Charlie Eastwood: Belfast driver delighted to 'tick Le Mans 24 Hours off bucket list'

TF Sport Aston Martin
Charlie Eastwood's win was Northern Ireland's first at Le Mans since Jonny Kane in 2010

Charlie Eastwood has said it feels "crazy" to have become the first Northern Irish winner at the Le Mans 24 Hours race for 10 years.

The Belfast driver took victory in the GTE Am class on Sunday along with TF Sport team-mates Jonny Adam and Salih Yoluc.

"I don't think it has sunk in yet," Eastwood told Sportsound Extra Time.

"For any racing driver when they start in the sport, the Le Mans 24 Hours is one of the most iconic races.

"To now have ticked it off the bucket list is absolutely crazy.

"It is half on road and half on track, and when you are on the iconic straights you are getting to about 305km per hour. It is surreal - everything just starts to move fast.

"Then when you go into the night it just accelerates that because they have no lighting on the road, it is just the lighting on the car. It is fairly mentally draining."

'Slog of a week for team'

Eastwood took the wheel for 10.5 of the 24 hours, including overnight stints, both starting off and taking the chequered flag.

His victory put the Aston Martin crew in the lead in the World Endurance Championship with one round remaining, and he was keen to praise the work his team did in contributing to the success.

Eastwood also admitted that anyone who wins in such a difficult and intense race needs to have a significant amount of good fortune.

"The team have an absolute slog of a week and especially this year because it was a bit more of a crammed event," he continued.

"We do a pit-stop every 56 minutes for 24 hours on the bounce. The thing that people don't realise is that the guys have been there from 8am preparing everything.

"So they haven't actually slept in 40 hours and yet they still have to do the pit stop - four tyres between four guys in about nine seconds.

"I got a report through from Aston Martin and we had the least amount of time in the pits. That is one of the big keys to actually winning the event.

"So much has to go right to win the event, which I knew about from the last two years when we got unlucky in a few different ways. Thankfully for me and my team this year it panned out pretty well."

Click here to listen to the full version of Charlie Eastwood's Sportsound Extra Time interview.

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