Norman Nato: “This is my most complicated Le Mans that I have done so far”

Norman Nato went through all the emotions this week: from the apprehension of a withdrawal on Wednesday evening to the victory in the private Hypercars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this Sunday, the Cannes resident looks back on his experience with JOTA.

Published on 16/06/2024 à 18:32

Dorian Grangier

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Norman Nato: “This is my most complicated Le Mans that I have done so far”

© Marcel Wulf / DPPI

Norman, did you finish in 8th place after a very eventful week? What is your first feeling there, after arrival?

The work of the team, honestly, because there was a chance at one point that we weren't even at the start. With all the preparation, the additional tests that went well. We were on pace in the end. You never know when you leave with a car that has been 100% rebuilt where normally it takes them two weeks to do it and here, they did it in 24 hours! We knew it wasn't going to be perfect and it was: we lacked pace, we had a problem with top speed throughout the race. We really struggled with that and at Le Mans, especially, it doesn't help. But honestly, that was secondary. In any case, we said to ourselves that we had to fight, reach the finish line, score points and that's what we did. Honestly, that's what I remember. A big thank you to the mechanics and the whole team so that we could start and in the end still have a great race.

You were talking about the top speed, the Porsche Officials also encountered this problem…

Afterwards, it depends on who you compare yourself to with aspirations. Honestly the pace was pretty good but as usual we are never the fastest but we are always on pace. And honestly, before the accident, we were well on racing pace. So it's certain that the car was not assembled as it would have been necessary to go for a 24-hour race. Already, what they managed to do is a miracle, but we knew there were going to be compromises. The shakedown at the airfield, the 15-minute warm-up in the morning, you don't have time to do anything. We made do with what we could, we just tried to take our chances. We said to ourselves that if there were any incidents, we should not make a mistake and we would bring [the car] back. Honestly, still happy to be at the finish because it's my Le Mans the most complicated one I've done so far.

To talk about the settings again, were you able to transpose the setup of the car you had before the accident onto the new one?

We didn't try to understand. Before it hit, we were fast and we were all pretty comfortable in the car. On Thursday, the fact that we missed some laps, it wasn't the end of the world in terms of driving, but before my first stint, the last time I drove in the car was on Wednesday. evening. Obviously, when I go racing on cold tires (…) I have no risk. We weren't 100%, because we still had all that in mind and in the end, it would still have been a shame to make a mistake in these conditions. It's a beautiful story in the end, I think.

In your opinion, it was the right choice to neutralize the race with the conditions?

The problem is that there is zero visibility, aquaplaning. There, you have a one in two chance that there will be a big crash. And then, at night, if it hits, there's a car that gets in the way, there's no more light. Honestly, I think they managed it really well. Compared to previous years, I also find that they managed well in terms of the fact that they got back into rhythm with the Safety Car step by step, so that we evacuated a little bit of the water, that we regained the temperature in the tires. And in the end, it went very well that I think a year ago, we had been relaunched, it was borderline, from a point of view. There, honestly, I think they managed it really well. Congratulations to everyone. Thanks also to the commissioners.

The somewhat complicated start of the car, is it due to the fact that it was assembled at the last minute?

When you are a driver, when you go on a 24-hour race, on cold tires, you don't know exactly what you have in your hands. We didn't test it, we barely drove it. In the end, [Will Stevens] tried to do the best he could. And what is the problem? When you have the drivers around who are driving at 110%, when you are driving at 90%, at that level, you lose places.

The somewhat complicated start of the car, is it due to the fact that it was assembled at the last minute?

When you're a driver, you go on a 24-hour race, you're on cold tires, you don't know exactly what you have in your hands. We didn't test it, we barely drove it. In the end, [Will Stevens] tried to do the best he could. And what is the problem? When you have the drivers around who are driving at 110%, when you are driving at 90%, at that level, you lose places.

Comments collected by Valentin Glo

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Dorian Grangier

A young journalist nostalgic for the motorsport of yesteryear. Raised on the exploits of Sébastien Loeb and Fernando Alonso.

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