Thursday, 30 April 2015

Nakajima in hospital after accident with #8 Audi

Kazuki Nakajima was moved from the circuit's medical centre to hospital after an accident between his Toyota and the #8 Audi driven by Oliver Jarvis. It happened on a wet track in free practice at the end of The Kemmel Straight approaching Les Combes. It seems that Nakajima was on his out lap and an LMP2 car moved away from from behind the Audi to let him through but Nakajimi drove into the back of the Audi. Toyota tell us that the #1 car has not suffered any major damage but Audi informed us that the damage to the #8 car is more serious. Toyota reckon that Nakajima is probably OK but he was moved to hospital as a precaution because of back pains.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The 83rd LE MANS 24 HOURS 2015 - Club Arnage Guide

(Updated after Silverstone WEC)

Changes this year
Regulations
Various F1 type regulations restricting the amount of testing, engines, tyres , gearboxes, etc, used in the WEC will be introduced this year. These were confirmed in March. The average weight of a crew must be 80 kgs (weight including race wear, etc.) and if the average is less then ballast must be carried.
For Le Mans LMP1 and P2 will be permitted to use a maximum of 7 sets of tyres in Free Practice, Qualifying and the warm-up (almost 12 hours of track time). For GTE Pro and Am they will be permitted 8 sets. Four “Joker” tyres will be additionally authorised for practice in each class. For the race LMP1 cars will be limited to 12 sets + 2 sets for any new prototypes. In LMP2, GTE Pro and Am 16 sets of tyres will be allowed for the race.

