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One of India's top motorcar racers, Arjun Maini will compete in the 24 Hours Le Mans Series this weekend. The 21-year-old is the youngest Indian race car driver to be part of the iconic race weekend, and the third Indian, after Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.
Arjun is a member of the RLR MSport Team, and is slated to drive the new Oreca 07 while competing in the endurance LMP2 class. Arjun will compete with 19 other race car drivers at the European Le Mans Series, and will share driving duties with teammates John Ferraro and Norman Nato (comes with Formula 2 Racing experience).
A number of racing legends have participated in the 24 Hours Le Mans Series over the years. These include Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, four time World Touring Car winner Andy Prilaux, Le Mans winners Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani, and Formula 1 race winner Giancario Fisichella.
Speaking about the big weekend for himself, Arjun said, "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. Another interesting aspect with endurance racing is navigating through traffic."
"It's all about risk assessment here, as I need to find the balance between losing time behind a slower car versus gauging if a driver can see me in their mirrors and finding this balance is another crucial aspect to the race. I'm managing my expectations for this race as 24 hours is a very long time in motor racing and anything can happen."
"Obviously I'm looking to do my best and bring in a positive result for both myself and the team, that being said I also want to make the most of this opportunity as it's not every day you get to be a part of a historic race such as this," he added.
The 24 Hours Le Mans Series is one of the biggest and hard core racing events of the calendar year, and has attracted over 150 race car drivers competing in different classes and categories, right from 1923. Over 2.5 lakh people attend the event every year, and the cars are said to cover over 5,000 kilometers during the 24 hours. One of the highlights of the race is the long back straight that allows for the cars to touch speeds in excess of 300kmph.
Arjun's team principal from RLR MSport said, "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 race day."
"I'm quite positive about our chances for this weekend as Norman 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," he added.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on June 15-16 this year.
Thoughts About Arjun Maini Competing At The 24 Hours Le Mans Series
Kudos! Motorsports is slowly but steadily growing in India. We're witnessing a boom in the industry with more people and more manufacturers taking an interest in the sport, and taking a greater interest in nurturing talent from the country.
Congratulations to Arjun Maini, we wish him all the best. We're definitely tuning in to the Series on the weekend.