24 Hours of Le Mans – David Heinemeier Hansson eyeing LMP2 win

24 Hours of Le Mans – David Heinemeier Hansson eyeing LMP2 win

David Heinemeier Hansson will be taking his eighth start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year (Jackie Chan DC Racing's #37 Ligier JS P217 with Jordan King and Ricky Taylor). The 2014 LMGTE Am class winner (Aston Martin Vantage GTE with Kristian Poulsen and Nicki Thiim) has a score to settle. After being disqualified in 2017 and forced to retire for the first time in 2018, now he's going after victory.

David Heinemeier Hansson joining the Jackie Chan DC Racing team for the second year in a row at Le Mans has given the Danish driver some stability. This web developer, author and racing driver has accumulated a string of participations in the 24 Hours with the likes of Aston Martin Racing, Oak Racing, Vaillante Rebellion and Extreme Speed Motorsports.

Is there an advantage to doing the race with the same team?

 "It's great to be working under the DC Racing banner again, but everything beneath the banner is actually different! It's a different chassis (now an ORECA 07 rather than a Ligier JS P217, Ed.) and a different technical team (OAK Racing in 2018, now JOTA Sport, Ed.), so in that sense, it's like it usually is for me when I show up to Le Mans, new car, new team." 

The author of several books on working methods and organisation, including the excellent "It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work," Hansson always pays great attention to details. As a gentlemen-driver, he never leaves anything to chance and never stops striving to improve.

As an advocate for avoiding too much time in the office and quality of work over quantity, do you follow your own advice?

"There's a big but subtle difference between wanting to be good at something and to work 'hard' at something. I don't actually believe in working hard, in the traditional sense of just pouring in all my waking hours. I don't do that in business and I don't do that in racing. It's so easy to convince yourself in either domain that you deserve the trophy just because you put in the effort, but the world doesn't work like that. The world is full of people who worked very, very hard, but were left with nothing to show for it. A lot of stories about effort are stories that the winners tell themselves and others because it's the easy story to tell."

Hansson knows the joy of victory very well. In 2014 with Aston Martin, he secured a symbolic and emotional win in LMGTE AM with two Danish teammates, a moving tribute to Allan Simonsen who had passed away the year before. In 2017, Hansson won the LMP2 class, but his car was disqualified the day after the race (the Vaillante Rebellion team had modified the rear of the car body by making a hole to access the defective starter to "hit" and start the car at each pit stop).

Is it still difficult to deal with? 

"2017 was particularly frustrating since the mess that happened was mostly concerning actions taken after the race, without our knowledge as drivers. But another year is another chance. And with our team, car and line-up, we have as good a chance at making it to the top step as any year I've competed at this event."

What will be key at this 2019 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans? In a packed LMP2 class, with 20 entrants, what are your thoughts on the upcoming race?

"I would have thought that we were deep enough into the chassis cycle that all teams had the car figured out, such that it would be more of a sprint race. But last year proved that wrong. So many teams had mechanical issues or were caught outside the regulations. So it's hard to tell! We're certainly going to do what everyone always say they'll do before life and Le Mans gets in the way of well-laid plans: go fast and don't crash."

On the heels of his win at the 1000 Miles of Sebring in March, can Hansson clinch a second major victory in 2019 and become a multiple class winner? 


PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES DU MANS, 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SUNDAY 2 JUNE 2019, TEST DAY. David Heinemeier Hansson will be competing in the LMP2 class he hopes to win after his 2014 victory in LMGTE Am.