Leena Gade: The First Lady of Le Mans

Leena Gade is known as the First Lady of Le Mans. Her spectacular resume includes being a three-time Le Mans–winning race engineer (and becoming the first female race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011) and a winner of various awards. In 2012, Gade won the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Man of the Year, Top Gear’s Man of the Year, and the C&R Racing Woman in Technology awards.

After being with Audi and its LMP1 team for years, she worked with Bentley Motorsport as the race engineering technical manager, overseeing its various GT3 teams. Gade went on to work at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in IndyCar, becoming the series’s first female lead race engineer. She now works for Multimatic as the race engineer for Mazda Team Joest’s No. 77 Daytona Prototype International entry in the WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.

Leena Gade
Photo courtesy of Leena Gade/Bentley Motorsport.

TCA: What got you interested in cars, racing, and engineering?

LG: My parents are from India, and I was born in the U.K. When I was nine years old, they wanted to go and relocate back to India, so we moved back. It was only two and a half years before we came back across the U.K. When we moved out there, India was a very, very different place than Britain. We had things like the water would be turned off in the morning and then the electricity would go off midday. I have two younger sisters, and we had to kind of keep ourselves entertained when we were at home.

One thing my parents always insisted on was that we looked after our toys, or if we broke them, we repaired them. So we got interested in how things were put together, how they worked. After repairing toys that we broke, we would then take stuff apart in the house. It ranged from anything like the radio to the video to the stereo. I mean, we did the whole lot and just kind of got interested in how things were put together and why they were done that way. I think a bit of it was boredom because we didn’t have computers or anything at that time. That’s how I sort of got interested in the functionality of things.

I have a sister three years younger than me called Teena. Both of us were always kind of of the same mind-set of wanting to pull things apart and put them together again. We were introduced to some friends of our family whose son was studying engineering, so we kind of wanted to know what engineering was about. He told us this is what I’m studying, it’s mechanical engineering, it’s to do with designing stuff but also how things work. You can use mechanical engineering to build planes, to build cars, the basics of engineering were for finding solutions to problems. We’re like, wow, this sounds quite interesting.

My parents, at this point, were like: “Excellent! We’re going to have two engineers in the house. We don’t have to try too hard to get them to do something decent with their lives.” That’s basically how we got started. I would have been about 10 or 11, and my sister would’ve been seven or eight years old. That’s how old we were when we knew we were going to be engineers.

Then we came back to the U.K. and moved into an area similar to where we had been before. My sister went back to her middle school that she’d left three years earlier, so she got to hang out with all of her friends again. And she’s a bit of a tomboy, so they were all watching Formula 1 at the time and kind of told her: “You need to watch this. There’s a British driver, his name is Nigel Mansell. There’s this fantastic Brazilian called Senna. There are other guys out there. It’s really, really cool. You should watch it. You’ll learn lots on the TV because they talk a lot about motorsport.” That is literally the story. There’s nothing else. With the power of the TV and with the power of my parents telling us to repair stuff, we just got hooked big time on Formula 1.

It was during an era when the cars were pretty technical, pretty clever. But the drivers, it was all-out racing. There were some huge names: Prost, Piquet, Senna, Mansell, and then sort of later on, Schumacher, Hill, Villeneuve, all these guys. And with the commentary that they had, the two presenters were really good at explaining what went on with the cars, with the racing, with the teams, with the engineering. It was like, wow, this seems like something you could do as a career, which sort of led to a bit of disappointment with my parents. They were like: “Oh my God, they’re going into something that’s quite niche and very small. They’ll grow up out of it, they’ll grow up out of it.” We hit 18, we hit 20, we got to university. We’re doing degrees in aerospace engineering, like, “Yeah, yeah, we’re going to be in motorsport!” And our parents are like, “Oh, God.”

That was literally it. I think at the time, again like I say, we had computers, but internet was nothing at the time. So we sort of just did a lot of our research using magazines and reading books or talking to people. We were so hooked that we were writing to teams asking for work experience from quite a young age and just trying to really get into the industry. Anything from polishing cars to trying to do data analysis, that’s what we offered to do, and we offered to do it for free.

I didn’t get anything almost immediately. I ended up going to university and then going into the automotive industry before actually doing any work experience in motorsport. Whereas my sister, when she was about 14, did two weeks work experience at Williams. That was good for her, that was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. And then she went off to do some data stuff while she was at uni. That’s pretty much how we got into it.

