Le Mans: Fear of minor ailments

Andrew Hopkins

Racing drivers have an easy life: every fortnight or so, they jet around the world, mix with the glamorous set and even get to put their foot down in really fast cars. What could be better than that?

Well, there are a couple of drawbacks, especially if you're competing in the Le Mans 24-hour race. "I'm not going to inflict that on myself again," confided three-times winner Marco Werner to autoblog. So what's the problem? "The cars are now so technologically advanced that you can't really compare their performance with a couple of decades back. Nowadays, we have so much downforce and lateral acceleration that the models we drive are only five or six years behind the current F1 machines in their development. Also, we're driving three hour stints, equivalent to two-and-a-half F1 races. We get a short break and then we're back behind the wheel again. Quite honestly, when you get past the age of fifty, you're not inclined to do that to your body any more because, from 40 onwards, you start to get minor ailments - for example, a hernia last year."