Press materials / Pictured: Inter Europol
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the oldest endurance race in the world. It has been organized since 1923 near Le Mans in France. Over the years, the event has gained immense prestige, and fans are eagerly awaiting it. Due to the possibility of crowd acceptance in the stands, this year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been pushed back to the end of August.
This year, the race will undoubtedly be of great interest to fans from Poland. All thanks to starter Robert Kubica, who volunteered to compete with the Belgian WRT team. However, fans on the Vistula River must keep their fingers crossed for the Inter Europol competition team. This is the first and only Polish team in history to face Le Mans 24 Hours for the third time.
Even the moment of sleep is difficult
This year, the Inter Europol competition team at 24h Le Mans will consist of Jakub Śmiechowski, Alex Brundle (Great Britain) and Renger van der Zande (Netherlands). Śmiechowski has been associated with the Polish team since its inception. It debuted in its colors in the European Le Mans series or the Asian Le Mans series.
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Śmiechowski makes no secret that competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a difficult endeavor for drivers. – It seems to me that the hardest part for a driver is being able to give 100% of himself. For a full 24 hours. Even the moment of falling asleep is a challenge due to the amount of adrenaline the body produces. At the same time, you want to know what’s happening to your car and try to rest because the race is too long, he says.
The competition is held at La Sarthe, one of the longest races in the world. The complete race loop is over 13.5 kilometres. It consists largely of local roads with normal traffic outside of racing on weekends. In addition, it often rains in the area, which does not make driving difficult, especially after dark.
– Of course we feel pressure. We are the first Polish team to race in WEC. Each of our results will be a determining factor for the future beginnings of other representatives of our country, so we want to set the standards as high as possible – declares Śmiechowski.
Ambitious plans for the Polish team
The beginnings of the Inter Europol competition date back to 2010. The team gradually raised the bar, prompting them to appear in the starting list of the world’s most famous endurance race.
– We’ve won the Le Mans Asian Series and for three years in a row we have been able to take second place in the European Le Mans Series – comments Śmiechowski. At ELMS, although in the Belgian WRT colors of course, we can currently see Robert Kubica.
The Poles also started at the WEC World Championship, where they can also boast of good results, incl. Fifth place in a round of the Belgian circuit Spa-Francorchamps. It is difficult for me to choose the greatest achievement because I am very proud of even the smallest of successes – says Śmiechowski.
Where did the idea to face the 24 Hours of Le Mans come from? This is a result of the team’s evolution over the years. At the end of 2015 we faced a difficult choice. We had to decide in which direction we wanted to go – the Polish driver reveals.
– Unique long distance races. Here the team is really important, and each of its members is important and contributes to the win. We knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be easy, but we were always, and still are, very excited about this challenge – summarizing ecmiechowski.
The fact that Robert Kubica will face the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year is paradoxically good news for Inter Europol. Although a serious competitor has arrived for the Polish national team, it is also an opportunity to reach new fans in our country. So far, long-distance racing has not aroused such interest to us, as Formula 1. Meanwhile, the cult competition around the world can be watched by more than 110 million viewers in 190 countries.
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Robert Kubica Car Racing Motorsport 24h Le Mans European Le Mans Series WRT Inter Europol Competition Jakub Śmiechowski