What were your favorite cars as a kid?

It started off with Formula 1, obviously. We were big fans of Williams and McLaren, not so much Ferrari. But that was sort of where we were with Formula 1. Then we started to get more into accessible racing, racing we could go and afford to see at race tracks. So we started watching British touring cars, which at the time was one of the most technical touring car series that was around. We started watching a lot of rallying because rally was huge at the time. It was the Toyota Celica, Lancia Delta Integrale, Subaru Impreza 555, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, and stuff.

And then we started to get into what was happening in the States with IndyCar. Now, we didn’t really ever get into NASCAR, but that’s because it was never shown on British TV. IndyCar had the advantage that Nigel Mansell went across from the U.K. to America. So that’s what made everyone in Britain kind of go: “Wow, what’s going on in IndyCar? Let’s watch that.”

Funny enough, at this time, I didn’t really know anything about sports car racing, and I didn’t know anything about endurance racing. I just knew about sprint races. I was just so hooked. I was so enthusiastic to get into motorsport. I was working on everything from amateur club racing cars to Formula BMW, which was spec cars for kids between the ages of 15 and 18, and just really kind of getting more and more experience.

I didn’t really have a favorite as such, but my ambition when I was quite young, and probably right up until I got into university and then I’d say for a good few years afterward, was Formula 1. All I wanted to do was work in Formula 1. But it wasn’t so easy to do, so slowly I kind of petered out a little bit, and I got less enthusiastic about wanting to go to F1 because I didn’t have the experience. Although, it’s a little bit about who you know. It’s so technical in F1 that to kind of just slot into a job, you have to really have applied for a specific position and then to have grown with that position. So it never really happened.

And then, basically, sports cars happened, where my sister and I, almost completely by accident, just ended up with teams who were doing GT cars in the sports car series. And then in the distance were these prototype cars that were much faster and space-age-like. She did some before I did, actually.

And then I just landed in with Audi, probably about three years after I started trying to get experience in motorsport. That’s when I landed a part-time position with Audi. And it was just through pure word of mouth. Someone spoke to someone, someone spoke to someone who said: “We know this girl, she’s doing all this data, she really wants to get further ahead. She wants to quit her full-time job in automotive and come across to motorsport. Is there anything you can help her out with?” “Yeah, yeah, we need an assistant. Do you think she can do it?” “Yeah, we think she’ll be OK.” And that was it.

Who were your influences in the motorsports world?

I was a huge Senna fan as a kid, and then it sort of followed being a Hill fan and Villeneuve, because they weren’t Michael Schumacher. And at the time, he was the guy that everyone wanted to support.

But in terms of engineering, there were guys out there who were featured on the various different F1 programs. So Ross Brawn was one, and Adrian Newey was another. Then there were guys like Patrick Head and Sam Michael. They all sort of had a Williams bias because those were the guys who we followed. But we also had an eye on where everyone was going and where everyone was moving. So we knew of the names and stuff, but those were the guys who really stuck out because they had gone into Formula 1 as designers, as aerodynamicists, engineers. And in Patrick Head’s case, he had been involved in motorsport, especially in F1, for such a long time and had grown up during the phase when Formula 1 had radically developed.

These are kind of the guys who we really looked up to, and we wanted to be them when we grew up. It’s really weird because when you meet them, you’re like, “I remember you from when I was a kid!” You’re a bit starstruck at first, and they’re looking at you thinking, “What is wrong with that person?”

How many different hats have you worn throughout your career? What did you do before becoming a race engineer at Audi?

Like I said, when I first left university, I didn’t go directly into motorsport. I went to go and work at Jaguar, and then I followed that with a short stint at MIRA Ltd. [a consultancy for the automotive industry based in the U.K.]. I was working in automotive, which was actually a really, really good thing for me because with my degree in aerospace, I had little knowledge of cars. I had this intention to become an aerodynamicist, and within a month or two of being at university, I realized that being in the wind tunnel was not going to be something I was good at. So I picked back up with the degree because it was a pretty intense course to get through, but I needed to know a lot more about cars and how they’re put together, and especially high-powered cars. So it was great going to Jaguar. I got to work in a department where it was full vehicle, learning everything from how the driveline and powertrain all worked together to how noise transmits into a car and how vibrations transmit into a car, chassis dynamics, vehicle dynamics, all sorts of stuff.

