Marc Gené's name started to ring in our heads, and we asked him, in fact, at that moment if there was any chance of seeing him sitting in the car. He didn't clarify anything, but it seemed like it was going to happen. Finally, Darren Cox and company confirmed the signing of the driver from Sabadell. The idea was that he would complete the WEC season with Nissan and race this year and next year at Le Mans with the Japanese team. But after the first test and evaluation of the car's technical delays, Marc decided to run as the team's technical advisor for this first Le Mans, with the idea of getting in the car before the end of the season, and prepare for a shot at victory with the GT-R LM Nismo at Le Mans 2016.
As he flew from Canada to France to be in the Nissan pit box at Le Mans this weekend, we had the opportunity to interview him briefly with a few questions regarding the project. The result is below.
Guille. Good morning Marc, first of all thank you for your attention. You have one of the busiest lives in the world of motorsport, working on many fronts at the same time, from Formula 1 to endurance, from there to product sponsorships. How can you keep up such a pace of work and travel?
Marc. It's important to be organized and to always have the year's planning agenda with me. As for juggling family life, even if it's only for half a day, I always stop by the house between trips. I try to spend as much time as possible with my children.
G. Let me come to the heart of the matter at hand, which is Le Mans. You are one of the most experienced drivers in different LMP1 cars in modern times, having driven the Peugeot 908 and also Audi's R18 e-tron. What made you decide to join Nissan now?
M. After my years with Peugeot and Audi, I wanted to finish my career with a challenge and a new project like Nissan.
G. It's clear that Ben Bowlby and Darren Cox, who are the eventual fathers of the project, have seen in you a lot of ability to set up the car and give them experience and knowledge of a race as complicated as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But with your experience with other LMP1 cars, how different is it to drive a GT-R LM Nismo with the engine in front of your feet, sitting so far back and basically with front wheel drive?
M. The handling and visibility are not different, but the sensations are. Especially at the exit of the corners because you feel the front wheel drive. Also on the straights you feel the high top speed due to the low aerodynamic drag of the GTR.
G. Does a car that is fundamentally front-wheel drive give a lot of steering whiplash?
M. When coming out of corners, the GTR has a typical front-wheel drive characteristic called "torque steering". You have to correct the trajectory with the steering.
G. We all know, it's no secret, that this year is a learning year, and next year is when Nissan will really attack the Le Mans victory. It seems that during the development of the car the delays in fitting the final ERS system and the search for reliability have meant that you have arrived at Le Mans very short on time and quite short on performance, focused more on accumulating experience and miles than on shining in the race. Does this have anything to do with your decision to stay on the wall this year instead of driving?
M. Yes, the main reason is that this year we have many issues to solve and together with the team we have considered that the best way to transmit and take advantage of all my experience was from the wall and the box working with the engineers and advising the riders.
G. Will we see you in a WEC race with this car before the end of the year? With a car so focused on a low downforce circuit like Le Mans, it looks like the GT-R LM Nismo will have a hard time on other types of fast cornering tracks...
M. After the Le Mans race we will plan the rest of the season.
G. With a two-year contract, we assume that you will be at the controls at Le Mans 2016, correct?
M. Yes, that's the idea!The return of Alfa Romeo: from the 1900 to the Giulia