24 Hours of Le MansFIA WEC

Button Continuing to Adjust to Life at Le Mans, Particularly in the Dark

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Jenson Button, Vitaly Petrov & Mikhail Aleshin - SMP Racing
Credit: Craig Robertson

Jenson Button admitted the first laps he turned around the Circuit de la Sarthe in darkness were eye opening, with the former Formula 1 World Champion saying that the Porsche Curves in particular were a challenge once the sun went down.

The British racer is partnering Russian racers Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin in the #11 BR Engineering BR1-AER from SMP Racing for his maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans, which also marks his opening race of his FIA World Endurance Championship career having missed the opening race at Spa-Francorchamps last month.

Button said it was a much different challenge to race around the circuit in the darkness, and he singled out the legendary Porsche Curves as somewhere he had to adjust too, saying it felt like he was driving at 500km/h.  He also commented about how bright the advertising banners and blue flags were around the lap.

“I had two laps that were really dark, the others were the sun going down,” Button is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I haven’t experienced too much in the dark, but I will say it’s definitely more challenging.

“The chicanes are fine because you have these big brake markings. It’s the Porsche Curves that are a shock to the system, because it’s already a fast sequence of corners, but at night… it’s like you’re doing 500km/h.

“Trying to get the turn-in into Porsche Curves is tricky. Then you have the two lefts, there was a big advertising [banner] on the right-hand side, it’s so bright. That’s a thing to get used to, and I think it will come over time.

“But also the blue flags, because there are a lot of blue flag lights, and they are so big and so bright. That’s a shock. It’s just getting used to the lights, the darkness and everything, it’s your eyes and your brain getting used to the differences from the daytime.

“It’s still a racing car, it’s just understanding your surroundings a bit more.”

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