Former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello says his grand debut at Le Mans this month represents an important milestone in his celebrated career.
The Brazilian raced at the pinnacle of motorsport for almost two decades, setting a record for longevity with 323 Grand Prix while collecting eleven wins on the way.
Barrichello retired from F1 at the end of the 2011 season but remained very active, running in IndyCar, Brazilian Stock Cars and in the Daytona 24 Hours.
The 45-year-old confirmed late last year his ambition of racing at Le Mans in 2017, teaming up with Racing Team Nederland in the LMP2 class alongside veteran Jan Lammers and Frits van Eerd.
"I watched the race on TV for such a long and time," said Barrichello who got his first taste of Le Mans during yesterday's test day.
"The fact that I have done Monaco and I have done Indianapolis, I think Le Mans is something that is important to do as well as part of my career too.
"The 24 Hours are always in the radar of any racing driver, I am really happy to be here and I think we can do fine."
Barrichello said his passion for racing still burns brightly, admitting that he's more active now than he has ever been.
"Most important is the fact that I love what I do. When I raced in Formula 1 after 19 years, people said to me: ‘You should stop, you’ve done so much already’.
"But I will stop when I think I don’t love driving anymore."
"I’m doing more driving now than I did when I was in Formula 1 with Stock Cars and karting, so I am still a very competitive person," he added.
"So the shot at Le Mans is very nice to do because I love what I do very much."