Students lap up trip to historic Le Mans racetrack

The Bolton News: Daniel Rathmill, left, and Lee Cutting in the Le Mans pits Daniel Rathmill, left, and Lee Cutting in the Le Mans pits

MOTORSPORTS students are back from life in the fast lane after spending time studying at the historic Le Mans racetrack.

Daniel Rathmill and Lee Cutting, who study Advanced Performance Engineering and Motorsport Technology at the University of Bolton’s Centre for Advanced Performance Engineering (CAPE) accompanied RLR Msport to the track for the second round of the Proto V de V Endurance Challenge Series.

The university is the first in the UK to have a racing team based on campus.

Daniel and Lee worked alongside RLR team principal and head of CAPE, Nick Reynolds, as well as the team’s drivers and mechanics with the students helping out on a range of pit-lane activities.

Lee said: “We were involved in all aspects of the event, setting up the garage, cleaning the car, mechanical adjustments, lap timing and I even assisted in fuelling the car during the race.” Daniel, aged 24, from Manchester, added: “I was in charge of the starter battery during one of the practice pit stops.

“I did bolt runs on the car, which basically includes making sure that all the nuts and bolts are properly tightened.

“I was also on pit wall duty for all three days, which included recording lap times and informing the drivers using a pit board.”

According to the event’s organisers, the series is the first step on the ladder, leading to famous endurance races such as the Le Mans 24 Hours and the American equivalent at Daytona.

Lee, aged 26, from Pendlebury, said: “I think there is no greater way to learn than actually getting hands on experience.

“Having the theory behind setting up a car is one thing, but actually seeing a car you've helped set up race and speaking to the drivers about how the changes made have affected the car is experience that can only be gained through going out and doing the job.”

Daniel added: “This experience has made me realise how much work and preparation goes into the car before heading on to the track. It also helps me understand what happens over a race weekend.

“I think the environment is great to be in because it gives you a real taste for competitive action.

“I will never forget it for the rest of my life. To be at Le Mans for my first-ever taste of a race weekend with a very experienced racing team, it was awesome.”

Lee said: “When we first arrived and I was stood looking at the grandstands from the pit lane in the sun. I felt as if I was walking on hallowed ground, the pit and start-finishing straight of Le Mans, unbelievable.”

He is also hoping to return to the historic track to take part in the legendary 24 hour race.

He added: “Le Mans is such a beautiful circuit. It was unbelievable and maybe one day soon I will get to attend the 24-hour race.”

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