Kubica hopes Le Mans debut will be "different" to previous 24h races

Ex-Formula 1 star Robert Kubica is targeting a race finish in this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours, having failed to see the chequered flag in previous endurance races of the same length.

Kubica hopes Le Mans debut will be "different" to previous 24h races

The Polish driver will make his debut in the French endurance classic with WRT, driving the #41 Oreca 07 alongside Louis Deletraz and Yifei Yi as part of a two-car line-up for the Belgian LMP2 squad.

The trio have achieved plenty of success in their first season in the European Le Mans Series and currently lead the championship with victories in Barcelona and at the Red Bull Ring.

However, Kubica hasn’t had much luck in 24-hour races in the past, with his previous two outings ending in retirement due to factors outside his control.

An entry into the Dubai 24 Hours in 2017 was cut short by technical issues, while his High Class Racing Oreca had to be retired with gearbox troubles even before he got to drive the car in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 36-year-old hopes this trend will end at the Circuit de la Sarthe, despite Deletraz being the only driver among the trio to have past experience of competing at Le Mans.

“Le Mans is the biggest endurance race and one of the most historic tracks,” said Kubica. “I am really happy to be here and take part in this event, which I am sure will be full of new things and new challenges. 

“We will have to respect the event, try to avoid mistakes and do as well as we can. Tricky situations will appear, for sure, it will be important to minimise risks and stay away from situations that can put us in difficulty, on and off track.

“It is going to be stressful, it will demand a lot of energy and effort, but I am very happy to be here and I hope to finish for the first time a 24-hour race. I only did two in my career, without seeing the finish, and hope this one will be different.”

#41 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Robert Kubica, Louis Delatraz, Yifei Ye

#41 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Robert Kubica, Louis Delatraz, Yifei Ye

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

WRT has made an impressive entry into prototype racing this year after achieving considerable success with Audi GT3 machinery over the last decade, entering a car each in WEC and ELMS.

The team scored its first podium in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Monza last month with Ferdinand Habsburg, Robin Frijns and Charles Milesi behind the wheel of the #31 Oreca 07.

WRT boss Vincent Vosse said it is a dream come true to see his outfit compete at Le Mans, as its ramps up preparation for a possible LMDh assault in the coming years.

“This is the end of a long wait,” said Vosse. “Le Mans has always been a dream, not even secret, for Team WRT since we launched the team. 

“For every motorsport fan, Le Mans means a lot, especially if you are an enthusiast of endurance racing. Personally, when I was a driver, it was one of the greatest experiences in my life and now I am terribly happy to come back in another capacity. 

“This said, no race commands higher respect than Le Mans. We take our 2021 participation as exploratory, although we always race with ambitions. 

“We know that despite the great preparation, the highly-qualified Le Mans experts we have in our team and the great driver line-ups, we will face a lot of unexpected and we’ll learn a lot. Let’s see how it goes, but being here is already quite something.”

shares
comments

Related video

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans
Previous article

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

Next article

Hypercar Le Mans power settings "worth 1.6s" a lap

Hypercar Le Mans power settings "worth 1.6s" a lap
Load comments
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Plus

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Plus

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
10 things we've learned from the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours so far Plus

10 things we've learned from the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Autosport picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2021: The team by team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in Le Mans' underrated class Plus

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in Le Mans' underrated class

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021