sister car had the same damper issue but managed to continue and cross the line in 12th place, not the result they deserved, but just finishing here is a great achievement so it was cool to see them cross the line.
It wasn’t our day but whatever the race, or life, throws at you, you can always learn something, build on it and come back stronger. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, but this is just the first page of the book… No racing driver wants to be writing a DriveTribe post while they can still hear the cars circulating around them but I’ve learned that, at Le Mans, the endurance isn’t 24-hours long… it’s years long.