Circuit changes
Work to stabilise the sides of the track between Mulsanne Corner and the entrance to the Porsche Curves by tarmacing over some of the grass verges was completed before Christmas at a cost of €425,000.
At the Porsche Curves work has started which will be ongoing for about 3 years. At the first right hand corner the existing gravel trap will be replaced by an abrasive bitumen coating and new tyre barriers. The width of the second left hand part will be expanded by about 3 metres and again grass will be replaced by bitumen. SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers will be installed over a distance of about 220 metres. Phase one of this work started in Feb 2015 and should be completed by mid May.
The new public road branching left before Indianapolis corner will not be started until winter 2015/16. This will mean the stretch from Indy to Arnage will be closed to the public during the rest of the year.
Other
After 14 years as Race Director, Daniel Poissenot is retiring. He will be replaced by his FIA WEC colleague Eduardo Freitas.
Cars and Drivers on the Grid (Confirmed drivers in Black - Possibles in Red)
LMP1 (14 CARS) – (Red number panels and have white headlamps. HY on engine cover depict a hybrid energy system being used. No Bronze rated drivers allowed. All cars are on Michelin tyres.)
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid driven by Sebastien Buemi/ Anthony Davidson/ Kazuki Nakajima (www.toyotahybridracing.com)
The reigning FIA WEC Champions Buemi and Davidson are joined by Nakajima from last year’s other Toyota. Nakajima should be available for the whole season having no clashing commitments in Super Formula in Japan this year. The Toyota will continue to use a 3.7 litre V8 petrol engine and will continue running in the 6mj energy recovery category with it’s unique super capacitor system (which is likely to be replaced for 2016).
@ Silverstone WEC the team finished 3rd overall.
#2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid driven by Alexander Wurz/ Stephane Sarrazin/ Mike Conway
Conway replaces Nicolas Lapierre,who is still under contract with the team as a test driver but unlikely to race drive this season having made occasional appearances in 2014 and will drive the #47 KCMG Oreca at Le Mans. Kamui Kobayashi will act as reserve driver 2015.
@ Silverstone WEC the team finished 4th overall after a stop to remove debris and fit a new nose cone.
#4 Team ByKolles CLM P1/01 – AER driven by Simon Trummer/ Pierre Kaffer/ Vitantonio Luizzi (www.bykolles.at)
All references to “Lotus” now appear to be gone from this team. The team will continue to run the AER P60 V6 Bi-Turbo engine. This year’s car has new suspension for this year and revised aero which will run from Spa onwards. It is also running a Xtrac gearbox instead of last year’s Hewland . Trummer is confirmed for the whole season.
@ Silverstone WEC, where Trummer was joined by Liuzzi and Christian Klein in the 2014 car,the team retired 40 miutes from the end of the race (with an engine water leak) and was not classified.
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid driven by Andre Lotterer/Benoit Treluyer/Marcel Fassler (www.joest-racing.de) (www.audi-motorsport.com)
Audi competes for the 17th year in succession and last year’s winners return having been given an automatic invitation. The team which has moved in to their new base at Neuberg over the winter will be moving from a 2mj to a 4mj energy recovery system, but will continue to run a 4.0 litre V6 diesel engine.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 1st overall winning by just over 4 seconds despite a late stop and go penalty for an overtaking infringement. The team ,taking their joint 9th WEC win, took the RAC Tourist Trophy setting a new record for laps completed and Lotterer setting a new lap record.
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid driven by Oliver Jarvis/Lucas di Grassi/Loic Duval
Oliver Jarvis replaces the retired 9 times winner “Mr Le Mans” Tom Kristensen.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 5th overall, 4 laps down on the winners having lost time having repairs done to front and rear bodywork.
#9 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid driven by Marco Bonanomi/Filipe Albuquerque/Rene Rast
Rast joins the Audi team for 2 planned appearances at Le Mans and at Spa. He finished 5th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS. Albuquerque retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours driving a Starworks Oreca FLM09 PC.
Mike Rockenfeller will act as reserve driver for the team.
#12 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One – AER driven by Nicolas Prost/Nick Heidfeld/Mathias Beche(www.rebellion-racing.com)
Rebellion has replaced last year’s Toyota engines with AER engines which ran in last year’s Lotus/CLM. The team missed the Prologue and the 1st round at Silverstone whilst they complete the car which requires a redesign of the rear axle by car manufacturer Oreca.
#13 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One-AER driven by Dominik Kraihamer/Alexandre Imperatori/Daniel Abt
Kraihamer is joined this year by Imperatori, winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in 2012. Abt also joins and has previously raced in GP2, GP3 and Formula E.
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Timo Bernhard/Mark Webber/Brendon Hartley (Red ) (www.porsche.com/france/sportsandevents/motorsport/)
The Porsche’s are moving to an 8mj energy recovery system this year and will continue to use their 2.0 litre V4 turbo petrol engine. The car was known to be about 30kg overweight last year but is now on the weight limit.
The team conducted successful tests at Abu Dhabi and Bahrain early in the year. Hartley retired from the Daytona 24 hours and the Sebring 12 hours in a Starworks Riley-BMW DP. They were also fastest in the pre season Prologue at Paul Ricard (by more than 4 seconds compared to 2014).
@ Silverstone WEC, the team retired after 44 laps due to a gearbox problem after Hartley being fastest in Qualifying (the 4th consecutive WEC pole for the Porsche factory team).
#18 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Romain Dumas/Marc Lieb/Neel Jani (Black)
Lieb finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours.
@ Silverstone WEC the team finished 2nd overall.
#19 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Nico Hulkenberg/Earl Bamber/Nick Tandy (White)
The Porsche team will run this 3rd car at Spa and at Le Mans. Current Force India F1 driver Hulkenberg is joined by GTE drivers Bamber and Tandy.
Tandy finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours and again at Sebring with Bamber.
