Johnny Herbert Q&A

Johnny Herbert has raced for Audi at Le Mans for the last two years, but for 2003 he leads a driver line-up that includes former grand prix class-mates Mark Blundell and David Brabham as Bentley guns for glory at La Sarthe. Already favourites to win, Herbert cautions against predictions as he talks exclusively to autosport.com about his excitement of driving for the British marque

Johnny Herbert Q&A



I think it is the right time to join the project!



The customer Audis. The customers are going to be strong because their cars have been developed over the years and last year's version was the best one Audi ever made. It is very quick compared to where the Bentley was performance-wise last year so we have got to come a lot further forward to be able to beat them.



Exactly, in fact at Le Mans it was five or six seconds slower. So there is a lot to do, but I think the changes that Bentley has made will make a significant difference to this year's car. Until we do a bit of testing of course we never really know where we are going to be, but I think with the expertise that everybody has within the group, I think it is very positive.



Well it has, but as far as the car is designed from an aerodynamic point of view, it is completely different to the R8. Obviously it's a got a roof and the front of the car is completely different. The only thing that looks the same as the Audi is the rear wing. It's going to be difficult for everyone to make it work, but it's got all the right ingredients to produce a package that will be quicker than the Audis. And that is really our main target.



Well it would be nice to get into a car that you would think is going to be the ultimate sportscar and although the Audi was a very, very good car, hopefully we are going to go one step further. It is going to be the best sportscar ever built and it will be nice to go back to Le Mans in a closed top car like the sports prototypes were. It looks mean doesn't it?

It does mean a lot. Even when I look back at when I won Le Mans with Mazda it was the first and only Japanese manufacturer to win the 24 hours, so to be able to go back after and for Bentley to win it again after 70 years and to be part of that would be great. I will look back on that in years to come and say that that was one of the highlights of my career.

It is something that you think about, probably more at my age then when you are younger. When you are younger you are always looking at F1 - full stop. You look at sportscars as a bit of a stepping-stone to getting there. Fortunately I have done that already and I can come back to Le Mans and really enjoy it.

There are, but then again that's one of the things that makes this project so exciting. We are probably favourites to go and win it but it's not that simple and that's nice because it means that we are going to have grab the thing by the scruff of its neck and make it do the job.

Well it's there but you could say a lot of it is down to the car as well because if it's a bad car then obviously you'll never win whatever you do. But we have got to be able to produce a car that is capable of winning and there is no reason why we can't with the changes that have been made.

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Lister aims for Le Mans glory

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