24 Hours of Le Mans: At just 16 years old, Josh Pearson became the youngest driver in the history of the famous race

24 Hours of Le Mans: At just 16 years old, Josh Pearson became the youngest driver in the history of the famous race

Let’s go to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. During the 2022 edition, American Josh Pearson started the race. At the age of only sixteen, he became the youngest driver the famous race had ever known.

American Josh Pearson at 16 years, 3 months and 25 days became the youngest driver in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, on Saturday 11 June, just before 6 pm. His crew, along with experienced Brits Alexander Lynn and Oliver Jarvis, dominated Wednesday’s first free practice in LMP2 but the car was only 14th in the LMP2 class when Pearson took the wheel, after a series of technical issues. “Participating in this event and being a part of history at such a young age is a special thing, but I think I’m ready,” he explained earlier this week on the organization’s website.

The early record “takes a lot of pressure off me, actually. People don’t have a lot of expectations about the outcome. If I don’t understand, they’ll say I’m learning and I’m still young, but they’d be very surprised and excited if I had a good race.” He, who started kart racing at the age of two, took the lead in LMP2 for the first time last year. This season, he has already won two wins in the Asian Le Mans Series, and another still in the LMP2 class, at the 1,000-mile Sebring, in the US.

Racing is open to all ages

At the other end of the scale, 65-year-old German event captain Pierre Erett took the wheel of the Ferrari N.75 for Team Iron Lynx (LMGTE Am) just before 6pm. He left the track after colliding in the first minutes, but was able to come back quickly. Iret is competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 10th time. During his first try, in 2005, Josh Pearson was not born.

Open to all ages, ethnicity remains primarily a male. Of the 186 drivers entered in this 90 edition, only five are women, twice the number in 1935. Two race in LMP2: young Lilo Wadaux (France) in the team of Sebastien Ogier, multi-world rally champion, Sophia Florsch (Germany), who fell five laps behind after finishing the race with gravel at the start, in the Algarve Pro Racing Oreca N.47. The other three women make up the women’s crew of Iron Dams (Ferrari N.85 in LMGTE Am), dressed in pink overalls: Switzerland’s Rahel Frey, Denmark’s Michel Gatting and Belgium’s Sarah Bovey, but they were punched in the first laps.

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