Interview

It's hard to put into words. After all the laps of testing and development over the last three years, to finally reach our goal of victory is so special. For me, it's particularly special, as I have seen and been part of the project developing over this time and I've experienced all the ups and downs.

I have done most of the development on this year's car, so it's been 'my baby' to a certain extent and so, to win in this car, and it being the Bentley with all the history that is attached to the marque, the British-ness, the racing green - it's all been absolutely amazing!

I've always hoped to win Le Mans, but I've never let myself believe it, so when it finally happened it's all a bit overwhelming. Even now, over one month later, it's still sinking in. Only now do I realise just what my team mates and I have achieved - and it's the best feeling!

How did your Le Mans victory feel knowing you pipped the other Bentley to the post?

The No.7 car was 99.9% perfect with no problems throughout the whole 24 hours. Unfortunately the other car, No. 8, had one or two small problems that at any other Le Mans, would still have allowed them to win.

But on the day, our car was the best and the team performed at the highest level - we were unbeatable! We set records for both the number of laps completed in the race and the least amount of time spent in the pits - hats off to all the pit crew and support personnel - what a team! To run without problems for the whole 24 hours is remarkable and that's what made the difference at 4pm on Sunday.

What emotions came over you after racing the 377 laps considering how exhausted you must have been?

After the race I felt relief, joy, disbelief and a huge rush of adrenalin. I completed the last two hours of the race with a huge amount of pressure on me to make sure the car got to the chequered flag in one piece and still in the lead and the time seemed to stand still. I was keeping an eye on the clock at the start/finish line and it just seemed to count down so slowly.

When I crossed the finish line at first it was relief to have made it to 4pm and then I realised that I had just won the Le Mans 24 Hour race. I couldn't believe it. I had a gut feeling all race long that we could win, but I wouldn't let myself believe it until the chequered flag and then it was pure joy as I got out of the car and made my way to the podium. And when I climbed on the podium and saw the crowd cheering, it was another adrenalin rush and any tiredness temporarily disappeared.

How did the car handle towards the end of the race?

The car ran 100% all race long - it was still possible to put in laps as fast in the 24th hour as it was in the first hour - an awesome car!

How do you prepare before an endurance race such as Le Mans?

It's very important to feel calm and relaxed before a big event, which you know is going to be very stressful. Tom, Dindo (Guy's team mates), Jo Hausner (engineer) and myself jogged the circuit and chatted on the Tuesday evening before the race. There was a great sense of calm in the pit all week long, which helped everyone and it's not easy to create this ambience and relaxed environment. It put us all at our ease and made the race feel like a 24 hour test session.

Walter Brun who raced against you in Le Mans this year was 60. Where would you like to be at his age?

Relaxing on a beach on my own island!

I would like to feel as though I had done my best in my career whether that is in single seaters or sportscars. I would love to be up there with the Le Mans greats - Ickx, Bell and co - which would be a great achievement, but I would also love to have a crack at the Indy 500 and to have a shot at Formula One. But whatever happens, at least I can tell my grandchildren that I won that little, but very long, race in France.

What's your next goal?

Winning Le Mans doesn't diminish your drive to win again, in fact I think I'm now even more driven - I now want to win back-to-back Le Mans titles. And to top this, I'd like to win the Indy 500 in the same year as winning Le Mans.

What was the major turning point in your career that got you to where you are now?

There's no one specific event which changed my life as such, but it was definitely my time in the USA which honed my racecraft skills, matured my driving and moulded me into a better racer than I was before I went there.

What and why is your favourite car to drive, from all the various classes and championships you have participated in?

It has to be the Bentley Speed 8. It's fast, beautiful - and a winner!

What are your plans for your career in the long term?

It's very difficult to map out a future in motorsport. In an ideal world, I'd like to negotiate a test driver role with one of the F1 teams and then move into a race seat, but as we all know there's only 20 race seats and many more talented race drivers than that, all vying for these few places on the grid at the pinnacle of our sport. But that doesn't mean to say that I'm not reaching to the top. I just know that you must always keep your options open. I'm happy to be driving professionally in good cars and as long as I can keep doing that each year and progressing up the ladder, I'll get where I want to go.

What advice would you give to young drivers who would love to end up in your position?

I'd say that you must work hard, then harder again and never ever give up - you never know just what is around the corner!

How does your training program make a difference to your driving?

It makes a tremendous difference and is absolutely essential when your driving at the top level. You feel fitter, your mind is sharp, you have the energy to endure long driving stints. You need to have stamina for a race such as Le Mans, so the fitter you are, the easier it is to sustain the pressures put on you. These pressures are physical and mental - especially when you're just a few laps from the end of Le Mans 24 hour race and you're in the lead!

Best Wishes

Guy