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.

shares
comments
Lister aims for Le Mans glory

Previous article

Lister aims for Le Mans glory

Next article

Three Ferrari 550s in, Morgan out

Three Ferrari 550s in, Morgan out
Load comments
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
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 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
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

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

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021