#21 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Hybrid driven by Tsugio Matsuda/Lucas Ordonez/Alex Buncombe (www.nissan-motorsports.com) (www.nismo.co.jp)
Nissan re-enter at the top level of Sports Car Racing after 16 years, with a radical front engine (V6 3 litre twin turbo petrol) and front wheel drive car, which was exclusively previewed in an advertisement during the half time break at this year’s Superbowl in February.
The team is based in Indianapolis at the former Forsythe Racing premises and assembled at All-American Racers in Santa Ana California.
The team missed the Prologue, Silverstone and Spa to sort out development after failing their original crash test. It is likely to run a 2mj energy recovery system which it will retrieve from the front axle, and has been tested thoroughly at Austin in the USA.
The #21 will only run at Le Mans. Matsuda is the reigning Super GT champion in Japan.
#22 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Hybrid driven by Harry Tincknell/Olivier Pla/Michael Krumm.
Pla joins from LMP2 team G-Drive Racing. Michael Krumm (who is only confirmed for Le Mans) has been undertaking much of the early testing for the team. Pla retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours in Tracy Krohn’s Ligier P2 but finished 6th at Sebring.
Tincknell joins from the winning LMP2 Jota team of last year.
#23 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Hybrid driven by Jann Mardenborough/Marc Gene/Max Chilton
Chilton joins after having driven in F1 for Marussia and drives with ex Audi driver and Le Mans winner Gene and Playstation Academy winner Mardenborough.
LMP2 (20 CARS) (Blue number panels and Yellow headlamps. Teams must include one bronze or silver rated driver).
#26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Roman Rusinov/Julien Canal/Sam Bird (www.oak-racing.com) (www.onroak.com)
The Ligier is constructed by Onroak Automotive, as are the Morgans.
@ Silverstone WEC the team won LM P2 by a lap from their team mates.
#27 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR01-Nissan Coupe driven by Maurizio Mediani/David Markasov/Nicolas Minassian (www.smpracing.ru)
The SMP cars were formerly run under the AF Corse banner, but this year from Le Mans will be run in house.
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team used Oreca 03s run by AF Corse (running as No 32) and finished 7th in LM P2 after spinning into the gravel with 20 minutes remaining.
#28 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Gustavo Yacaman/Ricardo Gonzalez/Luis Felipe (Pipo) Derani
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 2nd overall in LM P2 (hampered by a late steering issue) after being fastest in Qualifying.
#29 Pegasus Racing Morgan LMP2-Nissan driven by Leo Roussel/David Cheng/Ho-Pin Tung(www.pegasus-racing.com)
The team are racing the older “non EVO” Morgan. Cheng finished 7th in PC at Sebring.
@ Silverstone ELMS, where Roussel and Cheng were joined by Jonathan Coleman, they retired after 64 laps.
#30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2- Honda Coupe driven by Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel/David Heinemeier Hansson (www.esmracing.com)
The US team enter this year’s WEC after one appearance in China last year. The driving team retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours and again at Sebring. The team has decided to delay the homologation of the HPD ARX 04-b and used the older HPD ARX-03b chassis at Sebring and Silverstone. The Ligier will be used at Spa and Le Mans but will still use the Honda HR28TT V6 engine.
@ Silcerstone WEC, the team finished 3rd in LM P2 but were subsequently disqualified at post event scrutineering for having a badly worn underfloor skid plank.
#31 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2-Honda Coupe driven by Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek/Jonathon Fogarty
The team retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours and finished 8th in the Prototype class at Sebring.
@ Silverdsone WEC, Van Overbeek missed the race due to a cracked rib and was replaced by former Le Mans winner David Brabham and finished 6th in LM P2 after their team mates were disqualified, despite suffering gearbox problems and an oil leak.
#34 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Kevin Estre/Laurens Vanthoor/Chris Cumming (www.oakracing.com)
The team received an automatic invitation after winning the LM P2 class in last year’s Asian Le Mans Series. Cumming retired at Daytona but finished 6th in PC at Sebring. Estre finished 16th in GTD in a 911 Porsche America at Dytona.
Estre will drive the #91 GTE Pro Porsche at Spa.
#35 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Jacques Nicolet/Jean-Marc Merlin/Erik Maris
The all gentleman driver crew are led by Jacques Nicolet, the boss of Onroak Automotive and Oak Racing.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 5th in LM P2 after having a throttle problem.
#36 Signatech Alpine Alpine A450b-Nissan driven by Nelson Panciatici/Paul-Loup Chatin/Vincent Capillaire (www.signature-team.com)
The team received an automatic invitation after winning the LMP2 class in last year’s European Le Mans Series (and indeed in 2013). The car is an Oreca 03R but homologated as an Alpine.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team retired after Chatin crashed out after 20 laps.
#37 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR01-Nissan Coupe driven by Mikhail Aleshin/Kirill Ladygin/Anton Ladygin
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team used an Oreca 03 run by AF Corse (Running as No 34) and finished 8th in LM P2.
#38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S-Nissan driven by Simon Dolan/Mitch Evans/? (www.jotagroup.com)
The team received an automatic invitation after winning LMP2 in last year’s race. The Gibson is an updated version of last year’s Zytek.
@ Silverstone ELMS, where Dolan was joined by Felipe Albuquerque and Harry Tincknell the team finished 2nd in LM P2, despite a late spin by Tincknell.
#40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Tracy Krohn/Niclas Jonsson/Ozz Negri Jnr (www.krohnracing.net)
Krohn and Jonsson (with Alex Brundle and Olivier Pla) retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours and finished 6th overall at Sebring (with Olivier Pla). Negri retired from the Sebring 12 hours in a HPD Ligier JS P2.
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team finished 4th in LM P2.
#41 Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S-Nissan driven by Bjorn Wirdheim/ Jon Lancaster/Gary Hirsch (www.greavesmotorsport.com)
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team finished 1st overall in LM P2 after being on pole position.

