Josh Pierson is set to make a record debut at Le Mans at just 16 years old

Pierson will be 16 years and 118 days old when he starts racing at the Sarthe Circuit in northwestern France, 84 days younger than his compatriot Matt McMurry when he set the record in 2014.

“It’s nice to come to a historic event and know that no matter what happens, I’ll be part of that story,” the Oregon-based pilot told Reuters ahead of the 90th edition of a race that took place for the first time in May 1923.

“But overall, this is what I’m thinking about. I’m here to be the best pilot I can be, and that’s my job. That’s my main goal. I’m not really worried about anything else.”

Pierson competes in the second LMP2 category for the United Autosports team, co-founded and owned by McLaren Formula One boss Zak Brown.

His teammates in the Oreca 07-Gibson # 23 car are the British Oliver Jarvis, who won the 24-hour Daytona and Le Mans LMP2 race in 2017 this year, and the winner of the Formula E race, Alex Lynn.

Pierson is already the youngest winner of the World Endurance Championship, winning the LMP2 with Jarvis and former Formula One driver Paul di Resta in the 1,000-mile run at Sebring in March last year.

“I think he definitely showed me my strengths, he showed me that I am here to win and compete like everyone else, and that it was not just because of this or that that I succeeded,” he said.

The American started playing karting at the age of two, but does not come from a motor sports environment, except for his father who did a few club races and the family who watched various series as fans.

He said it was never something he felt pushed into.

“I focused a lot on myself and what I was doing, and if someone said it might be too early, well, it was to be expected,” he added.

“I’m very confident and I don’t think I would have gotten here if I hadn’t made the right decisions and if someone hadn’t thought I was good enough.”

Pierson has remained open about his future and whether the road ahead will lead to endurance racing or IndyCar and Formula 1 – two series he is passionate about and would love to have a chance at.

In the meantime, he will face the challenge of speeding down the Mulsanne straight in the dark and possibly in the rain, with the headlights bouncing in the rain and splashing.

“Night is not new, and I’ve had a lot of rain races in my career,” he said. “I’m ready for anything we come across.”

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