Among the many incredible sights and sounds of the 2012 Le Mans 24-hour race is one that you might not expect to see. Hidden away in the support paddock where only the bravest and most dedicated race fans dare to tread, is a car very familiar to most viewers of In Pit Lane.
Western Australian driver and well-known historic racing enthusiast Paul Stubber has brought one of Australia’s most famous and successful sports racing cars to the most famous sports car race in the world.
The Veskanda dominated Australian Sportscar racing in the 1980’s to the point that it effectively killed off the category down under. The car gained international attention when it ran at the ill-fated Sandown round of the world Endurance Championship where it took on the might of Mercedes, Porsche, and Jaguar.
Built by South Australian company K&A engineering, best known for their Sports Sedan construction, the Chev powered coupe has been a well-known feature of local historic racing for several years.
For Stubber, the chance to race this little piece of Aussie racing history at the world’s most famous race circuit, was an opportunity far too good to miss.
“It’s my first time racing (at Le Mans) said Stubber. “We came (here) last year just to get the lie of the land, but I think once I got here I said to myself ‘that’s a track I need to race on’”
Stubber had high expectations of the track and certainly after his first experience it has more than lived up to those expectations. ‘The greater percentage of the track is stop-go corners, but at Indianapolis you’re just gassing it through, then your fully backed up under barking again for another stop and go. You sort of think you’d better look around and pay attention, because it is just very, very fast.”
The reaction to the Veskanda has surprised the team and the car has attracted plenty of attention from the hardcore race enthusiasts at Le Mans. “Interestingly enough a lot of people know about the car I’m constantly being quite surprised of their knowledge, particularly of the officials here, but certainly nobody seen it in the flesh and they’ve all been very welcoming, very warm and highly appreciative of the fact that we have brought it all way out here from Australia “
Stubber was seventh quickest in qualifying for Saturday morning’s one-hour Group C race, a popular feature in the warmup to the main event at 3 PM local time.