As usual on the Tuesday before the race, the pit lane was open to fans for the traditional autograph session. While the mechanics work on the #11 BR1-AER, a crowd amasses in front of the SMP Racing garage. All smiles, Vandoorne signs posters, photo albums and miniature helmets.
With three days to go, he oozes confidence. “There’s no point getting stressed. The pressure is gradually mounting but that’s part of the job." Unruffled, yet surprised: "This is the longest autograph session of my life! In Formula E there is not so much contact with fans. In Formula E it’s totally different. The race doesn’t last all day. Basically, you turn up, you race and you leave. I’m enjoying spending time with spectators."
Yet, the fortnight before the race is a busy one for most drivers. And this one is no exception. He escaped from the circuit for a few hours for a simulator session with Mercedes. Then a quick trip back to Germany for a media day with his Formula E team. But the schedule doesn’t bother him. "It comes with the job. It’s amazing to see so many people already here, several days before the race. I imagine the atmosphere at the circuit will be very crowded, like a festival. I’m looking forward to it."
Vandoorne wouldn’t say no to being first in the car, but there is no official team decision yet. He did the start at Spa-Francorchamps and would relish the chance to be at the wheel at 15:00 on Saturday.
PHOTOS - LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES DU MANS, AUTOGRAPH SESSION, TUESDAY 12 JUNE 2019. A relaxed Stoffel Vandoorne soaks up the magic of Le Mans.