Benoît Tréluyer: Welcome to my home - Fuji

After taking nine victories at the Mount Fuji circuit over a decade spent competing in the Land of the Rising Sun, Benoît Tréluyer returns to the sacred mountain this weekend (October 14) for the penultimate FIA World Endurance Championship event of the season hunting win number 10. 


Benoit Tréluyer celebrates victory in Bahrain
Benoit Tréluyer celebrates victory in Bahrain

Photo by: Audi Communications Motorsport


It has been almost a year since Benoît set foot in Japan and the Frenchman is hard pushed to recall when he last spent so long away from his adoptive homeland. “12 years ago, maybe,” says Tréluyer, who forged his racing reputation in the country thanks to countless victories and titles in Formula 3 (2001), Formula Nippon (2006) and Super GT (2008). Though the Alençon native now resides in the south of France, he has not forgotten the country that gave him his big break, nor the fans who adopted him as one of their own.


“I arrived in Tokyo on Monday morning,” explains Benoît. “I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep on the plane! I haven’t been here since last December and must admit that I missed Japan. At Narita airport, it was strange to have to go to the rental counter rather than having my own car waiting for me. I had the odd feeling of being away from home and yet somewhere very familiar.”


Benoît spent his day in the Japanese capital visiting friends who will not be at Sunday’s race, then headed for the city of Gotemba at the foot of sacred Mount Fuji.


“I lived in Gotemba for two years,” says Benoît. “I had a house there and got to know the place very well. On Tuesday evening I went to Mizuki, a teppanyaki restaurant where I used to eat regularly, which is about two hundred yards from my old home. The boss was never the talkative type, but when I walked in he put down his chopsticks to greet me and ask about my wife Melanie and my son Jules. It was an honour and I really appreciated the gesture. I was accompanied by André (Lotterer), my journalist friend Yumiko and her husband Iga'chan, who was my mechanic in Super GT.”


Though an old friendship unites Lotterer and Benoît, the pair rarely worked together in Japan. “Coming to Fuji with Andre is very different from the old days,” he smiles. “When I raced in Japan we drove for different teams and didn’t stay in the same hotels. Now we travel together and, as we both still have our own little tricks and shortcuts, we argue playfully while Marcel (Fässler) watches in amazement!”


The third member of the world championship-leading crew has never raced in Japan and is sampling his first experience of the country while his two team-mates act as eager tour guides.


“We’ve let him see our Japan and are delighted to do so,” says Benoît. “I've left so much of myself in this country that I still feel at home here. I think it is the same for André.”


As such Benoît is keen to share his visit with the Japanese fans who cheered him on during his Formula Nippon and Super GT days. “It is still fairly quiet at the moment, but there will be a lot of people at the circuit this weekend. The organisers are talking about 20,000 spectators, but I know there will be more. Obviously, with the F1 grand prix at Suzuka last week and MotoGP racing at Motegi this weekend, Japanese motorsport fans are very busy in October. That said I’m sure they will turn out in force and I am looking forward to the reunion.”

Before that, Benoît has had the chance to get back behind the wheel of his #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro at the track on which he has triumphed nine times in single-seaters and GTs.


“I won the last race on the old circuit and the first on the new one so I have a good record here, even if it's not my favourite track in Japan. It is quite technical, with an extremely long straight that ends with a hairpin before three fast corners and then some slow turns. In our Audi, the braking for turn one is just incredible – I've never braked so late here! In fact, it took several attempts to forget my old marks. We completed a lot of work during the test session and all three of us got through what we needed to. We now have all day tomorrow for data analysis and to prepare ourselves fully for the weekend.”


The Japanese race will be vital for Benoît and his team-mates who currently lead the championship by 13.5 points from fellow Audi drivers Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish. With just two rounds left to run, Japan could be the scene of another great moment in Tréluyer’s career .

Source: Benoît Tréluyer

shares
comments
6 Hours of Fuji - Panciatici is still optimistic
Previous article

6 Hours of Fuji - Panciatici is still optimistic

Next article

Unfinished business for Ryan Dalziel in Japan

Unfinished business for Ryan Dalziel in Japan
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021