Filipe Albuquerque: “I want to aim for victory in LM P2”

As he celebrates his 38th birthday this Thursday, June 13, we spoke with Filipe Albuquerque in the paddock for the 24 2024 Hours of Le Mans. Engaged in LM P2 Pro-Am with United Autosports, the Portuguese aims for more than this ranking.

Published on 13/06/2024 à 15:39

Valentin GLO

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Filipe Albuquerque: “I want to aim for victory in LM P2”

Filipe Albuquerque - Photo: Marius Hecker / DPPI

Happy birthday Filipe Albuquerque! What can we wish you to celebrate?

THANKS ! What I always want: victory. I have only won once here and it was the year of Covid-19 (in 2020 with Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson. Editor's note) and it is therefore the only time in the last eleven years where I celebrated my birthday at home.

Happy to be once again 24 Hours of Le Mans this year ?

I have always loved Le Mans. I always said I wanted to do this race every year of my career. I've done it so far and I'm happy with it. I'm happy to be here, obviously. I drive a GTP in the United States and it is obvious that I would like to be behind the wheel of a Hypercar here to play the general. I hope it happens soon. There are so many cars it will be interesting to follow. We (the LM P2s. Editor’s note) are still very efficient in the corners of the Porsche and in late braking. Again, I know how they feel in the corners because they are heavier than us. We all have to coexist.

What do you expect from the race?

I think the race will take place in the rain. This should be difficult for everyone. We will have to be careful in some way. Le Mans is a race of survival and it will be even more difficult in these conditions.

Could these conditions cause you problems with having cold tires?

No, in the rain this shouldn't be a problem. Cold rain tires behave much better. Hypercars should be happier, but it's already a challenge to survive in the rain. In the rain, it's even more difficult, with little visibility. You will have to try to avoid problems.

How do you judge the car after the Test Day and the qualifying session?

We were happy with the balance of the car for qualifying. She looked good, but I wasn't very happy heading into the race. We made a change yesterday and it was successful. The more the years go by, the more I know exactly what I need. I got it yesterday, so I'm happy.

The first three LM P2s of the qualifying session are Pro-Am. Do you think a Pro-Am can win the overall category this year?

As I said before, I want to aim for victory in LM P2. Ben Hanley and I have the exact same mentality when we're in a car, we want to be the fastest in our class. It doesn't matter if it's a Pro-Am or a Pro. Under normal conditions, we could have a chance of winning the LM P2 classification. In the rain, this may be more difficult. We have to see under what conditions Ben Keating will enter the track. Visibility is worse when the weather deteriorates and it is much more difficult for a gentleman driver than for a younger Silver with better visual acuity.

It gives you a boost of confidence having won in Detroit in IMSA before coming here after a few slightly more complicated seasons?

I hadn't won in about two years, but I wasn't completely out of the game. We were constantly fighting for wins. The pace was always there, it was just a matter of time as to when it was going to happen.

Nothing official at the moment, but it is rumored that Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti would partner with Cadillac next season in IMSA and that Meyer Shank Racing would make its return with Acura. What is your situation like? Are you under contract with WTRAndretti or Acura?

I have a contract with Wayne Taylor Racing. We have to wait and see what happens. We are halfway through the season and there is still much to do. For now I'm focusing on Le Mans and IMSA.

Is it a disappointment for you to see all these cars in the Hypercar category and not be in it?

A little. Obviously, I would like to drive in the higher category, but there are many great drivers in LM P2, like Louis (Delétraz, his teammate in IMSA. Editor's note). I have an excellent program in the USA. If I hadn't been there, it would be different.

ALSO READ > Albuquerque and Taylor released after victory in Detroit

Valentin GLO

Journalist. Endurance reporter (WEC, IMSA, ELMS, ALMS) and sometimes F1 or IndyCar.

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