ADVERTISEMENT
SCHUMACHER Mick (ger), Alpine Endurance Team, Alpine A424 #36, Hypercar, FIA WEC, portrait during the Free Practice 3 of the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, 4th round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship, on the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, on June 13, 2024 in Le Mans, France - Photo Javier Jimenez / DPPI

Schumacher: 24 hours on edge is the longest I will have done that

SCHUMACHER Mick (ger), Alpine Endurance Team, Alpine A424 #36, Hypercar, FIA WEC, portrait during the Free Practice 3 of the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, 4th round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship, on the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans, on June 13, 2024 in Le Mans, France - Photo Javier Jimenez / DPPI

After being ditched by Haas F1 Team at the end of 2022, Mick Schumacher marked time for a season as Mercedes reserve, until this year a switch to the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) with Alpine and this weekend made his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

His father, racing legend Michael Schumacher also spent time in Endurance Sportscar racing in the early nineties. Competing at Le Mans as part of a Mercedes prgoramme that included young guns and old masters in the team.

Schumi was in the company of fellow highly rated youngsters Karl Wendlinger and Heinz Harald Frentzen, partneriung up with veterans such as Jochen Mass and Bob Wolled as part of the Silver Arrows sports car racing programme.

ADVERTISEMENT

Just over three decades later, 25-years later Mick is at Le Mans, in an Alpine team mioxed with youth and experience. Most importantly young Schumacher is out there doing laps, as opposed to watching F1 races over Toto Wolff’s shoulders.

Schumacher joined Alpine’s Hypercar programme for 2024 and will share the #36 Alpine A424 with Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière.

Schumacher: You always have to make sure you can get to the end of your stint

Mick Schumacher startet als Neunter bei Le-Mans-Debüt - kicker

Speaking ahead of his debut at Le Mans, Schumacher told reporters: “It is a great pleasure to be here as part of Alpine, a great French team. We’re very excited for it. It’s going to be a great event. It’s a great race and it’s my first time so I’m experiencing everything for the very first time. It really shows that people are here because they’re passionate about racing and that’s a very, very nice thing to see.

“Personally, I’m just excited to get to the race, to see how that feels, 24 hours on edge, the longest I will have done that. One of the big points here is there’s always something happening. We always have traffic, we always have to think about strategy.

“You always have to make sure you can get to the end of your stint. There are a lot of cars out there, and if you happen to be in the wrong spot at the wrong time, it can be very costly. You know, it just adds to the challenge,” reckoned Schumacher.

As for the differences between F1 and endurance racing, particulalry the around-the-clock Le Mans race, Schumacher it all in his stride: “Honestly, I didn’t think it was that difficult. We had a test in Jerez that I think was by far much more difficult than this. I really enjoyed it. It’s a different feeling and gives a different vibe. I think it’s going to be an exciting race for sure.

“It’s not comparable [to F1] in the sense that it’s two different championships. Since it is that way, I also take it that way. I am able to separate the two so my driving style can match. I try to bring as much information from my side into my driving here,” explained Schumacher.

Lapierre: We’ve spent a lot of time with Mick for his first time here

Having Lapierre (17 starts at Le Mans) in the squad serves the WEC rookie well, the French vetran said of their rookie: “We’ve spent a lot of time with Mick for his first time here, and other drivers as well, to speak about traffic, slow zones… can be quite tricky as well, so we have to be very careful.

“For me, if there is one time that it’s a bit more hard than others, it’s the race in the sun in the morning because you feel almost like you have passed the night and you are through and it’s finished. And sometimes you [then] release a lot of the focus because it’s a little bit easier to drive when it’s daylight, and you see quite a lot of mistakes happening around 5 or 6 in the morning. So, this is when we need to keep our focus.

History shows, Mick;’s father Michael, competed in the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans at the wheel of a Sauber Mercedes C11 shared with Karl Wendlinger and Fritz Kreutzpointner, finishing fifth overall and claiming the fastest lap of the race.

Today, 33 years since that race., Mick Schumacher has a chance to acheive something his great father never did: victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.