While all the attention is on the main 24 hour race at Le Mans, a new star is beginning to shine.
In racing how can we tell when one driver is naturally uber talented over a learned skill set?
For me it is when a driver can do something extraordinary, when they can make a car do something that they shouldn’t have been able to and for the last 2 days thats exactly what Dennis Strandberg has been doing at the Aston Martin Festival at Le Mans.
This 21 year old naturally gifted driver arrived at Le Mans with the job of assisting his team Academy Motorsport who are there with both their Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 cars that are usually seen in the British GT Championship.
Dennis was not planning on driving but very last minute, late Wednesday morning the opportunity arose to race in the 2nd Academy Motorsport car and he signed up to drive with his team boss Matt Nicoll-Jones in the number 42 car.
This is the car that is usually number 62 in British GT’s so NOT his usual car and therefore is a different feeling car to usual.
Later that day it was time to take to the track in free practise and with just 4 laps in the simulator Dennis topped the time sheets. Impressive given that he has never driven the Le Mans circuit before and also that its a different car he hasn’t driven before and that only 4 laps had been driven in the sim, yet still being able to get the very best from his machine.
Qualification was the following day and just 23 hours after finishing free practise the fastest, the car finished quali in pole position for Tomorrow’s race.
This alone surely shows how talented this young man is but there is a little more to this yet as qualification took place with no downshift for Dennis as it had been used to replace a broken one in the team’s sister car.
Again showing his gift in racing in even being able to get the car around the circuit with no downshift. Could any of us ‘normal folk’ drive the socks of a car with no clutch? Let alone drive it on its limits in an the middle of somewhere we have never driven before and in the shadows of the greatest race on the planet?!
This naturally able Swede is now out from the shadows for all to see as he prepares to race tomorrow from the front in the 45 minute support race to the main Le Mans 24 hrs and I for one hope that all of those in Aston Martin Racing and especially the Evolution Academy are watching him tomorrow and taking notes.
Dennis Strandberg is found currently racing in British GT for Academy Motorsport and is 1 of 10 young racers under the wing of the newly formed Aston Martin Evolution Academy, in my opinion a very bright star of the future and one to watch, I think by the end of tomorrow he will have shown all of those at Le Mans that he will be back in the not too distant future as a competitor in the main race.