11th June 2019
Mike Conway will bring the curtain down on his 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season this weekend, as the Brit takes on the most challenging event of the ‘SuperSeason” - the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For the final time this season, Mike will be joining forces in the #7 TOYOTA TS050 HYBRID with Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, as they look to end their campaign on a high. With the Drivers’ Championship still up for grabs, the team will look to overturn a 31-point deficit, with 39 points still to play for at La Sarthe.
The 2018-19 SuperSeason has proved to be another successful campaign for the Prosperity Investment Management-sponsored driver, with a total of five podiums to his name - including two memorable wins at the 6 Hours of Fuji and 6 Hours of Shanghai.
Le Mans represents an unrivalled challenge for car, drivers and team, with all elements needing to work in unison to overcome the difficulties of a unique circuit, varying weather conditions, fatigue and the unpredictable nature of a 24-hour race with 62 cars sharing the 13.626km circuit.
Having already completed some early tests behind the wheel, the #7 car posted a best time 0.809 seconds slower than the #8 sister car, with Mike posting the team’s best time with a time of 3:20.249s.
“It was a nice feeling to do the first laps this morning; that's when it sinks in that the big event is here. The track was dusty to start with but it got better and better. We did various changes on the car to prepare for race week; it felt pretty good. It was also important to get back into a rhythm with the traffic. There are 62 cars on the grid this year so you've got to be alert to avoid losing time.”
Having secured pole position in the previous round in Spa, the #7 car went on to have a sensor issue while leading the race, which dented their hopes of winning in Spa. This meant that Conway would miss out on a podium place for only the second time this season.
Keen to end the season on a high, and to claim his first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory, Mike commented:
“Le Mans is a special race because it is our number one objective and it is what the TS050 HYBRID is designed for. At Le Mans we really get to feel the true speed of our car. Whenever I get in the car, I am counting down the days to the next Le Mans; it is constantly on your mind.
“It is a big, exciting race and it only happens once a year. I love the spirit of Le Mans and I cannot wait to get started this year. It’s the final race of the season too so we want to end on a high.”
The ‘Le Mans week’ encapsulates the spirit and challenge of endurance racing, including a total of close to 35 hours of driving, starting on Wednesday 12 June with a four-hour practice session at 16:00 before two hours of qualifying from 22:00 (CET).
Qualifying then continues on Thursday with two further 120-minute sessions (19:00 & 22:00) and the starting grid is decided by the fastest overall lap from any qualifying sessions. The drivers’ parade in Le Mans city on Friday gives fans a chance to meet the drivers before the race weekend, which begins with a 45-minute warm-up at 09:00.
The race itself starts at 15:00 on Saturday, with the chequered flag flying at the same time on Sunday. The entire race will be broadcast live on Eurosport.