#42 Strakka Racing Strakka Dome S103-Nissan Coupe driven by Nick Leventis/Danny Watts/Jonny Kane (www.strakkaracing.com)
The car missed 2014 due to the need for a major redesign.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 3rd in LM P2 (despite an early spin into the gravel) after the disqualification of No 30 ESM.

#43 Team SARD-Morand Morgan LMP2 Evo-SARD (Judd) driven by Oliver Webb/Pierre Ragues/Reality TV Show Winner
One driver will be chosen from 24 drivers on a reality TV programme “Raceto24” (www.raceto24.com). 24 drivers from 17 countries have been selected to take part over a period of 12 weeks, to produce a winner.
The team missed Silverstone after a late withdrawal due to contractual problems after agreement for a deal with Kairos Technologies was not completed on time.

#45 Ibanez Racing Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by Jose Ibanez/Pierre Perret/Ivan Bellarosa
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team finished 6th in LM P2.
#46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05-Nissan Coupe driven by Pierre Thiriet/Ludovic Badey/Tristan Gommendy
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team finished 3rd in LM P2 after Gommendy spun off late on after a touch by Lancaster.
#47 KCMG Oreca 05-Nissan Coupe driven by Matthew Howson/Richard Bradley/Nicolas Lapierre (www.kcmg.com.hk)
Toyota factory reserve driver Lapierre joins the team for Spa and Le Mans.
@ Silverstone WEC, Porsche P1 driver Nick Tandy drove for the team and they finished 4th in LM P2 after suffering a radiator failure.
#48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by Nathanael Berthon/Mark Patterson/Karun Chandhok
@ Silverstone ELMS, Berthon and Patterson joined by Michael Lyons, retired with mechanical problems after 83 laps.