But the desire to be in motorsport was so huge that I first started out working in a series called Formula Vee, which is like a club racing series. You know the original VW Beetles? Those cars are still produced in South America, especially in Brazil. And the old designs for all of the engines and the cars themselves are still in existence because they’re made over there for taxis in places like Mexico City. So you can buy the spares for the engines. I came across a company where the owner had 14 or 15 of these cars. He sometimes leased them out to customers, but he would also sell them to customers and maintain them. He had just one mechanic who looked after building up all the cars, setting them up, putting the engines and gearboxes in, and then running them at a race weekend.

So I happened to meet him at a motor show and said: “Look, this is what I want to do. I want to get into motorsport, but I need experience. Can I help you?” And he was like: “Aha! Free labor! Of course you can help me.” So I started off by mechanicing for him. There were no data systems on these cars or anything. It was just purely about setting the car up and off it goes to the driver. It was just making sure that the car stayed working, but because there were 15 of these things, they needed a hand.

I helped them out with that for a couple of years, and having gotten a good idea of how a race car is put together, additionally to road cars, what are the priorities, how do you set one up, I was then able to sort of keep asking around and writing to teams saying: “Look, I’m doing this as work experience, but I want to make my next step. My next step I want to make is data engineering. I want to be able to analyze data from cars, talk through it with an engineer, and talk through it with the driver.”

So I ended up doing Formula BMW for a couple of seasons while doing the Formula Vee. Once you kind of get into a paddock where there are lots of motorsports teams, you just get to know people and you get to talk to them. Things were changing quite a lot in motorsport at the time. This was when A1GP started to come in. I got to know more and more people. I got to do some stuff in GT. I got to do some stuff with sports cars. And at the same time, I got to know a team that was running four teams in A1GP.

My sister happened to be in the same paddock as me. She was working in touring cars at the time. But because people knew who we were, we were quite rare, especially because it’s not often you get very many women in engineering or even mechanicing in motorsport, but to get a pair of sisters who are into it and working in the same field. So everyone knew who we were. So, very slowly we got to know a few teams and basically said: “We want to do more. What can we offer your team?” “We need data analysts, can you do data for us?” “Yeah, we can.” So that’s how I ended up in A1GP.

I did little bits and pieces here and there. I then went into working with a prototype team that was going to Le Mans in 2006. Again, through accident—someone who knew someone who knew someone and put my name for it. And that was the first time I went to Le Mans, with a privateer LMP1 team. It was the first year Audi had taken a diesel to Le Mans. I hadn’t really gotten an interest in Le Mans at the time until I went there. Which is strange to say, but I think it’s one of those things where you’re sort of introduced to Le Mans and then you get hooked. I kept looking down in the paddock and thinking: “Wow, that’s a really interesting team. They’ve got this huge organization.” And it was on this totally different scale to anything I’ve been involved in. I thought, “One day, I’d like to work for a team like that.”

So I did Le Mans that year, in 2006, and a couple of races later where the same privateer team was running in the series in Europe, I happened to be talking to one of the mechanics. And I said: “You know, I need to make my next step. I’d like to go and work for a team where I can develop a car.” He knew some people who were developing a Jaguar GT3 car based on the XK8. And I was like: “I know everything about that Jaguar. I’ve worked on it as a road car, so I know what goes on underneath the skin.” And he asked if he could put my name for it, and I said, “Yeah, of course.”

So he put my name for it and called me back a week later and said: “They want to see you. Can you come in in a week’s time?” I said, “That shouldn’t be a problem, I’ll come down from where I’m at.” And he said: “By the way, they’ve got another project they’re doing. The engineer who’s developing it, he works for a team out in the United States, and he needs an assistant. Would you be interested?” I said, “Well, if it’s relocating to the States, at the moment that’s not an option, but by all means you can put my name for that, too.” He said, “OK, I’ll let you know.” And then he sent me a text message saying, “Yeah, they’ll be more than happy to speak to you about that.”

