2018/19 de Boulle Magazine

was made up of de Boulle Motor- sports’ Nick Boulle, IndyCar driv- ers Gustavo Yacamán and Sebastián Saavedra and current WEC driver and former Champ Car driver Roberto González Valdez. While the team struggled with the car in qualifying, where they posted a 16th-place result, the car’s setup — the set of adjustments made to a car to optimize its performance, handling and reliability for specif- ic conditions — seemed to come into its own as the 70-car field laid rubber onto the 3.56-mile speedway road course. Boulle’s first stint came just as night fell over the speedway. He drove the car for about 90 minutes in what was the most treacher- ous portion of the race. About 20 minutes into his stint, rain began to fall on the course. After driving for several laps on slicks — the smooth tires meant for dry conditions — the team eventually called for a pit stop to change to rain tires. Min- utes later, because of the weather’s on-again-off-again mix, the track began drying, which called for another pit stop to change back into dry-road tires. Says Boulle, about that first stint in the LMP2 car, “With today’s technology in endurance racing, the cars are so good that we are really racing a 24-hour sprint race. From the moment the green flag drops until the checkered flag waves, you push the car to its absolute limits. There

is no ‘saving the brakes’ or backing off, because every tenth of a second counts. You know the importance of keeping the car clean and safe till the end of the race, but it’s such a delicate balance when the rain is coming down hard at the start of a race like this.” The car got better and better through the race, Boulle says “after struggling to get the setup how we wanted it, before the start of the race. You always want a car that you can get in and consistently turn good laps, which finally happened once it got dark. I think this is a race that you obviously bring high expectations into, especially for myself, after winning last year in a different class. Everyone worked really well together and there’s a lot of room for improvement, which will hopefully bring us bet- ter results in the future.” Boulle would return to the driv- er’s seat for three more flawless stints in the LMP2 car at the demanding circuit. The team had advanced the car into the top 10 by around 5 a.m. — or, 14 hours into the race — before an early morn- ing mistake by one of the drivers sent the crew into the garages for repairs. Despite the time lost, Boulle and his co-drivers recovered positions throughout the remaining hours of the race and proved their potential as a fighting team by com- pleting their first race together in 12th place.

INSIDE SCOOP: Rolex has supported the race since 1966, and has been the title spon- sor of the Rolex 24 at Daytona since 1992. One of the unique aspects of the event is that, in addition to the winner’s trophy, the winning drivers in each of the three classes are pre- sented with a specially engraved Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Dayto- na, commemorating the Rolex 24 at Daytona victory for that year. Thus, the Rolex Daytona has become synon- ymous with racing, and many racing drivers strive to win the watch.

“From the moment the green flag drops until the checkered flag waves, you push the car to its limits.” —Nick Boulle

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