LMGTE Pro (9 CARS) – (Green number panels and Yellow headlamps. No restrictions on drivers. All cars are on Michelin tyres).
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Gianmaria Bruni/Toni Vilander/Giancarlo Fisichella (www.afcorse.it)
Almost certainly the last Le Mans for the quasi works 458 before it is replaced by the Ferrari F488 in 2016. The team received an automatic invitation after winning GTE Pro in 2014. Bruni and Vilander retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours. Fisichella finished 2nd in GTLM at Sebring.
@ Silverstone WEC, Bruni and Vilander were 1st in GTE Pro.
#63 Corvette Racing-GM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe (www.corvetteracing.com)
The works Corvette team will probably only race at Le Mans in this year’s WEC.
The driving team finished 3rd overall and won GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours in January and won GTLM at Sebring finishing 10 th overall.
#64 Corvette Racing-GM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Jordan Taylor
Gavin and Milner with Simon Pagenaud finished 3rd in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours and 9th at Sebring. Taylor retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours in Corvette DP but finished 2nd at Sebring.
#71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Davide Rigon/James Calado/Olivier Beretta
Rigon retired from this year’s Daytona 24 Hours in a Risi Competizione Ferrari 458.
@ Silverstone WEC, Rigon and Calado finished 3rd in GTE Pro.
#91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Richard Lietz/Michael Christensen/Jorg Bergmeister (www.porsche.com/motorsport)
The Porsches have revised front aero this year and also a new refuelling system which may save up to 10 seconds per stop.
Christensen with Pilet (with Nick Tandy and Marc Lieb) finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours. Lietz finished 5th in GTLM at Sebring with Nick Tandy, Patrick Pilet and Earl Bamber.
@ Silverstone WEC, Lietz and Christensen finished 2nd overall in GTE Pro.
@ Spa, Porsche junior driver Sven Muller will drive this car with Kevin Estre.
#92 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Patrick Pilet/Frederic Makowiecki/Wolf Henzler
Pilet with Christensen finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours and also 5th at Sebring. Makowiecki with Jorg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber finished 7th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours earlier this year. Henzler retired from the Daytona 24 hours in a Team Falken Porsche 991 but finished 3rd in GTLM at Sebring. Bergmeister with Makowiecki and Bamber finished 7th in GTLM at Sebring.
@ Silverstone WEC, Pilet and Makowiecki finished 7th in GTE Pro after front suspension trouble.
@ Spa, Makowiecki and Lietz will drive this car.
#95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Nicki Thiim/Christoffer Nygaard/Marco Sorensen (www.astonmartinracing.com)
This year may see the swansong of the current Vantage before it is replaced by it’s successor next year. The diameter of the Aston’s air intake restrictors has increased by 0.8mm this year.
The “Dane Train” moves up to GTE Pro this year. Nygaard finished 13th in GTD at the Daytona 24 Hours earlier this year. Sorensen joins the team this year having been a winner in GP2 and Renault 3.5.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 4th in GTE Pro after being in pole position.
#97 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Darren Turner/Stefan Mucke/Rob Bell
@ Silverstone WEC, Turner and Mucke finished 5th in GTE Pro.
#99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Fernando Rees/Alex MacDowall/Richie Stanaway
No longer having a link with Craft-Bamboo the car this year runs with Valero sponsorship.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 6th in GTE Pro.
LMGTE Am (13 CARS) –(Orange number panels and Yellow headlamps. At least one bronze and one bronze or silver rated driver. All cars are on Michelin tyres except #66 Ferrari running on Dunlops).
#50 Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Gianluca Roda/Paolo Ruberti/Kristian Poulsen (www.larbre-competition.com)
Roda and Ruberti move over from the 8 Star/AF Corse Ferrari team.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 7th in GTE Am despite a puncture and a one minute stopa and go for a pit stop violation.
Poulsen retired from the ELMS race driving the #68 Massive Motorsport GTC Aston Martin Vantage with Casper Elgaard and Simon Moller.
#53 Riley Motorsports-TI Automotive Dodge Viper GTS-R driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen/Ben Keating/Marc Miller
The car was originally the first reserve but made it in to the race after the withdrawal of #39 Team Sard-Morand Morgan.
The team finished 9th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours and Sebring in a Dodge Viper SRT, Keating also shered the winning GTD Viper. Goossens finished 4th in GTD at Sebring.

