Interview with Marco Werner

In an exclusive interview with Autosport-Atlas, Champion Racing driver Marco Werner shares his thoughts on teammate Tom Kristensen's bid for a record seventh victory, why the Audi R8 will not be the fastest car this year, and why he doesn't drive in the DTM

Interview with Marco Werner

TR: How are you feeling following your test last weekend? The Audi R8 car has won four of the last five Le Mans but you were more than six seconds off the pace at last weekend's Test Day.

Marco Werner: "The R8 is a little bit slower than before because we have too many restrictions. The car has an air restrictor and less power than last year and we have 50kg more weight on the car, because of penalties handed to us. It is a little bit slower but six seconds per lap is a lot for a race driver.

"And we're only talking about 520bhp in our prototype car, which is not fine because the GT1 cars have 600bhp. It is wrong for the sport for a GT car to have more power than a prototype car.

"So we will not have the quickest car, but I hope we will still have the best car in the field."

TR: But despite the lack of pace, do you think you can the win the race this year?

Werner: "I'm not really sure that we can. We are not the quickest, but I hope we have the most reliable car. It is especially important in Le Mans just to run without trouble. The pace is so high in the last four or five years at Le Mans, that you must run without any problems if you want to finish on the podium.

"The Audi could have some troubles but it is such a good race car, that it will finish. We had some problems in my three years with an Audi but I finished all the races, and I finished most races on the podium. One race [Racing Champion teammate] JJ Lehto had a big accident but we could fix the car and we were back out. Only that can happen with an Audi R8. It is a special car.

"The development is so good I'm hoping we can have a good race without mechanical troubles especially."

TR: Do you think you can only win this race if others fall out, then?

Werner: "My feeling is 50-50. We are not the quickest but my feeling is that the Audi is running well.

"The two Pescarolo cars are about six seconds faster than us in practice and this does not bode well for a close race. I don't know what will happen after four or five hours, if they go at the same pace.

"I'm still thinking about going for the victory in Le Mans, so Champion can have their first win in Le Mans and we can also bring the Audi their final victory. I won the Daytona 24 Hours ten years ago and I have two Sebring victories, and I want to have all the three big events in sportscar races."

TR: You are partnered with Tom Kristensen who is going for a record seventh Le Mans race. He has won the race for the last five years. Does this help you?

Werner: "I help him and he helps me! All three of us have the same goal, which is to win the race. I just hope that I don't break Tom's run. Everyone is looking out for the others and helping the other one."

TR: Will there be any kind of team orders to help Audi or Kristensen win the race?

Werner: "There are no orders, maybe in the last couple of minutes perhaps - if it is clear that we will have a photo finish. But otherwise we'll have an open race. We will push from the first minute to the last minute in Le Mans."

TR: Do you think you have the best driver combination on the grid?

Werner: "I think so. To win six races and five in a row in Le Mans for Tom is fantastic and JJ and me are especially good in traffic. This will be especially important this year, because I think we are not the quickest cars on the straights this year. We don't even have a higher speed than the GT cars on the straights. So we are going to have to overtake on braking and then turn into the corners. You must have a very special feeling for this. JJ is good in this and I can do a good job.

"The air restrictors mean the car is a step down on the straights. The Corvette is especially fast on the straights, and we are late coming up to the same speed as them. That is the problem for us. They have so much torque and we have more power out of the chicanes.

TR: Does this make the race is more dangerous when you can't pass cars on the straights, especially at night?

Werner: "This is going to make it little bit more dangerous, and we are going to have to take more risks. But I like it and it is real racing.

"This is why I'm driving sportscars and not DTM. So I can overtake other cars. To overtake the other cars is the point, and I don't think that's special pressure for us."

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