24 Hours of Le Mans – Marcel Fässler (Corvette): Lucky 13

24 Hours of Le Mans – Marcel Fässler (Corvette): Lucky 13

Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner with Audi (2011, 2012 and 2014), Marcel Fässler is now competing in the grand touring class with Corvette. As he prepares for his thirteenth attempt, the Swiss hopes that lady luck will smile on him once again.

What are your recollections of your first 24 Hours of Le Mans 12 years ago?
I was already 30 years old and thought I knew Le Mans because, ten years earlier, I was at the Elf Academy [the predecessor of the FFSA Academy]. I was stunned when I came back. I no longer recognised the circuit, the city centre streets… it wasn’t the same place! It is so different during 24 Hours race week. I immediately fell in love with the race and its unique atmosphere. As for the rest, I remember it was a very hot race. Our Oreca Swiss Spirit was lying fourth before its gearbox gave up.

"I love qualifying!"
Marcel Fässler

What’s your best memory here?
The first win is always the best one but each one is special in its own way as the scenario that ends up with a team being top of the podium is never the same.

And your worst?
I had the biggest crash of my life during the night in 2008, when I hit the tyre wall at the Pont turn in reverse at 180 kph. I was unconscious for a few minutes. There is no footage and no-one knows really what happened. In fact, I can’t really say that it’s my worst memory... I can’t remember a thing!

What’s your favourite moment at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
I love qualifying!

And your least favourite?
The two hours leading up to the start. I hate it! I’m so nervous I can’t even eat.

"I’ll put it to rights this year!"
Marcel Fässler

What’s the secret to winning at Le Mans?
The three drivers should not try and prove anything to the other two or do too much or take pointless risks. And it’s very difficult for a young driver to take this on board. That’s why experience is a great advantage here.

Is it much different driving a GT compared to a prototype?
The straights seem much longer. You have to keep an eye on your mirrors whereas in LMP1, you never look at them. But with the rear camera and the radar sensors, it’s not that complicated. I have the added bonus of having driven in LMP1, so I know how to anticipate the moves of faster cars.

In GT, you have won the 24 Hours of Daytona (GTLM), the 24 Hours of Spa (GT1), the 24 Hours of Nürburgring (GT3), the 12 Hours of Sebring (GTLM)… you’re just missing Le Mans!
I led here in 2009, in a Corvette too. I’ll put it to rights this year!