#55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Duncan Cameron/Matt Griffin/Alex Mortimer
The team received an automatic invitation after finishing 2nd in LM GTE in the European Le Mans Series last year. Griffin finished 4th in GTD at Daytona in a Ferrari 458.
@ Silverstone ELMS, Cameron and Griffin were joined by Aaron Scott and finished 3rd in LM GTE.
#61 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Peter Ashley Mann/Raffaele Giammaria/Matteo Cressoni
@ Silverstone ELMS, the team (driving as car No 51) retired after 35 laps.
#62 Scuderia Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Bill Sweedler/Townsend Bell/Jeff Segal
The team received an automatic invitation after being nominated by the Tudor United Sports Car Championship (the other nominees Wayne Taylor Racing declined their invitation in LM P2).
Sweedler and Bell finished 6th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Ferrari 458 and 3rd at Sebring.
#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by George Richardson/Kuba Giermaziak/ Abdulaziz Al-Faisal
This is the only GTE Am car running on Dunlop tyres at Le Mans.
Al-Faisal won the Dubai 24 hours in January driving a Black Falcon Mercedes.
@ Silverstone ELMS, Richardson joined by Robert Smith and Sam Tordoff finished 2nd in LM GTE.
#67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) driven by Han-Chen Chen/Tatsuya Tanigawa/Carlo van Dam
The team received 2 automatic invitations (see #68 below) after finishing 1st and 2nd in GTC in last year’s Asian Le Mans Series. The team has sourced their 3 year old 997s from the Belgian Prospeed team.
#68 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) driven by Jun-San Chen/Ryohei Sakaguchi/?
#72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Viktor Shaitar/Aleksey Basov/Andrea Bertolini (www.smpracing.ru)
The team received an automatic invitation after winning LM GTE (and GTC) in the European Le Mans Series last year. Bertolini finished 14th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours for Scuderia Corsa and 2nd at Sebring.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 3rd in GTE Am.
#77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Patrick Dempsey/Patrick Long/Marco Seefried (www.patrickdempsey.com)
Actor/Racer Dempsey finished 3rd in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Wright Motorsports 911GT America. Long retired from the Daytona 24 hours in a Falken Tire Porsche 991 but finished 3rd in GTLM at Sebring. Seefried finished 11th in GTD at Sebring in a 991.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 6th in GTE Am.
#83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Francois Perrodo/Emmanuel Collard/Rui Aguas (www.afcorse.it)
Aguas finished 4th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Ferrari 458 and 10th at Sebring. Perrodo and Collard (with Bruni and Vilander) retired from the race.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 2nd in GTE Am. Aguas also retired in the ELMS race driving #81 Ferrari 458 with Stephen Wyatt and Michele Rugalo.
#88 Abu Dhabi – Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Christian Ried/Khaled Al Qubaisi /Klaus Bachler
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 5th in GTE Am.
#96 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Roald Goethe/Stuart Hall/Francesco Castellacci
The team received an automatic invitation after winning the GTE Am class at last year’s Le Mans (although the winning “Dane Train” crew will race this year in GTE Pro). The team raced in ELMS in 2014 but Hall and Jamie Campbell-Walter won FIA GTE Am in 2013.
Goethe finished 8th in the Dubai 24 hours in January driving a Gulf Racing Lamborghini Gallardo.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 4th in GTE Am. Goethe finished 3rd in the ELMS race driving the #85 Lamborghini Gallardo LPS60 in GTC with Daniel Brown and Archie Hamilton. Castelacci and Hall retired in the ELMS race driving the #62 AF Corse Ferrari 458 with Thomas Flohr.
#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda
The driving team finished 6th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours (with Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke) and 6th again at Sebring with Darren Turner. Niki Lauda’s son joins the team this year having previously run in the DTM.
@ Silverstone WEC, the team finished 1st in GTE AM having started on pole position.
Reserve Entries (in the order that they will be invited to replace drop outs)
1 LMP2 #49 KCMG Oreca 03R (or 05)-Nissan driven by ?/?/?
Will take part in the Test day.
2 GTE-Am #60 Formula Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Johnny Laursen/Mikkel Mac Jensen/Andrea Rizzoli
Racing in this year’s ELMS Series. The team finished 6th in GTE at Silverstone. Will take part in the Test day.
3 GTE-Am #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Michael Wainwright/Adam Carroll/Phil Keen
Phil Keen fiished 6th overall in a Corvette DP at Daytona. Racing in this year’s ELMS Series. The team finished 1st overall in GTE at Silverstone. Will take part in the Test day.
4 GTE-Am #65 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by ?/?/?
Will miss the Test day.
5 LMP2 #44 Ibanez Racing Oreca 03R-Nissan (Wolf GB08) driven by Michele La Rosa/ Yutaka Yamagishi
Racing in this Year’s ELMS Series. The team retired at Silverstone after 99 laps. Will take part in the Test day.
(There is no entry in Garage 56 for Innovative Technologies this year).
Cars appearing at the Test Day on Sunday 31st May only.
GTE Am #81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Pierguiseppe Perazzini/Marco Cioci/
Cioci finished 10th in GTD at Sebring and retired from the ELMS race at Silverstone driving Ferrari 458s.
GTE Am #82 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Yannick Mallegol//
LMP3 #74 Team LNT Ginetta-Nissan driven by Michael Simpson/Gaetan Paletou
Paletou is a 2014 winner of the 2014 Europe Nissan Playstation Academy. They finished 2nd to their team mates at the ELMS race at Silverstone in LMP3.
LMP3 #75 Team LNT Ginetta –Nissan driven by Sir Chris Hoy/Charlie Robertson
Sir Chris (6 times Olympic gold medal winning cyclist) and Robertson won LMP3 at theELMS race at Silverstone by a lap from their team mates.
LMP3 #73 Scuderia Villorba Corse Ginette-Nissan driven by Roberto Lacorte/Giorgio Sernagiotto
Reserve car at the Test day.
Timetable
09.00-18.00 Friday May 29th Test Day Scrutineering @ the Circuit
08.30-15.00 Saturday May 30th Test Day Scrutineering @ the Circuit
09.00-13.00 Sunday May 31st Test Day Session 1
14.00-18.00 “ “ “ Test Day Session 2
14.30-19.00 Sunday June 7th Scrutineering @ Place de la Republique
10.00-18.00 Monday June 8th “ “ “
17.00 Tuesday June 9th Drivers’ Autograph Session @ the Circuit
16.00-20.00 Wednesday June 10th Free Practice Session
22.00-24.00 “ “ Qualifying Session 1
19.00-21.00 Thursday June 11th Qualifying Session 2
22.00-24.00 “ “ Qualifying Session 3
17.30-19.00 Friday June 12th Drivers’ Parade in the City Centre
09.00-09.45 Saturday June 13th Warm Up
10.00-12.00 “ “ Support Races – Le Mans Legends
- Aston Martin Racing Festival
14.22 “ “ Beginning of starting procedure
15.00 “ “ Start of the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours by Grand Marshal Tom Kristensen
15.00 Sunday June 14th Chequered Flag