I went across to go see them, and at this point I had absolutely zero idea of what other projects they were running in the U.S. All I knew was that I was going to see them about helping them out with the design works for this Jaguar. So we talked and they showed me around the car, and then the same engineer, his name was Howden [Haynes], said: “Let’s have a chat about the stuff that’s going on in the States. Have you done Le Mans?” “Yes, I have.” “I see that on your CV. Do you know much about sports cars?” I said, “Well, what I’ve done is only a handful of races, but I really enjoyed it and I’d like to get more involved.” “Well, I need an assistant in the United States for the ALMS [American Le Mans Series].”

And then he said the word “Audi,” and at this point it still didn’t click which car he was talking about. And I was like, “OK, they’re running an Audi in the States, it can be any kind of sports car.” “So, would you be interested? I need an assistant, someone to back me up. I’m the race engineer, but I need someone who looks at the data at the same time and is there to help me with the car and everything.” And I was like, “Wow, OK. Yeah, I’ll give it a go.” And then out came the data book and all this other stuff. And all of a sudden, on the front of this data book was a picture of the same Audi that I had seen about two months before racing around Le Mans that had won the race. And I was like: “Oh. That Audi.” I was a bit like, “Oh my goodness.”

I actually didn’t know that they were racing in the States with the car because my exposure to Le Mans was only a couple of months before, it really wasn’t more than that. So, I was like: “Right, OK. I’ve got some work to do!” So I went home with all this information and was a bit sort of overloaded and was a bit like, “What have I gotten myself into?” And at the time, I was talking to him in September, the plan would have been to start working for them from February or March onwards in 2007. And that is exactly what happened.

I was doing all of that work with them in the States in the American Le Mans series championship. But then I also had a couple of other projects I was doing still with A1GP and a bit of other single-seater racing and then some other FIA GT1 series. But that’s pretty much how I got into Audi and never really looked back.

Audi R18 TDI LMP1
The #2 Audi R18 TDI at the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Photo by Alessandro Prada via Wikimedia Commons.

What was it like working for the Audi LMP team and when you earned all of your Le Mans wins?

It was pretty incredible. I think you don’t realize at the time when you’re sort of massed into it that you’ve got the job that everyone wants to have. It’s pressurized, don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of money riding on projects like this, and especially for companies like Audi and more recently Toyota, Porsche, and Peugeot. They invested a lot in those cars and in those teams to make the series successful and to be successful. The biggest race for everyone was always Le Mans.

But when you’re there, you quite quickly find that if you’re not pulling your weight, it gets noticed. I was a contractor for a long time, so for me it was really a case of if I didn’t do my job, I’m going to be out the door. Whereas some of the regular Audi staff were there permanently, they didn’t quite have that same pressure because they were somewhat protected by the workers’ rights that they may have had with a big organization. If they wanted to talk about some racing, they could move directly into the automotive side, where it wasn’t an option for me.

When I was given the opportunity, there was only one choice for me: I have to make it work, and I have to make it work really well. I was quite conscious when I first went in, more so than I did with any of the other jobs, that I was the only female there. I did think that perhaps there was going to be a bit of judgment about my performance because I was a woman. But actually there was nothing like that, or at least I never noticed anything or had any inkling that the guys ever thought that I was different because I was female. I was mainly kind of singled out for being different because I have a terrible sense of humor. I was very cheesy. I say what I think. I won’t be offensive about it, but I don’t hold back. So I think the Germans were a bit like, “Wow, this one is pretty direct.”

But really in the end, it was all about a team and about making a team function as well as possible. Everyone came from different backgrounds. Drivers, mechanics, and engineers from France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, England, America, Brazil, Spain. We had drivers from all over the place. We had engineers from all over the world. And we had this bulk of a team which came from Germany, whose set language was usually German, but in front of everyone, they spoke English. I’m very privileged to say that I worked with a really great engineer, Howden. He taught me so much in such a short space of time. And we got on really well being on the same wavelength. He had ideas, and he would bounce ideas off of me or ask me questions, and I’d give back some feedback. But we had different ways of trying to improve our functioning as a little car crew. And that really set me up.

So from 2007 to 2010, for the best part of three and a half years, we worked very closely together. We learned how to be a really strong unit, and we actually set the benchmarks for all of the other cars crews at Audi. They might not always have been performing at the same level that we were. I say it was because we were very open to ideas. I didn’t feel afraid to give mine. We functioned really well and Audi spotted that early on in that stage. If they wanted to make sure that their entire team raised its games even higher, they were going to have to separate us, which wasn’t good initially because they didn’t want to break up a really successful, winning crew. But they knew they had to spread this kind of knowledge to make it available to everybody.

