We talked with David Zollinger during Scrutineering on Monday 10 June.
"I am a motorsport trainer and have my own training centre (Driving Koncept, Ed.). I'm heading into my third participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans after 2010 with a Norma LMP2 and 2017 with IDEC SPORT Racing's Ligier. This year, I've had the opportunity to join Algarve Pro Racing (#25 ORECA 07, Ed.) with John Falb and Andrea Pizzitola just for this race as I'm replacing Mark Patterson who was injured at Monza."
He shares his thoughts on his first two participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"My first participation was difficult because I didn't even get a chance to hit the track after one of my teammates had an accident. So it was cut short for me. On the other hand, things went well in 2017 with Patrice and Paul Lafargue, and we finished 12th overall and 10th in LMP2. It was a wonderful week, a great expérience, and I'm hoping for the same this year, all while still learning about racing at Le Mans. It is of course a very unique race, very different from what you're used to doing. I'm here to have fun, get better and become as much like Andrea as possible as he drives the car regularly."
At his training centre, there are no LMP2s, just single-seaters (Formula Ford, Formula Renault 2.0), touring cars (Caterham, Porsche Carrera Cup) and a Norma M20FC prototype. The latter is the closest thing to the LMP2 he drives at Le Mans. He sees gentlemen-drivers every day in his line of work, advises them, examines their telemetry results, corrects their weaknesses and helps them improve in all areas of the discipline (trajectories, braking, exiting turns, etc.). At Le Mans, the shoe is on the other foot.
"Indeed, this week I'm more the student. It's not the same. The cars are completely different than what I'm used to driving. Getting in one every two years tends to move you. So, you have to approach it with humility and give yourself time to understand it all, start the car up and work every time you hit the track to end the week well. It's the speed that is so contrasting from my daily experience. Here, you're going faster than 300 kph the whole time, you have carbon brakes, it feels entirely different."
PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), DOWNTOWN LE MANS, SCRUTINEERING 2019. David Zollinger has come to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with two goals: drive well and learn more.