FIA WEC & ELMS Events before Le Mans
WEC Prologue March 27th/28th Paul Ricard HTTT
April 12th Silverstone 6 Hours
May 2nd Spa 6 Hours
ELMS Tests March 23rd/24th Paul Ricard HTTT
April 11th Silverstone 4 Hours
May 17th Imola 4 Hours
Test Day – Sunday May 31st
Entries must be with the ACO by April 1st and up to 60 cars will be accepted.
Up to 5 drivers may drive in each car and declared by April 18th.
All new drivers to Le Mans and drivers who haven’t raced at the track for over 5 years must complete a one day simulator test before driving on the circuit.

Anniversaries this year
10 years ago – Last win for the Audi R8 and Tom Kristensen beats Jacky Ickx’s record of 6 wins.
20 years ago – Last win by a “road-going” car at Le Mans – McLaren F1 GTR. First time the Driver Parade was held in the city centre.
Foundation of Club Arnage!
30 years ago – Same Joest Racing Porsche 956 wins for the 2nd year running.
40 years ago – Derek Bell’s first win, driving a Gulf Mirage –Ford with Jacky Ickx.
50 years ago – Ferrari’s last overall win at Le Mans (Jochen Rindt/Masten Gregory in a 250LM).
60 years ago – First Jaguar “D” Type victory (Mike Hawthorn/Ivor Bueb) following Pierre Levegh’s crash resulting in over 80 fatalities.
80 years ago – Lagonda’s only win at Le Mans (John Hindmarsh/Luis Fontes).
90 years ago - First (and last) award of the Rudge-Whitworth Coupe Triennial to Robert Senechal & Alberic Locqueneux in a Chenard et Walcker (although they finished 13th in that year’s race!).
SUPPORT RACES
There will be two support races on race day morning of 45 minutes each – the first for the Aston Martin Racing Festival where cars from the last 11 years such as the LMP1 Aston Martin Lola DBR1 and the GT class winning DBR9 will race against current cars such as the Vantage V8 GTE and the V12 Vantage GT3. There will also be demonstration laps from Aston Martin road cars of the future (www.astonmartinracing.com).
The other will be for “Legends” cars dating from 1949 to 1968 (www.motorracinglegends.com) . There will be up to 61 cars such as Ford GT40’s and Porsche 908s and 910s taking part.

