24 Heures du Mans debut awaits Louis

Louis Delétraz will make his 24 Heures du Mans debut this weekend – and the 23-year-old has a clear target as he heads into one of the biggest races in the world: victory.

Louis arrives as the Circuit de La Sarthe fresh from a double Formula 2 podium at Mugello in Italy, and will be making his LMP1 racing debut with the Swiss Rebellion Racing squad. He will partner French duo Romain Dumas and Nathanaël Berthon in the #3 Rebellion R13 – Gibson chassis.

Having successfully completed three days of testing to prepare for this weekend’s French classic – which was first run in 1923, Louis is relishing the chance to test his endurance racing skills at the highest level.

“I’m so happy to be here,” he said. “It’s always been a dream to take part in this race. And to make my LMP1 debut with a Swiss team and to be fighting for a potential win, I really couldn’t be in a better position. I can’t wait to get things started.”

This year’s 24 Heures du Mans will be closed to spectators and is getting underway three months later than normal, due to the global pandemic.

Being held in the Autumn rather than the Summer brings a different challenge for all the drivers – most notably a significant increase in the amount of driving in darkness.

“The calculation is that there will be 3h 40m of extra driving in the dark this year because we’re racing in September,” Louis explained. “I’ve done a lot of laps in the dark during testing and I’m totally fine with that. It’s actually really exhilarating because things come at you much faster than they do in the daylight.

“The Rebellion is one of the best cars I’ve ever driven in my life. It’s super high speed, has mega grip and there is no tyre deg at all. What’s not to like! You can really push.”

Louis faces a busy on- and off-track programme in the run up to the start of the race at 14.30 CET on Saturday. His team will have six hours of free practice on Thursday before qualifying gets underway at 17.15 that afternoon. Once that’s complete, there is another four hours of night practice on Thursday.

Friday consists of a one-hour free practice session before a 30-minute ‘Hyperpole’ session starts at 11.30. A 15-minute warm-up session at 10.30 on Saturday will precede the race start that afternoon.

“There will be some really long days, but I’m definitely not complaining,” Louis said. “This will be my 11th race event in 12 weeks, so I’m having the time of my life.

“I’ve been given a fantastic opportunity to represent a team from my homeland and to drive one of the best privateer cars on the grid that has taken a podium at Le Mans before. That’s a massive honour and I’m so grateful to Rebellion Racing for this experience.

“I want to repay them in the best way I can. We’re going there because we want to win and we’ll try everything to try and do that. The aim is to do a perfect race with no mistakes and then we’ll see where we are.”