Bob Neville : We take an entire spare car with us.


Racing for 24 hours in one of the most competitive championships in the world is a daunting challenge, to say the least. But how do you prepare for such a challenge. Is it true what they say, that it’s all about good preparation? We asked RJN Nissan’s Bob Neville



Bob Neville : We take an entire spare car with us.

Bob, preparing for a 24 hour race must be an impossible task. When do you start all the preparations?


As soon as the flag comes down on the previous year’s race (laughs). Right after the flag dropped on the 2017 edition, we already started thinking about the logistics for this year. Trivial details like booking all our hotel rooms, for instance, are actually super important to do one year ahead.  Otherwise they’ll all be fully booked if you only start looking after the race in Paul Ricard. The rest of the preparations are pretty similar to all the other races.


Do the cars get a different treatment after the race?


Slightly different, yes. They go through the same disassemble and assemble process as always. We just need to replace a lot more parts on them. Both cars get a new engine, for example, and every part is quadruple checked. Then at the official test at the start of July, we’ll run the engines in and do all the checks.




Bob Neville : We take an entire spare car with us.

How do you prepare yourselves as a team-owner. Do you stay up for the entire 24h?


I just try to be well-rested before the race. For the last race, I stayed up for 36 hours but this year I think I might get some sleep. The hardest job in the box this weekend is for the people who run the cars, the engineers at the side of the pit wall. They stay up all night and follow the cars so closely -  even toilet stops are done in a hurry.


How many spare parts do you take with you?


Obviously the longer the race, the more spares we need. Last year we took an entire spare car. Not in one piece but in various parts and pieces. Which was a good decision at the time because we needed almost the entire car after a big crash at the Radillion.




Bob Neville : We take an entire spare car with us.

Do you take a bigger crew for the 24-hours than any other race?


Yes, first of all, for our silver cup car we’ve drafted in an extra driver in order to give the other drivers a bit more rest. The drivers on this car haven’t done as many 24 hour races as the drivers on the #23 car. You need more people all round, even for the catering. This year we’re up to about 35 people.


How involved is Japan in this race? How much factory support is there from Nismo?


We’re a customer team, and that should mean we work pretty much independently. But we’re also a customer-partnered team. That means we get more support than average from the factory. There are a few engineers flying over from Japan as the #23 car is a brand new, 2018 specification model. They like to keep an eye on it and they want to see how it will perform for 24 hours.


Any predictions for this year?


Well that’s always difficult. We’re definitely in contention for the silver cup. For outright victory, we’re only got one pro car. That means our chances are lower than if we had two pro cars.




Bob Neville : We take an entire spare car with us.

Pictures credit : @Frederik Herregods @Nissan

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