Martin Brundle returned to the scene of his Le Mans 24 Hours victory with Jaguar in 1990 at the official test day last weekend.
The former grand prix driver spoke to AUTOSPORT about driving the Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time since 2001 with son Alex Brundle and their chances of success in the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan Z11SN in the LMP2 class come the race on June 16/17.
Q. What were your feelings on returning to a venue that has been so important to your career?
Martin Brundle: Sitting in the drivers' briefing was a 'pinch-myself' moment - I didn't think I'd do that ever again. I always thought this was a great track. I've always championed Le Mans as a track that should feature in people's top three or top five circuits.
Q. What did it feel like getting back out there in the Greaves Zytek?
MB: Going out on the track got the juices flowing; I really enjoyed it. Alex and I had to be very careful to get our laps in. I think we were a bit over-cautious, but we had a job to do. We did our laps, so we are now in the race.
I found myself attacking Mulsanne Corner straight away and our car was great through the Porsche Curves, absolutely awesome. I had to get used to the new bit of track after the Dunlop Bridge, which wasn't here when I raced the Bentley. It's a bit like Becketts at Silverstone.
Q. How different was it to driving the Zytek at the other circuits at which you've tested, Paul Ricard and Snetterton?
MB: The scenery rushes past your peripheral vision just like in Formula 1 when you hadn't been in the car over the winter months or you were going very fast at a place like the old Hockenheim. Suddenly it all normalises, but you've got to have the belief that the car is going to stick in the high-speed corners. There is plenty of scope to have a big crash here and trash your car.
Q. How do you assess your chances in the race?
MB: The first day confirmed how competitive LMP2 will be. We are fine on pace, but there are a lot of good drivers in a lot of a good cars. P2 has changed out of sight. It will be harder to finish in the top three in the class than I perhaps first thought. It is seriously competitive. It kind of reminds me of Group C in the late 1980s. I look down the entry list and see more direct competitors than I did when I was driving with Jaguar.
Q. Do you think this will be a one-off return to Le Mans or could there be further appearances?
MB: I have no idea. This was driven by me wanting to do it with Alex and wanting to introduce him to sportscar racing. Those two boxes have been ticked, so we will have to see.