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romain grosjean le mans

Grosjean: It’s taken me 14 years but here I am back at Le Mans

romain grosjean le mans

Romain Grosjean, a driver with 179 Formula 1 starts, is back for his second Le Mans 24 Hours but admits he feels like a rookie at the 92 edition of the world’s greatest endurance sportscar race.

In 2010, after a forgettable seven races in F1, Grosjean had an enforced sojourn from the top flight, contesting the FIA GT World Championship on the time. Including his first taste of Le Mans driving the #60 Ford GT GT1 by Matech. He was 24 years old then.

Now at 35, The Frenchman is back at Le Sarthe, his home race so to speak, sharing driving duty in the #19 Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63 with Matteo Cairoli and Andrea Caldarelli

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Ahead of his Le Mans adventure, Grosjean revealed his game plan: “This year I’ll concentrate on learning a lot in a short time. I’m a bit like a rookie in that I don’t know the car well and haven’t driven it much. But given my achievements since 2010, I don’t really consider myself a novice.”

But a Le Mans novice he is not quite, as his taste of the great race in 2010 testifies, one Grosjean has not forgotten: “I remember it well: the atmosphere, the enthusiasm. Unfortunately, we broke the engine and had to withdraw. I always said I‘d be back one day, to compete for outright victory.

“It’s taken me 14 years, but here I am! If you’d told me when I started out that one day I would be able to say I’d raced the Grand Prix de Monaco, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the top class, I’m not sure I’d have believed you.”

Grosjean: I haven’t been surrounded by so many people since the accident in Bahrain

romain-grosjean-getting-out-of-his-car-that-is-on-fire-at-bahrain-gp-2020

Grosjean will always be remembered as the driver who survived “that fireball crash” during the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, a night in which only a miracle could save his life, and it did.

He has since gone on to race at Indycar, remaining a frightfully fast driver on his best days, but also accident-prone during his bad days. Alas, for him there were too many of the latter.

Ahead of his belated return to Le Mans, Grosjean explained how the deal to drive in 2010 came about: “Martin Bartek gave me a great opportunity back in 2010. And also let me go when I wanted to switch to GP2. Things went pretty well for me after that.

“I raced single-seaters for over 10 years. Since I’ve been in the States I haven’t really had chance to race in Europe. I haven’t been surrounded by so many people since the accident in Bahrain. It’s great to meet the fans. I must admit my 2024 diary is full. There are 31 race weekends in all. I’ve got plenty on, but life is good. I’m not complaining!”

Variety is the spice of life!

Romain Grosjean evokes his return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans | 24h-lemans.com

Variety is indeed the spice of life for Grosjean who, this year alone, has raced his Dallara DW12 in Indycar including the recent Indy 500 as well as a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2 at Daytona and the Lamborghini SC63 in WEC.

The Swiss-born Frenchman is relishing the challenge of driving Hypercars: “I enjoy driving different cars. I like IndyCar and the Lamborghini programme complements it well. It’s a new project, with a great team. We’re really motivated.

“It’s a great mix between a GT and a single-seater. From a mechanical point of view, it handles like a single-seater, but there’s less downforce than on an F1 car You can do so much with the car. It’s brilliant. In F1 the tendency is to outlaw differences.

“There’s more freedom here. Between traction control, brake distribution and hybrid input, there’s a lot to consider. There are endless opportunities to work with the engineers. It’s not easy to strike the right balance with the settings because the car is quite heavy and yet has a lot of downforce.

“So we try different things. We learn lap by lap,” ventured Grosjean whose #19 will line-up the Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63 in P21 on the grid for today’s start at 16:00 (CET) local time.