Indian racer Arjun Maini, who was forced to halt his single-seater career this season, will tick off a major motorsport milestone when he competes at the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.
Maini has switched to sports car racing this year but vows to return to single seaters in the near future.
Maini will compete in the LMP2 category, which has 19 other entries, for British team RLR Msport. The 21-year-old will share racing duties with driver John Ferraro and the experienced Frenchman Norman Nato.
At the age of 21, he will also become the youngest Indian ever to contest the race along with legends such as two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, four-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Prilaux, as well as former LeMans winners such as Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and former Formula One race winner Giancarlo Fisichella.
The Bengaluru-based driver is racing in European Le Mans this season. The other Indians who have been part of a Le Mans weekend are Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the biggest races in the year. With over a 150 drivers racing across various classes and a history that dates back to 1923, the race sees a footfall off over 250,000 people during the weekend.
“Competing in one of motorsport’s biggest races is crazy. The atmosphere during testing alone was something special and I can hardly wait for the actual race weekend.
“The biggest challenge I will face is the fact that I will be in the car much longer than in any of my previous races and I hope to be as consistent as possible as this will be key is gaining a good result,” Maini said.
Maini’’s team principal from RLR Msport added, “This weekend is going to be a massive learning experience for Arjun. Coming from single seaters, he’s adapted extremely well in the tests leading up to the race and I fully expect him to be one of the fastest drivers in the LMP2 class come raceday. I’m quite positive about our chances for this weekend as Normal Nato brings a wealth of experience to the team, the synergy between Norman, Arjun and our team’s bronze driver John Ferraro has been exceptional and I hope this carries over to the race weekend.”
Run on the historic Le Sarthe race circuit, which is known for its long back straight where cars can reach over 300 kmph, modern day competitors complete over 5000 kilometers during the 24-hour time period.
With inputs from PTI