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Jun 26, 2014 - 07:07 AM
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Winslow Prepares For LMP2 Victory In 2015 Le Mans 24 Hour
Posted by: newsla on Jun 26, 2014 - 07:02 AM
Le Mans News
Winslow Prepares For LMP2 Victory In 2015 Le Mans 24 Hour


Australian-based English driver James Winslow finally achieved a long-held dream at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans - to compete in a prototype sportscar against the best drivers in the world. History will show that the #41 Greaves Motorsport LMP2 failed to finish after Winslow’s team-mate became caught up in a heavy downpour on slick tyres, but not before Winslow had set some of the fastest lap times on track, in the process moving up the order past a string of F1 stars and 24-Hour veterans.

 

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“Since my father first took me to Le Mans as an 11-year old, my dream had always been to race there in a prototype and win,” Winslow recalled. “And this year I got to realise that dream, and it was clear to me pretty early on that we had the ability to do just that.”

Ask any Le Mans veteran and they will tell you that the journey to success is often paved with despair, but Winslow typically took it all in his stride as he looked back on what had been a whirlwind visit to the French countryside.

“The car was ballistic.. the team had done such a good job of repairing it [after a difficult couple of days of practice and qualifying - which included a broken gearbox and a huge crash for Winslow’s team-mate] and making improvements since qualifying that I could put it just about anywhere I wanted it,” he explained post-race. “I made a good start and got past two cars on the first lap despite a few spots of rain on Mulsanne Straight.

“Our car wasn’t the quickest in a straight line because of an electrical issue, and it was running a little more downforce, so I knew I had to use that downforce in the slippery conditions on cold tyres and I managed to do that.

“At that stage I was either the fastest or the second fastest LMP2 car on track, so given we were at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, I was pretty happy with that.. I did a double stint which moved us into the top half dozen in LMP2 before handing over to Michael [Munemann].

“Unfortunately he had a very challenging stint with rain falling quite heavily after my stop. Half the track was wet, half the track was dry. He started with wets and coped fairly well with the first big downpour, but the team brought him in as the track started to dry and sent him out on slicks just as the heavens opened again.

“He aquaplaned on some water as he came across an LMP1 car which had spun, and another LMP2 piloted by ex-F1 driver Karun Chandhok and he had nowhere to go. He couldn’t slow down and hit those cars and the barrier which unfortunately damaged the chassis and the carbon tub, and the ACO wouldn’t allow us to repair it, so unfortunately that was the race over for us.”

Clearly disappointed, Winslow took the frustration in his stride whilst around him the team were clearly gutted, the popular Englishman circulating amongst the crew to thank each of them for their meteoric efforts across the weekend, in the process consoling both Latif and Munemann who was clearly devastated by the teams early exit..

“That’s motor racing, you have to take those challenges as they come. If things were different, we’d be celebrating, but there are so many elements to reaching success at an event like this, but the important thing is that we were competitive and were well placed to challenge for the win. I’m happy with my performance, I was comfortably quickest in the car in every session, even against my Audi-supported team-mate [Latif], but now the focus is on 2015 and putting together a race winning package!”

“I can see what the elements are that require success, and how we could achieve that goal. Greaves were very happy with how I ran, and it didn’t hurt to be the fastest of the two team cars during my stint in the race. It also didn’t hurt to pass the team that beat me to the Asian Le Mans Series title on track too, not once, but three times.. Fortunately some of those teams have seen how quick I was here at Le Mans, so the discussions that were harder to unlock earlier in the year ahead of the event, have been much easier to have since this week started.

“My focus is now 100% on achieving success at Le Mans in 2015, all I have to do is piece together how best to achieve that and how best to be race fit for next year by doing as many miles in a prototype as I can in the lead up to next June.

“I’m also committed to winning the Australian GT Championship too with Dean Koutsoumidis, someone who has been a strong supporter of mine over recent years. I also have to thank my other loyal supporters too, including Dean Koutsoumidis from Equity-One Motorsport, Alvin Edyvane from V-3 Recruiting, Rod Salmon from Skwirk.com.au, Mark Laucke from Laucke Flour Mills, Peter Johnson from PJS Air, Michael Whiting and all my family and friends for their continuing support.

“It’s no easy mountain to climb, but now I’m here, I’m in no hurry to leave, and I think it’s only a matter of time before that champagne is mine!”


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