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A day in the life of Mark Webber
The Aussie legend recalls his Le Mans 24 Hours race day. Bonza
Get up. Quick shower, get dressed and drive to the track with Timo [Bernhard] and Brendon [Hartley].
Catch up with engineers to talk through the warm-up session ahead and preview the race.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and sausages – fuel for race day!
Timo and Brendon are in the car for the 45-minute warm-up session on race day. I’m watching from the garage and listening to the radio conversation with the engineers.
Last meetings before the race kicks off later in the afternoon.
Check in with the family. My partner, parents and a few good mates have come to support me, so I pop down to the motorhome to say hello and catch up.
Official photo with all drivers.
I make my way to the grid for the official starting ceremony.
Race start. My teammate Timo is in first, which means I have a bit more time until my first stint later in the evening. I’ve got a few hours until I’m in the car, so I try to relax, keep well hydrated and on top of my meals. You don’t want to have huge portions but keep chipping away on food.
Time to prepare for work. I warm up the muscles, stretch and get a massage. Because we are in the same position in the car for quite a while, stretching the lower back and especially the hamstrings is important. Well ahead of my stint, I’m in the garage listening to the radio and talking to the engineers. When the car is running, you want to listen to your teammates and engineers to see how the health of the car is going. Also the drivers start feeding back information to me. Now is also the time for any last-minute toilet breaks.
I take over in the car from Brendon and hand over to Timo at 20:45. After my stint, I want to get fluid into my stomach as quickly as possible and then try to pass it. The last thing I want to do is leave the hydration too late, because then I might need to go to the toilet at the wrong time, or feel dodgy in the car. I get a dry set of fireproof underwear and a dry suit on and have a load of pasta with chicken.
Meet and greet – over the course of the weekend, Porsche hosts lots of guests and partners, and I pop by to update them on the progress of the race and offer some insights.
Time to rest. I’m on the back of the cycle with one of my teammates in the car, and the other one waiting to go next, so I have a chance to relax. I’ll be in my private room laying on my bed with a headset on, no car noise, no radio from the engineers because that can be draining, and I try to switch off as much as I can and have a nano nap.
I get woken by my teammate Timo. Our car has hit some technical issues and is in the box for repairs, which means my next scheduled stint has been blown out and I have a bit longer to rest. It’s hard to completely switch off, as the adrenaline is still pumping, but it’s good to lie down and try to relax.
Time to get back into work mode again, warm up and stretch and go into the garage to get up to speed with where we are.
I take over the car from Brendon and hand over to Timo a little over two hours later.
I have a massage after my second stint to loosen up the muscles and grab breakfast: cereal and fruit.
Another meet and greet with the Porsche guests.
I take over the car from Brendon for my last stint of the day.
I stop at the garage, and the car gets pushed in for some checks. Timo takes over. I go and have a cold shower, get changed and have a little snack and plenty of fluids.
I go over to the team in the garage to watch the last few laps from there, and it couldn’t have been a more dramatic end, with Toyota hitting trouble on the last lap and our sister car grabbing the win.
I and a few other guys from our team walk over to the Toyota garage to pay our respects to the guys. We’ve had a great battle with them over the 24 hours. What happened to them is really hard to take, and you have to feel for them.
We are under the podium and congratulate our sister car on the win among tens of thousands of fans. Once the dust settles and the guys come back from the podium we have our team photo in front of the garage.
I catch up with my family in the hospitality and have a cold beer. I’m also craving sugar, so I’m having chocolates and other sugary sweets. After being awake for 30+ hours, your body is in a bizarre situation and your eating schedule has been all over the place. I’ll have some light dinner, some more dessert and chat to the team.
Back to my motorhome to put my feet up and chill out. It’s been a very long day, and tiredness kicks in.
Lights out and catch up on sleep.
This feature was originally published in issue 285 of Top Gear magazine.