David Heinemeier Hansson

March 11, 2022

Back to Le Mans

The 90th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is back to it's pre-pandemic schedule, and will be held June 11-12, complete with the traditional scrutineering of the cars in the city center. I'll be participating in the #43 Inter Europe Competition LMP2 car running under the Polish flag alongside team mates Fabio Scherer from Switzerland and Pietro Fittipaldi from Brazil. This is what our car will look like:

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I actually thought I was going to hang up the helmet after the pandemic. When we finished 2nd at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2020, it felt like the magic was gone. That the portal to the pure state of flow had been closed. That shutting the cockpit door no longer kept the world out and the focus in. And then why was I still here?

But sometimes all you need is a break. I'd been racing at a high level without a pause for about a decade. Most of those years traveling around the globe for the World Endurance Championship, easily spending a quarter of the year on the go.

It may sound glamorous, but the reality is that you rarely get to see much outside the track when traveling for racing. Except for a few particularly wonderful times in Japan with the family, it was mostly just airport-hotel-track-hotel-airport trips. So the racing itself really has to provide the draw.

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After Sebring, there was no draw. Just weary. I had my fill, or so I thought. I skipped Le Mans that year too, after having gone for eight years straight since 2012. It felt fine. The race even seemed alien without the hundreds of thousands of fans usually there. It almost felt like a virtual event.

I didn't give racing much thought after that. Until Le Mans 2021. Ugh. Suddenly the draw was back. It was still an odd atmosphere, but that somehow didn't seem to matter as much. I really missed being on that grid. Missed Tertre Rouge, Indianapolis, Mulsanne, Porsche Curves, and all the famous corners on this epic track.

The truth is that racing for me was always about Le Mans. It's by far and away my favorite track in the world. After close to a thousand laps over the years, it still pulls like nothing else. It's the only track in the world that I can spend hours driving on a simulator all by myself without getting bored. It's simply sublime.

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So when an old team mate reached out at the end of last year with a potential program for 2022, it lit the spark, and the hunt for the best seat with the most promising line-up in a competitive car was on. And that #43 combo delivered all that.

In addition to Le Mans, we'll be competing in the European Le Mans Series. Going to classic tracks like Monza and Spa. It's not going to be an easy time. In the series, we'll have 16 competitors in our class, and at Le Mans, a record-breaking 26.

Though going there for the ninth time, after the class win with Aston Martin in 2014, finishing on the podium in four out of eight appearances, there's nothing to prove. Which of course means we'll be throwing everything at it to win!

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A month ago, I drove a proper race car in pre-season testing for the first time in almost a year and a half. After the first ten laps, I thought, shit, I've made a mistake. I've totally lost the feel. But then snap, the brain acclimates, and after four hours of pounding around the Portimão track in the Portuguese sun, the world had once again been completely isolated to outside the cockpit, the flow state was constant, and the smile couldn't be wider.

Let's go Le Mans.