Dillmann on Villeneuve: “I look forward to sharing a car with this legend!”
Photo: Michelin Le Mans Cup

Dillmann on Villeneuve: “I look forward to sharing a car with this legend!”

Tom Dillmann will be racing in the FIA WEC’s Hypercar category this year joining Jacques Villeneuve and Esteban Guerrieri in the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 360.

Having raced in LMP1 from 2018 – 2020, as well as at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on several occasions, Dillmann has plenty of sportscar experience but there’s no denying that the 2023 WEC season will be his biggest challenge to date.

We caught up with the reigning Michelin Le Mans Cup Drivers’ Champion to get his thoughts on the season ahead…

HI Tom, have you driven the new Vanwall Vandervell 360 car yet? 

“Yes, I did most of the testing together with Esteban Guerrieri. It is still a prototype with the same power as an LMP1 but heavier and on a lower downforce/drag configuration. So, it’s less ‘planted’.”

You will be racing alongside former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and former 24 Hours of Nürburgring winner and touring car legend Esteban Guerrieri. Have you worked with them before? 

“I actually met Esteban when I first tested a Formula Renault 3.5. It was a test for all the champions of Formula 3 and Formula Renault 2.0 and, as I drove his car, he was there to help. We finished first in that test, and we kept in touch ever since. I also know Jacques Villeneuve a little bit and I look forward to sharing a car with this legend!”

What are the realistic goals for yourself and the team in 2023?

“Being a small team, we will need to punch above our weight. From my point of view the regulations should allow us to be competitive but there is still a lot to do on the operational side and we as a team need to do a perfect job. That involves every crew member. In Sebring it will be the beginning and we will need some time for the team to operate at a very high level together. From then on, we will need to improve step by step to be ready at Spa and Le Mans and really see what we can do.”

The first race is at Sebring in March. What are your thoughts on the track, especially the infamous uneven track surface? 

“I have never driven in Sebring so far, but it looks like a tough one to master and one that needs a bit of time and respect to be on the limit. A good challenge!”

The 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans is going to be very special as the ACO celebrate 100 years since the first race in 1923.  As a driver, and a Frenchman, what makes Le Mans special for you?

“Le Mans is part of my youth; I’ve watched the race since I was 8 years old almost in full and have a lot of memories watching through the night. I love the track and have felt instantly at home the first time I drove it in 2014 for the Carrera Cup race. When you have passion for motorsport since you are a child, it is the kind of track you already know a lot of details of even though you have never driven it.”

Which of the other circuits on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar are you looking forward to the most and why?  

“Spa is always a highlight due to the layout even though the six hour is often a crazy race with the weather! I think Fuji with the fans is awesome too.”

What did winning the Michelin Le Mans Cup title in 2022 mean to you? Did winning this series help you with your move to WEC in 2023?

“The truth is that I raced in Michelin Le Mans Cup as the Vanwall Hypercar was not yet race ready for the 2022 season. It ended up being a great season and I enjoyed it a lot with a good team (Racing Spirit of Leman) and a top teammate. It is always good to win races and championships, my third in cars. It was also good to win this one in particular because LMC being PRO/AM I was able to involve my abilities for coaching in the result.”