Le Mans is almost 100.  Teenager Josh Pierson hopes to conquer him.

Le Mans is almost 100. Teenager Josh Pierson hopes to conquer him.

Josh Pierson will write 24 hours a day for Le Mans this weekend.

At the age of 16 years and 118 days, Pierson will be the youngest driver of the race. The current record holder is Matt McMurry, who ran 16 years and 202 days in the 2014 race.

“It’s a very unique feeling to be a part of the history of this event with my name,” Pierson said in an interview. “It will be more unique when it is in facts and books.

“It means a lot to deal with a very special event that I watch on TV many times. I hope I can write my name in that book again by being on the podium or even winning the competition. ”

Don’t rule out the hope of a teenager from Wilsonville, Ore.

Pierson and co-drivers Paul di Resta and Oliver Jarvis won the LMP2 category for United Autosports in their debut at the FIA ​​World Endurance Championships in the 1000 Mile Sebring race in March. Pierson and di Resta also won their first race together in the Asian Le Mans series.

At Le Mans, first held in 1923, Pierson Oreca 07 will be run by Jarvis and Alex Lynn.

“What’s really impressive is that he doesn’t seem worried about anything,” Jarvis said in an interview. “She is so confident that she probably does not realize the greatness of what she is doing now.

“It simply came to our notice then. This is actually a wealth. I think he will just pass, he will pass, and with the stress on our shoulders, Alex and I will be.

Pierson was 2 years old when he went karting, and at the age of 13 he won championships before moving to the F1600 open wheel series.

In 2020 and 2021, at the age of 14 and 15, Pierson was the youngest driver in the USF2000 in the Road to Indy series.

Last year, United Autosports approached Pierson for a test at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. It was soon signed by team owners Richard Dean and McLaren F1 CEO Zach Brown.

“Looking back, I didn’t know how big it was,” Pierson said. “It happened so quickly that I was almost shocked.”

Brown credits Deca because he recognizes Pierson’s abilities and that his age won’t hurt.

“He’s very fast and more experienced than his age, and I’m pretty sure he’ll enjoy success with the right driver,” Brown said.

Pierson da Driving at LMP2 at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with PR1 / Mathiasen Motorsports. The transition from single-seat racing cars to sports cars did not bother him.

“It made me a much better driver because there’s more to be driven,” he said. “There are a lot of small details about sports car racing and endurance racing in general, such as traffic management. I think ahead when I’m dealing with single seats.

“The next time I go back to a single-seater, I think I’ll finally be there, and there’s a lot I can learn from everything I do there to make me a really good driver. ”

Pierson’s first love is Formula 1. He said he wanted to emulate young drivers McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ George Russell.

“Formula 1 is something you have to go through a lot and pursue, and I’m trying to pursue it, but it’s something I want to get into with confidence,” he said. “I’d like to go, but it’s about keeping the doors open and we’ll see what happens.”

For Le Mans, there are two experienced drivers, along with Lynn, who won the GTE Pro category in 2020, and Jarvis, who won the LMP2 in 2017 and competed 10 times.

Despite being in the spotlight while preparing for the race, he feels restrained.

“I’ve been around a lot all year, so it’s nothing new to compete,” Pierson said. “I think it’s more like that, because I will be the youngest driver to compete in history. I know this is a big deal for a lot of people.

“But I will be calm and patient. If you try to hurry everything, the end will not be good, so everything is to take a step and not allow the pressure to intensify and reach me.

Jarvis knows that Pierson will focus after getting behind the wheel.

“You can give him five or six areas to work on, that’s a lot, and he’ll go and do it, it’s incredibly impressive,” Jarvis said.

“From his first test with him at the end of last year, he has made great progress in terms of technique and adaptation. If he can continue this, who knows where his career may end. “

This will probably be the highest step on the LMP2 podium in Le Mans.

“We have a good driver, a good crew and a good engineer under our car,” Pierson said. “It will just depend on how we do it, but I think we have a really good shot.”

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