And when we did separate out as two separate engineers, we were actually sort of working against each other on sister cars. Things were a bit awkward. You’re in competition with the guy who taught you everything you know, and you have to raise your game even higher because you don’t have those same drivers and that same engineering squad behind you. You’re on your own. You need to make it work.

So it was a huge learning curve, both personally, just my own personality and the way I was, the way I behaved and interacted with engineering. I was no longer a background engineer, I was now a lead senior engineer. People look up to you. They want you to be there to give them guidance, so you have to be able to make decisions and kind of move forward. It was massive.

There were times, especially toward the end of my career with Audi where there were things I really didn’t enjoy because the cars got quite complicated, we ended up with a huge team. There were lots of politics between people, between departments. But in the end, I look back on my days at Audi, and probably including the last couple of years, and I’d say it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. It’s taught me everything that I know and more. It’s set me up to a point that wherever I go next or whichever team I’m with, I can take those lessons and the habits that I learned, both good and bad, and try to make my own new race team or whatever and make it how I think it should be run. I’m so privileged to have worked for them, and I’m very grateful for everything they put into me. They didn’t have to give me the chance that they did. It worked out really well.

What made you decide to move to Bentley?

I basically had been at Audi for the better part of nine years. One thing I had become quite conscious of was it’s very easy to keep operating in the same way and to not really be pushing yourself because you get comfortable or because the team maybe stagnates a little bit. What I wanted was to be able to look out for myself to see was it time to move on from being a lead race engineer to doing something different, was it time to go to a different race series and see what other races were out there because Le Mans is one of those things that doesn’t last forever, which has been shown. Audi pulled out, subsequently Porsche was pulling out, so it’s really kind of in a bit of a state of flux.

For me, it was a case of trying to get a different challenge together and taking on some different levels of responsibility. So I came to Bentley in a more technical role and in a more senior role. I was no longer looking after one race car, I was looking after a team. It wasn’t the Bentley Works team, it was a team that was semi-works, and they’re a very good team, ABT Sportsline. I know them from DTM, where they worked with Audi, so I knew the guys there and I knew what they were capable of doing. They were running a big project on behalf of Bentley at the Nordschleife for the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in 2017. That was something that was a bit different for me and them. I was introducing them into the series but also working with them to build up their team. Effectively, because they’re racing Bentleys and representing Bentley as a brand, taking on that role technically but also with a mind-set as to how to represent an organization.

So that’s sort of why I moved, to get kind of a different experience and see if there was another race series out that could spark some interest. It’s definitely very challenging in GT3. Technically, the cars are nothing like an LMP1 car, but they don’t need to be because the competition between the brands is adjusted by the performance in such a way that everyone’s competitive. So you have to think outside of the box. How do I make my product at this race, while I’ve been given less power, just as competitive as it was at the last race? What do I do with my drivers? How do I coach them? How do I deal with a team? Where are the team’s weaknesses? Where are their strengths? There’s a lot of stuff that still goes on there, but a lot of stuff in which you have to think in a very different way. It’s been an incredible learning experience. It really has.

What has been your favorite racing experience?

I think, and maybe because I’ve done it so many times, but when you are the slower car, you’re the underdog. And you win because you pull out a slightly different strategy or you keep your wits about you, you don’t panic and go off, and you do something quite unique compared to what everyone else does, or there are other teams out there that might be a little bit arrogant believing that they’re going to be the ones to set the mark to win. But you beat them hands down. That’s always a great experience to have. Not because you feel smart, but actually because you know you managed to pull an entire team together and they performed at their maximum level to get the maximum amount out of the package you have, because that’s what racing is about.

The fastest car doesn’t always win. It’s the team and the package that brings it together and holds it together and doesn’t panic when everything is kind of flying around and going crazy. Those are the teams that do the best. And I think when you’re at that position that you can do that, that’s probably the most enjoyable experience you can have.

Leena Gade
Photo courtesy of Leena Gade/Bentley Motorsport.

Do you do anything else on the side, either in the automotive or motorsports worlds?

