HENRI PESCAROLO: FOR ME, CARS ARE ABOUT FREEDOM.

12.07.2018

If there’s one man whose name is synonymous with the 24 hours of Le Mans, it’s Herni Pescarolo. The Frenchman has taken part in no less than 33 24 hours at Le Mans, stepped onto the podium four times and took two other class wins. And when his racing career was over, he started his own team: Pescarolo Sport. So if you want to know anything about Le Mans, Henri is the one to ask.

 

 

 

HENRI PESCAROLO: FOR ME, CARS ARE ABOUT FREEDOM.

Henri, you are the best person to ask. How has Le Mans evolved for you over the years?

 

The evolution has been incredible when you look at the cars I drove thirty-forty years ago. And if you look at the grid today, the level of technology is fantastic. When I had my own team we were also looking at the aerodynamics, but the level they are at today is unreal. And luckily it’s also a lot safer today.

 

Speaking of safety, you may be one of the few drivers to have experience of both circuits before and after the chicanes. Are they an improvement?

 

Although the chicanes on the Muslanne straight are there for safety reasons, I still think it’s a shame. The Mulsanne straight was a mythical place, with cars easily hitting 370km/h and sometimes even passing the 400km/h mark on what is essentially a local road. It was just astonishing. So by adding the chicanes to it to slow the cars down, the ACO has removed some of the mythology around Le Mans.

 

 

 

HENRI PESCAROLO: FOR ME, CARS ARE ABOUT FREEDOM.

We’re here at Le Mans Classic, with an incredible number of cars on display, and many of them have your name on the door. How does that feel?

 

It’s amazing to see all the cars here. There are indeed quite a few cars here that I was involved with and that brings back all the memories. I even got to drive my own Pescarolo 01 prototype (now owned by Onroak automotive, who acquired the parts from Pescarolo Sport). What an incredible machine. Back when I ran the team at Le Mans and developed the car, I never had much chance to drive it and certainly not at Le Mans, so it was an incredible moment for me.

 

We started by talking about evolution. How do you see motorsport evolving in the future?

 

I think we’re on the wrong path at the moment. Everyone is investing in electric cars but I don’t think that’s the best solution. For me cars are all about freedom. Freedom is not a range of 300-400km. I want to wake up in Paris and drive to Monaco or Saint-Tropez and with an electrical car that’s impossible. It’s difficult in motorsport too. I believe the future is in hydrogen and until then I don’t see the regular combustion engine going away before we have hydrogen figured out.

 

 

 

HENRI PESCAROLO: FOR ME, CARS ARE ABOUT FREEDOM.

Finally, what would you say to a young driver wanting to make a career at Le Mans and in endurance racing in general?

 

It’s hard nowadays. I mean, back when I was driving and running my team, I got paid or I would pay my drivers. You just needed to be fast and consistent. But nowadays that’s not enough. Most drivers have to contribute a budget of their own. So young drivers have to be smart and find a way to secure a budget for a seat in a decent car. Unfortunately that’s the biggest challenge now. There are so many fast drivers that are unable to find a budget and that’s a shame.

 

 

 

HENRI PESCAROLO: FOR ME, CARS ARE ABOUT FREEDOM.

Pictures copyright : @Frederik Herregods & @Pescarolo Sport 

 

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