Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender will make his debut as a Porsche driver at the 90th edition of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
After establishing a liking for racing, the X-Men star has been training hard for the famed endurance event for the past three years. The 45-year-old Irish actor says he’s trying to “calm the jitters” ahead of his race debut, which marks the end of a multi-year quest for him to compete in the French endurance classic.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an annual endurance sports car race held near Le Mans, France. It is the world’s oldest continuously running endurance race. The race which is held at Circuit de la Sarthe is won by the car that travels the most distance in 24 hours, unlike fixed-distance events where the winner is selected by the fastest time.
Teams must strike a balance between the vehicles’ ability to operate for 24 hours without mechanical failure and the need for speed.
Fassbender will share a Porsche 911 RSR-19 with IMSA GTD champion Zach Robichon and Porsche factory driver Matt Campbell, which will be handled by Proton.
For several years, the Killarney star has been preparing for his Le Mans debut, first competing in the single-make Porsche Carrera Cup series before moving up to the European Le Mans Series.With his Le Mans debut just around the corner, Fassbender says he’s doing his best to keep his anxieties in check.
“I feel good… I’m just trying to sort of stay as relaxed as possible, try and gain as much information as I can this week with the time I’ll be allocated on the track,” Fassbender told Sportscar365. “We’ve got a world-class driver, Matt Campbell, so I’ll be picking his brain and he’ll be guiding me through the week.”
“Just taking it step by step and then to get ready for the race and Saturday and Sunday and just keep it clean and finish it.”
Porsche’s “Road to Le Mans” YouTube series comprehensively recorded Fassbender’s two previous ELMS seasons.
Both Fassbender and his co-driver Robichon will be making their Le Mans debuts, making them an inexperienced pair of drivers in the GTE-Am field. Campbell, on the other hand, had four previous starts and won a class on his debut in 2018.
Given Campbell’s superior first-hand experience of the Circuit de la Sarthe, Fassbender believes he and Robichon will seek guidance from the Australian.
“I think we both will,” said Fassbender. “Zach is obviously a fantastic driver as well and he can adapt very quickly to a new track.”
“We’ve already done two races together and he’s just very professional. But both of us I think will be picking Matt’s brain.”
“This is his fifth time here in Le Mans. He’s had great success here. So we’ll be leaning on him, I think. I certainly will.”
Combining a profession in acting with a career in racing is no easy task for the two-time Academy Award nominee.
“When the racing season finishes, I become an actor again. It’s important to split, because racing requires a lot of attention, a lot of commitment. If I do something, I do it at 100%,” Fassbender said.
“There are similarities between acting and driving, it’s about having lots of information to process, not thinking about the past or the future, just to be absolutely present so that you stay focused and relaxed. That’s a very addictive feeling.”