Brundle on Le Mans '99

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“I think it’s going to be a good Le Mans,” says Martin Brundle,”and it’s going to be very intense. Toyota needs to win it, because that team’s moving forward into F1. As the reigning F1 champions Mercedes don’t want to be blown off by Toyota. And Gerhard Berger and the Williams crew don’t want to be beaten either”

Quickest for Toyota in pre-qualifying on May 2, Martin’s determined to repeat the success he achieved with Jaguar in 1990.

“Our car performed almost to the fraction of what they told me in terms of lap time and top speed:’ says Martin.”It was the others who surprised me: I expected them to be faster. If they were sandbagging they did a pretty convincing job! There were a few long faces around and a lot of top cars flying off the road.

“I think the Mercedes will be very reliable, although they didn’t show their pace in pre-qualifying.They had a bit of an off day.The BMW looks quite promising. I think the pace will be significantly hotter for them at Le Mans than it was at Sebring, but to get to the end there was no mean feat.

“I’m very confused about Audi’s decision-making process, although the open car looks very nice. Nissan needed to throw away what they had, because that car was old before it started. The new one looks really nice but we’re 18 months into our project and there are still things we’ve got to sort out. You can’t do it in three or four months; they are just dreaming.

“Le Mans is unique in the amount of high speed motoring you do and people get carried away with their performances elsewhere. There are so many things which don’t crop up at other tracks. The fact that we nearly won last year will never cease to amaze me, given the problems that we had leading up to the race.”