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Nyck de Vries

Exclusive: Le Mans return the next step after completing ‘childhood dream’ - De Vries

Nyck de Vries will compete in the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend for the fifth time in his racing career. He spoke exclusively to RacingNews365 ahead of the legendary event!

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To news overview © XPBimages

Nyck de Vries heads to the legendary Le Mans this weekend for the 92nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, just a year on from having watched the race at home. 

In a RacingNews365 exclusive, the Toyota WEC driver discusses his excitement for the event and the proposition of potentially winning on Sunday.

A lot has changed for de Vries over recent years, most notably in 2023 after he was dropped by AlphaTauri F1 following the opening 10 rounds of the season. He has since returned to Formula E with Mahindra, where he recently scored his first points of the season in Shanghai.

This weekend is not de Vries' first Le Mans rodeo, having competed in the prestigious even four times prior, in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. His four previous appearances all came in the LMP2 category, with his best result being fourth in class and eighth overall in 2022.

For his Le Mans return, de Vries is competing in the top Hypercar category with Toyota Gazoo Racing, who he is racing for in the entire 2024 World Endurance Championship in the #7 car, alongside team-mates Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

"I'm very much looking forward to going back to Le Mans, because unfortunately I wasn't there last year," de Vries exclusively told RacingNews365. "I did follow most of it from home, but it's obviously a very prestigious and iconic race. 

"And yeah, it's a long marathon, we're travelling down to Le Mans now. But yeah, something that I think everyone would like to be a part of and participate in. And being able to do that with Toyota in the top class is even more exciting, so much looking forward to it."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Avoiding 'mountain'

Since returning to WEC this year, de Vries has already tasted victory in the Six Hours of Imola, which took place back in April. 

In that race, de Vries pulled off an exceptional overtake following the end of a Virtual Safety Car, a move he previously told RacingNews365 that brought a smile to his face.

Not just in WEC but also in Formula E this year, the Dutchman has shown just how talented a racing driver he is. He has had plenty of obstacles to overcome in a very short space of time, particularly with F1, although he has stressed that recollecting his past is not something he wants to do.

"I'm not going down that route, because there is too much of a mountain to climb, to start thinking like that," de Vries stated. 

"I don't think it's really relevant either. But they say that Le Mans chooses you to win, and I hope it's our turn this year."

The Le Mans 24 Hours is often referred to as the ultimate test of person and machine, as both are pushed to the absolute edge. 

Incredibly, as explained by de Vries, the toughest part of the event is managing the fatigue not during the race itself, but in all the media duties and testing which take place across several days ahead of the actual 24 hours actually getting underway.

"I think it's mainly the fatigue, because it's such a long week, it's actually a 10-day marathon," de Vries explained. "So by the time you get to the race, you are arguably already fatigued from the whole week, and everything that has been done. 

"So I think managing that is crucial. And everything around, you get used to that. Luckily, I've had the opportunity to experience different sort of racing and I've seen big events, but obviously the first time it's a little bit intimidating in a way. 

"It's maybe not intimidating, but anyway, it gets to you a little bit, but over time you get used to it and we're there to do a job."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Completing 'childhood dream'

Given that de Vries is racing for a leading WEC side, there is a genuine possibility that he could win the most famous race in the world. 

He already has some immense accolades to his name, having won both the F2 title in 2019 and the Formula E crown in 2021. 

As revealed, de Vries has also already completed his "childhood dream" of scoring points in F1, a feat he achieved on his last-minute debut for Williams in the 2022 Italian Grand Prix. 

In fact, the 29-year-old views his career so far as "different chapters", with returning to Formula E and Le Mans being the current one. 

Winning on Sunday in France would, unsurprisingly, be the "biggest achievement" of his "new chapter".

"My career, like my whole career is kind of divided or split up in different chapters," he said. "And obviously, if you would ask me in 2020 or at the end of 2022, what is your biggest achievement? 

"I wouldn't say winning F2, I wouldn't say winning Formula E, because my childhood dream was always to become a Formula 1 driver. So when I got the chance to race in Monza, and score points, that was my biggest achievement because that was my dream. 

"That's everything I lived for my whole life. But that chapter has closed now. So I'm in a different chapter of my career. 

"And yes, that would definitely be my biggest achievement in this new chapter, but I think every era has different objectives, different goals and different dreams."

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