Jenson Button will probably have to wait until his McLaren career is over before he can realise his dream of driving at the Le Mans 24 Hours…
Jenson Button will probably have to wait until his McLaren career is over before he can realise his dream of driving at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 2009 World Champion has made no secret of his desire to have a crack at Le Mans and with McLaren’s GT programme up and running, it’s perhaps not such a farfetched dream.
However, there is one problem: McLaren are unlikely to give him permission.
“I’m not sure I’d be allowed, but I’d love to. I tried to do a 24-hour race back in 1999, but the car broke down before I got in it!” he said.
“But yeah, I’d love to give Le Mans a go, although I don’t know how happy they (McLaren) would be about that.
“And I’ve heard when you are in a GT car it’s probably the worst experience at Le Mans because you are just looking in your mirrors the whole time with these things (the prototypes) coming past you like you are stood still.
“I don’t know, but it’s something I’m very interested in.”
For now Button’s Le Mans hopes are nothing but a pipe dream, according to McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
Asked whether he would allow Button to take part in Le Mans next year, Whitmarsh said: “Next year? Probably not. He hasn’t asked me.
“We don’t plan to have a McLaren next year, but we’ll go back there one day because we have happy memories of being in Le Mans, and one day in the future he (Button) might be doing that.
“But over the next few years I think he’ll be concentrating on F1 and not Le Mans, but I’m sure we can accommodate it in the future.”
Robert Kubica’s rallying accident earlier this year raised fresh questions over whether F1 drivers should be allowed to take part in other motor sports events.
Whitmarsh added: “I do consider things like that and I normally remind them of such incidents.
“It’s the nature of drivers that, in a very healthy way, they feel invincible, that they will never hurt themselves, and they have a passion to go and do these sorts of things.
“It happens reasonably frequently that drivers come along and ask to do something.
“But there is already risk in Formula One, so we are not usually wildly enthusiastic about introducing others.”