When you come from the Sarthe and you are a driver, you definitely think of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In the Canal family, Francis, the father, entered the event in 1974 in a Mazda RX 3. Thirty-six years later, it was Julien, the son, who began a long series of participation in the mancelle classic that still continues. , he who has a fast food establishment on the edge of Hunaudières and a few meters from the Place de la République, the place of technical and administrative inspection.
Since 2010, Julien Canal has never missed a release. We find him this year in the Oreca 07 entered by Alpine with Matthieu Vaxiviere and Charles Miles at his side. So it is with some emotion that Julien Canal will take his 14th start in the Sarthe. After Francis and Julien, another member of the Canal family would see himself well at first after a few years.
How do you feel at the dawn of this century?
It must be special because this number is symbolic and you can only experience it once in your life. I had the chance to drive a car not long ago in Chenard and Walcker similar to the one that won in 1923. I completed a few laps of the Circuit Bugatti and I must admit that it was moving. It was crazy to be able to try it. I thought it was absolutely crazy and I was full of emotions. It is a real privilege to have this opportunity. At the beginning of my career, I only drove chairs and I didn’t see things the same way. I have learned to appreciate this race over the years.
What? Do you feel that the city has gradually grown in power over this century?
We feel the excitement at Le Mans among locals and businesses. There is a real desire to live all this together. Everyone wants to join the party. The price of success is that all the tickets are gone, so not everyone can be there. Every now and then I get a message asking me where.
What? do you have memories that you have saved?
I have a bunch of home storage stuff in a cupboard in my garage with a heater to prevent any moisture effects. I have photos, passports and many things. I also have many memories in mind. In 1993, I told Christophe Dechavanne who was driving the Venturi car. I was 11 years old. Later, I had dinner with him at the Porsche Cup meeting in Dijon. Time passes but memory remains. I will compete in my 14th 24 Hours of Le Mans, I have two children aged 13 and 11 who play karting.
Dogs are not cats…
I can’t be selfish and ban them from motorsport. I can’t do this to you. I’m not pushing it but they follow a logical path to get there. The challenge is to make them understand that not everything happens at once. It is a very good life lesson. I took my children to Lonato (a very famous karting track, editor’s note) with my father. There was a lot of emotion.
Do you reproduce the same pattern as your father and you?
Already, school results must follow (laughs). When I climbed, my father was always by my side. During my youth, we often butted heads when he was on the edge of the track. I know it’s hard for a father to see his son on the track. With my children, I am there but I don’t want to replace the team. The financial side should also be considered. When I drove, it was around 250,000 francs for the Italy + World plan and I was a semi-official driver. Now, we are still asking for 250,000 euros, but in euros.