24 Hours of Le Mans - Josh Pierson, 16 years of age and ready to go!

24 Hours of Le Mans - Josh Pierson, 16 years of age and ready to go!

American driver Josh Pierson will be 16 years, 3 months, and 25 days old when he takes his seat in the cockpit for his first stint in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The youngest driver the race has ever seen. Not that he is at all fazed!

“It’s something special to get to come at this event and to be a part of history at such a young age but I think I’m ready.”  He certainly seems so. Given his tremendous start to the season with United Autosports USA – two Asian Le Mans Series wins and a class victory at the 1000 miles of Sebring – you could be forgiven for forgetting his youth.

The Portland-born racer has the assurance of an old hand. No doubt because he is! “My confidence came with a bit of time and experience. I’ve been a careful driver and when it comes to a test day I tend to be picking up the pace slowly from the first start, I’m not gonna be the quickest driver right on the spot. Starting at such a young age, I’ve been able to keep building confidence driving cars at a fast pace for my entire life.”

Experience is vital in endurance racing, that’s for sure. But there are advantages to starting early, provided you are willing to listen to your fellows. “I have two experienced teammates [Alex Lynn and Oliver Jarvis], so they’re able to share a lot of tricks and information. It’s surely a difficult form of racing to get into at a young age, but it’s very doable and if you listen properly to what your teammates are saying you can get to a very high level.” Reserve driver Paul Di Resta has played a part in the training. “Paul has been valuable, he played the role of a mentor.”

"I think I’m ready."
Josh Pierson

Being the youngest driver ever to take part in the race puts means the spotlight is often trained on him, but Pierson takes the attention in his stride.“My participation does bring a lot of attention, but it’s really all about me being the youngest. So no bother. In general, it takes a lot of pressure off myself knowing that people don’t have high expectations of me. If I do bad, people will look at it and says that I’m still learning and if I have a good result, people are really impressed so I think it’s a good opportunity either way and it doesn’t add pressure on me.”

When he first took the wheel of an LMP1 in 2021, Pierson accomplished a life goal. Barely a year later, and he is about to reach another milestone: “[...] competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a dream come true in itself. There’s plenty of other things I’d want to do in my career but I have plenty of time to do so, but for now I try to think about the moment.” Judging by his attitude, no doubt he will go into the race with a healthy dose of maturity: “There’s so many things that makes it unique that it’s hard to say one thing that I’m afraid of.”

On Test Day, Pierson completed 41 laps in the #23 Oreca-07, which ranked 8th overall and third in LMP2. A promising start for the American team!


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