No. At Bentley, I’m just doing the GT3 side of things. Once you submit the base proposal of the car to the FIA for regulations purposes, you are locked into the concept and need to make it work and be competitive for the life of that race car. You can’t really change anything. You can adjust settings, but you can’t have a fundamentally different aerodynamic package from one year to the next. But what you look for is the small nuances of things that you can develop, whether it be better power delivery from the engine to the wheels, whether it’s different springs to give you a different platform setup, whether it’s trying to develop a different driving style with your drivers.

You do all those kinds of things, and the small little bits from everything adds up. You’d be surprised to how much attention to detail you need to give to these cars to keep them competitive and always have an edge on everyone else. There are obviously other projects that go on in terms of developing what products come out in the future in terms of racing. So my time is pretty much taken up with just doing that.

Have you ever gotten behind the wheel and done any racing yourself?

It’s best that that doesn’t happen. My driving skills are pretty limited. I’m amazed I actually passed my motorbike stuff. It was never really something I wanted to do. I probably got that impression really quickly when I was about 17 years old. I sat in a twin-engine go-kart, when I happened to be talking to the team that was running a track where I wanted to get some mechanicing experience. They suggested I have a go around the track in the kart.

Because I’m quite short and I’m quite small, I’m the perfect size to go in a go-kart. This thing was probably doing about 70-75 mph in a straight line on this track, and it scared the living daylights out of me. You have to have a certain level of ability to risk take and car control. I did two laps, and I came back and said: “You know what? It’s best that someone who wants to do that does that and that I stand in the background and I fix it.” It was not for me.

It’s never been something that I’ve been that interested in. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. I think I don’t have the talent to drive a car like the racing drivers do. What I would love to do at some point, though, is sit in the passenger’s seat and do a lap of Le Mans with some of the guys who have won the race and have driven LMP1 cars. I think the car control that they exhibit is something that I could never even get close to and I wouldn’t want to even try. With those cars in particular, you have to drive them fast to get the downforce, to get you stability. Now, if you scare yourself by going too quick, even in a straight line, you’re never going to be able to drive it like they do. I wouldn’t even dream of taking over their jobs. They do that, I do my job. Let’s keep it that way.

Do you have a favorite automobile manufacturer?

I don’t, actually. I’m probably the least car-like person you’ll ever come across. Some of my colleagues at work have cars they work on at home, and it’s the very last thing I could dream of doing on my weekend. I’m just not into them at all like that.

I like a lot of the different technical concepts that come out—the things with the hybrids and the electric cars. They’re all very interesting from an engineering point of view. But what’s my ultimate car, I’ve got zero idea. I think if I was tinkering with anything, it would probably be a motorbike I would tinker with. I wouldn’t tinker with a car.

So . . . if you could have any car ever made, what would it be?

There are some absolutely amazing cars that have set the standard for how the automotive industry evolved. Funny enough, actually a Model T. I’d love to drive a Model T. I don’t know what it would be like, but it was one of the first mass produced cars, and I think that’s an amazing feat in itself. All of the cars that were produced in the ’50s and the ’60s, the hot rod cars, things like the Chargers and the GT40, all of those kind of things, there’s something quite raw and basic about them, which makes them amazing pieces of machinery. They don’t have all the tricks in them, but I think you probably don’t need the tricks to appreciate their kind of driving style.

I’d say probably the ultimate car that you always look at, which always gets people turning their heads, is probably a Ferrari. Every time you see it or hear it, the engine tune from a Ferrari isn’t maybe one of the most pleasant sounds of all time, but anytime you see them, you just think, “Wow, that’s a cool car.”

Which car would I have? It’s gotta be a Dino. Ferrari Dino. I’d love to have one of those. I don’t have anywhere near the money to buy one, but it’d have to be that one.

Do you have any goals for the future?

I know that I want to be in motorsport for the long term, but never say never to changing industries. It’s something that gives me such a huge amount of satisfaction. I love being at the race track. I thought that I didn’t want to be at the race track, which is one of the reasons why I ended up thinking about going to Bentley and taking a step back. But actually, I just love being at the race track and doing stuff. I really enjoy the whole teamwork side of things.

I’d say, if there’s anything I really want to do in terms of developing, I’d love to be involved in a project which starts out as a concept and then actually morphs into a race car and goes racing and developing that car and that team. That’s something I haven’t really actually done. With Audi, I just picked up what they had already got. And although I was involved in a lot of the development, especially when they went down the route of making the hybrid car, initially I wasn’t involved in the basic concept side.

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