In the latest episode of the official WEC Talk Podcast, Nicki Thiim describes his thoughts on the deferred Le Mans date and what that means for the teams and drivers.
Nicki Thiim has raced for a number of years in the FIA World Endurance Championship in the AMR WEC programme.
Following the fatal accident at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans for Allan Simonsen, Thiim was brought in as a replacement driver in the #95 car for the remainder of the season.
He began driving for the Aston Martin Racing GTE-Am (Vantage GTE) car and was promoted to the GTE-Pro seat for 2015.
As no stranger to success in WEC, he won the World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers’ title in WEC 2016 and has gathered pole positions and wins ever since.
In episode four of the WEC Talk podcast, he talked about such topics as the popularity of sim-racing, becoming a soon-to-be father, and the adjusted Le Mans scheduling.
This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans has originally scheduled for June 13-14, but was moved to September 19-20. This means that rather than around seven hours of darkness, it may be up to 11-12 hours out of the entire race (sunset will be at around 7:30pm and sunrise will be around 7.30am).
“It’s going to be a completely different race than what we are used to seeing,” he said on this matter.
” I am not saying for us (drivers) that the darkness is an issue – it’s more like the (air and track) temperature will be different and some change of weather could come into play,” as Le Mans is set to take place at the beginning of Autumn rather than the beginning of Summer.
“Obviously, rain in the dark is not the easiest conditions to drive in but it’s the same for everyone.”
The amount of practice and testing has also been adjusted, so that there is no official ‘Test Day’ taking place.
“It is unknown but that’s what we like – it’s the racing, it’s (an) unknown part of the competition,” he said.
“All the factors come into play, especially at the biggest race in the world – Le Mans.”
The episode also included the likes of Goodyear’s Motorsport Director, Ben Crawley. He gave an understanding on how the deferred Le Mans date can impact on from the perspective of tyre logistics.
“In September, we may seem some cooler temperatures… and what we could see is one of the quickest Le Mans races in recent history,” he states.
“Typically with cooler temperatures, there is a focus on some of the softer specification tyres,” Ben explains.
He sees “more potential for the tyres to perform to the maximum with shorter and fewer pit stops.”
“By using softer tyres, there is an expectation of faster speeds and so it could (theoretically) be a very fast Le Mans!”