British sports car driver Archie Hamilton will achieve a lifetime's ambition by racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, 60 years after his grandfather Duncan won the race with Jaguar.
GT Open series regular Hamilton, who will race one of the G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan 03s in the LMP2 class, explained that taking part in the 24 Hours was the goal he set himself when he started his career.
"Going to Le Mans was always my aim when I started racing and even before that," said the 22-year-old, "and there's no better time to do it than on the 60th anniversary of my grandfather's victory.
"It's a great story and that helped me get the partners together to make it happen. I was only three when my grandfather died, but his victory was a major thing in my family. His success at Le Mans has been plastered around my life.
"It's amazing to be going to Le Mans, but I hope it's not going to be just for one year. I want this to be the first of many."
Hamilton said that he looked to the LMP2 category once he realized there was no chance of racing a Porsche, the marque with which he has competed in GT Open over the past two seasons.
"All the Porsche seats were gone, so if I couldn't do it in a 911, then I wanted to do it in a prototype," explained Hamilton, who will share the G-Drive car with Shinji Nakano and Tor Graves. "I've been lucky enough to get in with one of the best teams in P2."
PROTOTYPE EXPERIENCE FROM ALMS LMPC
Hamilton's previous experience at the wheel of a prototype came in an LMPC class ORECA-Chevrolet FLM09 with a one-off in the Monterey American Le Mans Series round last year.
"I won't get to drive the P2 car until the test day [on June 9] except at the shakedown on an airfield, but I'm at least familiar with the cockpit layout from the LMPC car," he said.
Hamilton has already raced on the full Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans. He contested the French Porsche Carrera Cup race that took place ahead of the start of the 24 Hours in 2010.
Duncan Hamilton, who died in 1994, won Le Mans in 1953 aboard a factory Jaguar C-type shared with Tony Rolt (LEFT).
Their victory has entered the folklore of the race because their car was initially disqualified from the event. The car was subsequently reinstated after much arguing by Jaguar team manager Frank "Lofty" England, who found his drivers drunk in Le Mans city center on race day morning.