Fourteen days before the illustrious 24 Hours of Le Mans, drivers and teams traditionally get together for a ‘dress rehearsal’. In fact, they are required to make an appearance if they want to compete in the real race in mid-June. Last weekend, it was that time of the year again, with Dutch driver Renger van der Zande taking place behind the wheel on behalf of the Lotus LMP2 Team.
Le Mans, 4 June 2012
Van der Zande has been associated with the Lotus LMP2 Team since the start of the World Endurance season. He previously started for Lotus during the test days on the Paul Ricard Circuit, where the drivers also practiced night-time driving. During the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps at the beginning of May, the Dutch all-rounder handed in an impressive performance – reason enough for the team to once again call on Renger for the test day on the Circuit de la Sarthe. These laps were primarily intended to prepare the team for the 24-hour race, and to allow all members of the team to put in the necessary kilometres.
Renger: ‘The nice thing about racing with Le Mans prototypes is the technology. We’re talking about real, high-quality racing cars that both need to be fast and sustainable in terms of performance. And the same applies to the drivers. You have to deliver a strong result as a team. It’s fantastic that I’m allowed to compete in this class, and working together with the Lotus team has been a consistently positive and professional experience.’
‘I’m not sure yet whether I’ll be competing in the actual race in two weeks’ time. After all, the team has only received a starting permit for one car, with a second car on the reserve list. It depends on a number of factors whether they’ll be asking me to drive. For the time being, I’m Lotus’ regular back-up driver, and I’ve fulfilled the requirements made by Le Mans’ organisers as far as track kilometres are concerned.’