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Thursday, July 25, 2024

No “level to show” for Aitken after 2023 race-defining Le Mans crash

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Aitken is participating within the World Endurance Championship traditional for the third time, having contested it with the LMP2 Algarve Professional Racing squad in 2022 earlier than becoming a member of the Motion Categorical Racing (rebranded Whelen Engineering Racing at Le Mans) Cadillac squad in IMSA.

He was on the wheel for the race begin at Circuit de la Sarthe final 12 months. Nevertheless, he was caught out by the damp observe on the Daytona chicane on the very first lap and hit the wall.

Though the injury was not terminal, restore work was wanted; Aitken and team-mates Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims then misplaced 11 laps and any hopes of a podium end.

One 12 months on, the British driver is eager to repay his staff’s belief with none knee-jerk response.

“I am probably not going to come back into this Le Mans trying to change something,” he advised Autosport.

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“After final 12 months, I went by way of all the pieces a billion occasions – as you’d.

“In the long run, I am simply making an attempt to do the most effective job I can, and I barely overstepped. However I do not assume that I drove like an fool.

“I am fortunate that I’ve the help of the Cadillac crew. They’re all behind me, they usually do not imagine I want to vary something main both.

“The worst factor could be to come back into this 12 months’s race – whether or not I begin the race, or Pipo, or Felipe – to come back in with a degree to show, as a result of that is whenever you make extra errors.”

Injury on the #311 in 2023.

Picture by: Nikolaz Godet

Aitken is especially grateful that his staff didn’t lose religion in him after his “actually heartbreaking” error.

“I would not have blamed them in any respect if they’d, however they seem to be a improbable group of individuals,” he praised. “And even when it hurts, they know that they make errors generally as effectively, they usually did not maintain it in opposition to me.

“If I do it a second time, they most likely are free to kick me round a bit and name me all of the names. That is the distinction: you be taught from the error, you do not do it once more and you progress on.”

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A winner on the Sebring IMSA spherical final 12 months, Aitken began the 2024 marketing campaign in convincing vogue alongside Derani, with the duo taking three pole positions and as many second locations in 5 occasions.

This provides him “confidence in [his] capability” and he definitely would not lack ambition forward of a Le Mans race he and team-mates Derani and Felipe Drugovich will begin from 18th within the #311 Cadillac V-Sequence.R.

“I am dreaming of a podium,” Aitken admitted. “A prime step just isn’t out of query.

“Something can occur, and I do not assume till the primary couple of stints occur within the race – that is after we get the clear image of the race. Even in qualifying, it is by no means fairly the identical.

“I will be crossing my fingers that Saturday afternoon we present good tempo, after which that might be recreation on.”

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