Vital role at Le Mans

Joseph Bulmer

BARNSTAPLE-born Howden Haynes is bidding for glory in arguably the world’s toughest motor race this month.

The motorsport engineer will play a vital role in Audi’s bid to win the Le Mans 24 Hour sportscar endurance race on June 11-12 for the high-profile “factory” Audi Sport team.

Haynes, aged 32, will be masterminding the German car manufacturer’s bid for glory from the pit-wall at the French track in the role of No 1 race engineer.

He said: “I’m extremely proud to be working trackside as race engineer for Audi’s Le Mans programme. I’m responsible for the final decisions on the racecar. If a part on the car moves, changes temperature or changes pressure, I’m logging it. A snapshot of my computer screens could show 50 channels at one time. The collected information is then used by me to give instructions over a radio to the driver to help maintain tyres or maximise the engine performance for example. In addition to looking after all functions of the car, I have to manage the tyre allocation, fuel stops, driver time in the car while keeping an eye on the weather. This information is used to make strategy decisions on when to pit for fuel and which variant of tyre to use.”

Haynes works on the Audi R18 TDI driven by Scotland’s Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Dindo Capello (Italy).

This year’s Le Mans event marks Haynes’ 10th for the former resident of Bradworthy, who was initiated into engineering at his grandfather’s Haynes Motors garage in Holsworthy.