PaperCity Magazine

September 2018- Dallas

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to relax for a few hours before the big show. I know I will need every ounce of energy over the next 24 hours, as I will be starting the race for our team. I'm surprisingly calm, which I did not expect — but that changes when I approach the grid and see tennis pro Rafael Nadal warming up his arm to wave the green fl ag (which turned out to be the Spanish fl ag) and Juan Pablo Montoya seated next to me in his car as he prepares to start the race. Things start smoothly, and we gain a handful of positions before settling into a nice rhythm. Before the driver change, we are slotted into 16th position and slowly begin picking up pace as the track came to suit our car better. It's a diffi cult balance between pushing hard and taking risks to pass, while still making sure the car is safe and fast for the last few hours of the race distance. The second day of racing begins at 7 am. Times suddenly tumble as drivers push further and further, and the track begins to grip up from all of the cars laying rubber down on the roads. When I get into the car for my fi nal stint, we have pushed into 11th position; I'm worried I will not be able to make up the gap needed to break into the top 10. Instead of asking for updates every other lap, I keep my head down and push the car as much as I can. The brakes start to get a bit soft in the last hour — an expected occurrence after 23 hours of hard use, braking from 210 miles per hour down to several slow fi rst- and second-gear corners. Just as the 24 hours wind down, I cross the line directly behind the overall race leaders, and we all begin the slow cruise around the circuit and back to pit lane. I'm scared to ask, but fi nally radio in to fi nd out that we have pushed into the top 10 in the LMP2 category. I am pleased with our results, considering this was my fi rst attempt at the endurance classic. The drive to pit lane is unforgettable. All 1,600 of the corner workers line the nine-mile circuit, waving their fl ags and cheering for the race fi nishers. I knew about this tradition, but I did not realize how many people would swarm the track to get as close to us as they can. I stop the car in a closed- off parc fermé area, then walk back to pit lane, where the de Boulle Motorsports team and the Jackie Chan DC Racing crew are waiting. The guys are exhausted but excited that we slid into the top 10. These moments will be with me forever. It isn't every day that you live out a childhood dream. Still, the gravitas of the experience doesn't set in until my second time in the car that day, just before nightfall. The sun has just set, and I realize that I'm driving through the Porsche curves of the Circuit de La Sarthe at 155 miles per hour in darkness. Utterly surreal. The de Boulle Motorsports team in Le Mans, France Briggs Freeman Carla Perez_dstd0918.indd 1 8/14/18 9:09 AM

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