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PHIL HANSON: 2020 LE MANS 24 HOUR PREVIEW

Phil competes at Le Mans for the fifth time.

His début was in 2016, his first season in car racing after karts, contesting GT3 in the Michelin Road to Le Mans. 2017 (Tockwith) and 2018 & 2019 (United Autosports) saw Phil race in LMP2 (Ligier JS P2) with a best fourth-place finish (2019).

Since August 2019, Phil has raced an Oreca for United.

In the subsequent 12 races (WEC/ELMS), his #22 car has achieved 10 LMP2 podiums including six victories and three fastest laps for Phil.

The 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, marks Phil’s 53rd car race in total and 37th in an LMP2.

Phil and Filipe Albuquerque currently lead the European Le Mans Series after winning the last two races.

Phil and Filipe Albuquerque currently lead the FIA World Endurance Championship after winning the last three races.

Phil Hanson (GB): Born: London, England. Aged 21.

“Every year I feel like I am getting stronger. I have had a lot of recent success in 4 and 6 hour races which is the result of a combination of many different aspects. I think now I am at a very competitive level – I’m with a very good team in United Autosports, the Oreca is ultra-competitive, and these elements added to finding a good set-up strategy and having very good team-mates, are proving successful. These factors make me feel more confident and optimistic about Le Mans this year, especially having shown the pace, performance and strength of the team and myself, we can only hope to improve on last year’s fourth place.

“Heading to Le Mans off the back of our latest win at Paul Ricard, is great because it was a very strong performance from myself in the car in very difficult circumstances. I think it was the perfect preparation for Le Mans because there will be up to 4 hours more darkness compared to the traditional race date in June and typically the weather is likely to be a bit rougher as well. I think Ricard was the toughest race I’ve ever driven. At the point of being out on a wet track on slick tyres, it doesn’t get much more difficult to manage.

“So that was a good test for something that could quite easily happen at Le Mans. With my experience at Le Mans, it’s a bit of a boost knowing that I am confident in those conditions and I can do the job if and when such things present themselves which is a factor especially at a track like Le Mans where you don’t want to make a single mistake. Le Mans is in many ways a lottery, throwing a few more variables in there. With the race being held with up to 4 hours more in darkness, will only make it more of a spectacle, as well as the LMP2 field and level of competition having grown and looking stronger yet again.

“There will be a lot of subtle differences at Le Mans this year not least of which is the fact that it’ll be run behind closed doors which is a great shame but the correct decision in these troubled times. It’s going to be strange not having the Drivers’ Parade on the Friday in the town centre. This year will be even tougher for the mechanics and other team members than it is going to be for me. When I look at the schedule and see 8 hours of testing straight into a 24 Hour race I think of the mechanics and all the guys that are going to be doing late hours to get the car prepped and ready for the actual 24 Hour race.”

Source. Phil Hanson

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