Despite a last-minute scare, Edgar Lau is set for the biggest race of his life. The 26-year-old will compete in the curtain-raiser race of the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday, the world’s oldest endurance sports car event.

Participating in the Road to Le Mans race caps an impressive short career for the virtual-to-real race driver, who competed in the Guia GT 2.0 race in the Macau Grand Prix in November last year.

But it nearly did not happen when Lau’s co-driver pulled out of the KEO Racing team , which was forced to withdraw. But he found another team at the last minute – DKR Engineering – to pilot their new Norma M30 LMP3.

“It’s such a famous track,” he said of the Circuit de la Sarthe in France earlier last week. “I’m up against the world’s best drivers, it’s really to learn from them, just to take in as much information as I can.”

Thinking back

Reflecting on a short few months since the Macau Grand Prix where he competed in races in China and the United States, Lau said the biggest change had been his race attitude and preparation.

Edgar Lau on a simulator in Macau. Photo :CBR Media
Edgar Lau on a simulator in Macau. Photo: CBR Media

“I now have more of an idea of a checklist, of objectives that I have to work on before getting on the track. After each training session, there are many things I look at specifically as well,” he said.

“I think one of the things I’ve learnt during Macau, obviously real world racing has a lot of outside factors. Even though you are really good on the sim, you have to be really good, very analytical every minute and every second, of the changes on track.”

Edgar lau Asian at Le Mans Series Sprint Cup Race 1 Podium finish in Sepang. Photo: CBR Media
Edgar Lau’s podium finish at the Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup Race 1 in Sepang. Photo: CBR Media

“Like in Macau for instance,” he said, “There are actually bumps right before the two fastest turns in the circuit which you won’t be able to see even walking on the track.

“It really scares you a little bit if you are not prepared for that, especially when you are driving at 200km/h then you can really feel it, so those are the things that you have to adapt and adjust really fast as well by talking to people who raced on the track before.”

Preparation

Lau has been training in the US since earlier this year in preparation for his Le Mans race. He also hopes to dispel notions that racing is a soft sport.

Edgar Lau (left) and Yoshi Mori(right) at Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup. Photo: CBR Media
Edgar Lau (left) and Yoshi Mori (right) at Asian Le Mans Series Sprint Cup. Photo: CBR Media

“I’ve been cycling every day since March [when I was in the US] and workout physically a lot other than driving and doing stamina training,” he said.

“The physique of the driver is really important and fitness is a huge part of racing. Once you lose your concentration due to fatigue, all hell breaks loose.”

Flying the flag

Edgar Lau coming in first in the Richburg Cup at Macau Racing Festival, June 2016. Photo: CBR Media
Edgar Lau coming in first in the Richburg Cup at Macau Racing Festival, June 2016. Photo: CBR Media

As one of the two Hong Kong drivers in the race event, Lau hopes his appearance at the famed circuit will hopefully raise the profile of motorsports in Hong Kong.

He is also the only driver at the race event to be flying the GT Academy flag, of which he is a 2014 alumni. The GT Academy is a program where gamers are selected to become real race drivers.

“I will be carrying the Hong Kong flag at Le Mans and my ultimate goal is to race in the 24 Hours event. It’s a big step to be at that race weekend, actually racing, so that people can see [me competing],” he said.

Asked about his expectations for the race, Lau is confident and optimistic: “I can’t wait to get back into the car for the race, it’s so much fun. I think there should be some surprises.”