MARLBOROUGH College student Alessandro Latif is set to make his sports-prototype debut in the world’s most gruelling and important endurance sportscar race next month when he takes to the track at Le Mans, writes Sam Morshead.
Latif, who was 18 last month, will race a British-built Zytek in the 82nd edition of the 24-hour classic in June.
The speedster has been given the chance by Peterborough-based Greaves Motorsport team and is only due to get behind the wheel of a Zytek for the first time this week.
“I was close to racing for them at the end of last year in Bahrain but didn’t compete due to financial reasons. I’m desperately hoping that I can attract some funding and support for my maiden Le Mans campaign,” he said.
For Latif, competing in the prestigious Le Mans race marks the end of a hectic six-month period laying the foundations for a career in GT and now sportscar racing.
Last November, he was invited by Audi Sport to test for them in Spain as part of its annual young driver test. Then in January he took part in his maiden twice-around-the-clock race, finishing fifth in the Daytona 24-hour. He went on to finish eighth – highest of any Brit – in the Sebring 12-hour two months later.
“Le Mans marks my second 24-hour race after Daytona. My experience is limited but at least I know what to expect in a race of such duration although Le Mans is like no other race,” he said.
“This is my biggest race to date and actually the biggest race possible I could ever compete in. Daytona and Sebring were pretty big and special as well but Le Mans is Le Mans – there is literally nothing else like it in the world and it has always been my dream to race there.”
Latif will get the chance to drive on the 8.47-mile circuit at the only test opportunity on Sunday. He will, however, conduct a shakedown test at Snetterton in Norfolk before the official test day.
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