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Eastwood on a high as he rubs shoulders with Alonso, Button

 

By Sammy Hamill

Charlie Eastwood says he is "living the dream" as he prepares to start the Le Mans 24-hour race tomorrow afternoon.

He didn't expect to take part in this classic and daunting race so early in his career, far less sharing the track with former F1 world champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

The 24-year-old Porsche Carrera Cup champion from Belfast shares an Aston Martin Vantage in the LMGTE division with TF Sport team-mates Salic Yoluc and Euan Hankey and, having been at the track since the beginning of the week, says he "cannot wait" for the action to begin.

"It's not just the race, although that is a huge element, it is the whole thing, the build up, the atmosphere. From a young age I've followed this race and to be taking part at this early stage of my career is something very special, a dream come true," he enthused.

The task for Eastwood and co is not just to win the GTE-AM category but to stay out of the way of the mighty LMP1 prototype cars which will fight for the overall victory. They will have a closing speed of more than 50mph on the Mulsanne Straight.

Alonso will be on board one of them, a Toyota TS050 Hybrid, as he chases motorsport's elusive 'Triple Crown' - the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans.

Toyota have never won at Le Mans but are clear favourites this year in the absence of Porsche and Audi. Alonso will share their lead car with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Button makes his Le Mans debut with SMP Racing alongside two Russians, Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.

Belfast Telegraph

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