Audi Sport Team Joest driver Loïc Duval says he is raring to race again at this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The Frenchman, who was involved in a heavy shunt during practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, has had three months of rest since the crash, the cause of which is still under investigation.
“The overriding problem I suffered was with my sight,” explained Duval. “It’s not surprising considering the severity of the impact. Only plenty of rest and relaxation allowed it to return to normal, which obviously required a lot of patience! However, this gave me the opportunity to spend time with my family, most notably my sons Martin – who was born nine days before my accident – and Hugo.”
Talking about the support he had after the crash, Duval says that the sports car community helped him through the tough period that followed.
“We’re all driven by our passion for racing, so when things get tough we all stick together. Romain [Dumas] – who previously raced with me at Audi – and fellow friends of mine at Toyota all asked about my wellbeing, which was nice. I was also incredibly moved by the support from Audi. As a huge manufacturer, it would be easy to assume that everyone there is a faceless employee working within a massive corporation. But this is simply not true; they are an amazing racing team.
“I’m relatively new to Audi – this is only my third year with them – yet everyone, including the mechanics, engineers, racing and company directors, and my team-mates all cared for me. That’s when I truly realised that I belong to an exceptional group of people; they’re more like a family. We’re all very close, and that certainly helped in the psychological aspect of my recovery.”
Despite being out of the title race due to the loss of points at Le Mans, Duval is still hoping him and team mates Tom Kristensen and Lucas Di Grassi can go on to defend the #1 Audi’s title.
“I visited the hospital last Tuesday where the FIA doctors wanted to check me over again after racing in Japan, and it looks like I’ve fully recovered. Physically and mentally I feel exactly as I did before the crash. Perhaps I’m even hungrier to succeed than I was before!
“As always, we will approach the final five races in exactly the same way as usual: aiming to win. Although I’m no longer in contention for the Drivers’ Championship after missing Le Mans, the sister Audi and leading Toyota are only six and 26 points ahead, respectively, so I’ll be giving it my all to help Lucas and Tom clinch the title, while ensuring that Audi defends their Manufacturers’ crown.”