JRM Racing enter the final stages of working hard to prepare their Honda HPD ARX-03a LMP1 challenger on Sunday, with a wealth of experience and talent driving their team forward to ensure they are able to race when the green flag drops, on what will be the team's debut, alongside the fact the team will be helping Karun Chandhok to become the first Indian driver to ever compete at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
But alongside Chandhok is a duo of drivers, with Le Mans winner David Brabham and Peter Dumbreck, who competes for the fifth time, who will be able to hep motivate and advise the former F1 driver to help the team effort in this tougher endurance race.
And Chandhok was quick to point out the true differences between his former job as an F1 driver, to now competing at Le Mans: “Seeing the excitement of the fans today in the main square and the crowds really brought home how big this event is and how much prestige is attached to competing here. It's one of the classic races and it was fantastic to see how the whole town embraced it and got behind each of the cars and drivers – I don't think I've seen the levels of crowds on some Grand Prix weekends even!”
Brabham has competed in the iconic race and this year marks his 18th entry, claiming an overall win with Peugeot in 2009 and GT1 class wins for the previous two years with Aston Martin Racing. Dumbreck now competes in his fifth Le Mans race, so between the pair of them. It seems as if Chandhok has a wealth of experience to call upon if required, and said how important the cohesion of a team really is;
“That's also what it's also about – building the relationship with your team-mates and your crew and making sure you are functioning as a whole. Our aim has got to be this – build a good foundation to be able to finish the race.”
JRM Racing has a steeped tradition in motor sport, being based out of East Sussex, and with the onset of one of the most challenging races, and the weather looking to brighten up as the week progresses, the talent pool they have both on and off the track may help them, as long as they try to make the class race go in their favour.
Nigel Stepney, JRM's Chief Engineer and Team Manager, who was involved heavily with Ferrari until the “Spygate” saga in F1, Gigawave and Sumo Power, is pleased to see that the team is working well, and that progress is well underway for the start, but with weather being a factor, it could not come at a worse time if intermediate or full wet tyres are required during the race itself.
“This week obviously the weather is going to be a major talking point, with both wet and dry running predicted over the week, and even in the race itself. In this case we'll look at both ends of the set-up spectrum and try to find a compromise somewhere in between. At this point in time we haven't conducted any running on the intermediate tyre, which we believe has a very small operating window – if we can run this tyre during practice on Wednesday or Thursday, this would complete our understanding.”
And even Brabham shows by his words here, just how the thrill of Le Mans keeps drivers coming back, as well as talking about the physical side of the race and communication between drivers:
“It's always great to do scrutineering and kick off Le Mans week. The enthusiasm and the atmosphere make it so much more special as a driver. It really is unique.
“For me personally, it's about continuing my fitness routine and making sure I understand all the data that was generated over the course of the test, even after I left to return to Silverstone. Obviously I've been talking to Karun and Peter on how they got on and what they learnt and what we need to do next.”
So with several rivals including the Greaves Motorsport LMP1 team, which has drivers like GT Academy graduate Lucas Ordonez teaming with the father-son duo of Alex and Martin, who look to claim the class win with their Nissan-powered vehicle, will JRM Racing fare well, even though developments are still being made, with the drivers and engineers working together to optimize the set up as best as possibly? It's a matter of time, of which there is plenty when it comes to Le Mans.