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Without doubt, I have to say my greatest racecar is the Jaguar XJR-9 LM that took me, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace to victory at Le Mans in 1988. The car was designed by Tony Southgate and was ahead of its time using a full carbon fiber monocoque and undercarriage venturi system to aid downforce. At the time, only one other car in the race using similar technology was the Sauber-Mercedes. The XJR-9 LM, was very different to other XJR-9 chassis used for 1000km “sprint” races. If we had used one of those cars we would have been out of the race, probably before midnight. The LM version of the car was much more robust. It was very stiff and rigid but, as history shows, just the car for winning Le Mans. Nevertheless, we weren’t without our problems as, of course, like many cars, our “Achilles heel” was the gearbox. A sister car had already developed problems in the race, and our car didn’t have third gear. Jan Lammers did a great job bringing the car home to victory using 4th gear—the only gear he had used for most of his last stint. At the helm of the team was Tom Walkinshaw, who ran things very professionally as though it were a Formula One operation and meticulously detailed in every aspect. Most of all, each member of the team, drivers, mechanics, indeed everyone had the belief and was mentally prepared for the race. Yes, Tom was at times a very frightening figure, but he was just desperately determined to win. As drivers, he made everything as relaxed as possible for us, so we only had one thing to focus on. The victory was tremendously euphoric for the team, and especially the fans. Personally, I felt drained of all emotion—I’d given everything and had nothing left, I think that could be said of my teammates too.

Was this Le Mans victory my greatest moment of my motor racing career? I would have to say no, this was a one race team win and I was just part of that successful team. Don’t get me wrong, it was a tremendous achievement. For me, my greatest moment would have to be winning the British F3 championship. It was a series of races, and on the track I was the man responsible for either winning or losing. The victory was a springboard to later opportunities that took me to F1, albeit for just one season as teammate to Ayrton Senna at Lotus and, of course, to sportscar racing and the Jaguar team. I’ve been asked if I felt used as a political pawn in F1, as Ayrton refused to have Derek Warwick as his teammate at Lotus. I have to say, I didn’t ever feel “used.” I simply got the phone call from Lotus offering me a drive for the 1986 season and took it. I’d say I don’t think I made the best of this opportunity and naturally when Satoru Nakajima came along to Lotus with a bundle of money and Honda engines they let me go—that’s motor racing. I turned to endurance racing and all came good in 1988.

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