“It is exciting to to know what the future could hold. But for me, it’s very much focused on the present and what I can do now.”
Co-driver Jarvis told Motor Sport that he’s been impressed by how Pierson has taken this season in his stride and at the pace he’s developing as a driver.
As an amateur under 30, Pierson is currently classed as a silver driver alongside his top-level platinum team-mates.
The 16-year-old says that his success relies just as much on his approach to racing as it does on talent: “I’m still working on speed and skill but I’m a very level-headed kid. I’ve always been that way and I’m very calm under pressure. So I tend to do well in scenarios where I think most people might might crack.
“That’s something that my engineer can tie in to strategy. At Sebring, the triple stint was something that was very difficult to do and the other silver drivers weren’t going be able to do and he said, ‘Well, let’s throw you in’.”
It helped to secure victory for Pierson’s car in the LMP2 category in a remarkable WEC debut.
Pierson is 14 days younger than Matt McMurray, who holds the current record for the youngest driver to start the Le Mans 24 Hours, and will be hoping to take another record on Sunday from fellow United Autosports driver Phil Hanson, who is the youngest driver to achieve a top 10 finish — in 2017, aged 17.
Despite the naked ambition, Pierson does seem content simply to be on track at Le Mans, his appreciation heightened by Audi’s Truth in 24 documentary and the Ford vs Ferrari film rather than the work of Steve McQueen.
“It is a very historic place,” he says. “There’s kind of like a heaviness that kind of hangs over the place. There’s nothing really that beats it.
“There’s some times when you’re on the track and you recognise an area and you think back to some famous moments there.
“The Porsche Curves are an easy choice for my favourite area. It’s very flowy and it’s technical and requires a lot of focus. This track in general is very difficult to drive and requires kind of everything out of you, but it’s such a cool circuit and I feel very honoured to be here to drive it.”
It sounds ludicrous but the alternative would be sitting in a high school classroom in Portland, Oregon, along with his peers.
“It’s all online for me,” he says, doing nothing to disguise his pleasure at the situation. “I feel like I’ve learned more from travelling the world and racing than I have from from going and sitting in class.
“I’ll definitely graduate high school online. And then from there, I think the nice thing with college is I can always wait.”
With another year in LMP2 lined up and hopes of a strong run at Le Mans, there’s every chance that Pierson’s college application will be gathering dust for some time to come.