Tony Light – Last updated on 17th April 2015

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Lights Camera Action Part Deux!

You may recall we were looking for actors who were competent racing drivers.. well.. we missed a couple! James Dean was a regular racer  taking part in 'Road Races' at Palm Springs ( 2nd), Bakersfield (3rd) and Santa Babara where he blew a piston in his Porsche while running 4th.

Remember that car chase in The French Connection in 1971? Was it really that long ago?! Gene Hackman was the man...  But in 1983 Hackman put his money where his mouth was and raced one of Dan Gurney's Toyotas at The Daytona 24 hrs. He finished 57th after the transmission failed. But as Bob Bondurant put it, this was not a place for a weekend dabbler, but Hackman did well and was one of the most talented celebrity racers he ever taught.

Eric Bana is not a name your scribe is familiar with but he was the star of Hulk and Troy. He bought his first car when he was fifteen, it was a Falcon XB Coupe. He entered it for the 1996 Targa Tasmania. He then crashed out in 1996 at the same event. He even made a movie about it called 'Love The Beast ! He also raced a Porsche 944 in The Australian Porsche Challenge. OK so he is not up with Newman but he did his bit!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Final thoughts from Silverstone WEC

An innovation for all future rounds in the 2015 WEC is the adoption of the 'Le Mans' style start build up. This involves all the teams lining up on the start finish line in echelons while the anthems are sung. They then set off behind the safety car for two 'rolling laps' and do a normal rolling start.. bang on 12:00hrs!

At 12:41hrs we had our first 'full course yellow'. This is run to new rules which now successfully bring all the cars to a safely manageable 60 km/h (same as the pit lane limit) wherever they are are around the circuit and as a result the gaps don't close up.   Racing recommenced and the Audis were still in the pits so they misjudged it slightly but Alex Wurz in #2 Toyota certainly lost out.

Romain Dumas, after his opening stint, told us that there maybe trouble ahead because Porsche maybe powerful and economic but will have to double stint the tyres at some stage and this may become a critical feature in this race.

From the outset it looked like Mark Webber in the #17 Porsche was the class and pace of the field until at 14:00 hrs ,having controlled the race comfortably up to that point, the car suddenly went out with failed"rear drive train", this was not the hybrid bit that broke but the 500 bhp 2.0 litre V4 petrol engined bit.. this was roughly two hours into the race as we sadly we thought might happen.. fast .. yes..but fragile? The #18 Porsche also had problems when it had to pit for new rear bodywork so the race was slipping away from them. Not helped by the #7 Audi being consistently and comfortably quicker than both the remaining Porsche and both Toyotas!  So the advantage began to drift towards Audi.

It became clear that the leading Audi #7 was the quickest car out there as soon as the Webber Porsche expired.

The race then evolved into a classic 'endurance' race with a remarkably low attrition rate with only three cars not classified as finishers.

Despite this we had a fantastic race that gave us every sort of drama and after a record race distance of 201 laps, which is 1186 kms, the margin between the winning the winning #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Fassler/Lotterer and Treluyer and the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Dumas/Jani/Lieb was 4.610 secs! We calculate that as about 271 metres at the flag.

The whole thing boiled over in the final twenty minutes when the race leading Audi #7 was given a 'Stop-Go' penalty for exceeding the track limits. Dr Ulrich Head of Audi Sport chose not to speak to the pit lane commentator.. he was clearly very unhappy!

However it was a well deserved LMP1 victory. The #7 Audi had been consistently a second or two a lap faster than the rest of the pack. The only serious challenge would have come from the #17 Porsche which was blindingly quick. But it didn't reach the end! The Audi, driven superbly particularly by Andre Lotterer did what Audi Sport do best .. winning with apparently very little drama! Except maybe for that Stop Go which might have even rattled the might of Audi.

Toyota matched the pace of the Audi and Porsche but had no plan that would have given them the over all win. They need more outright pace. Porsche had it during testing, practice and qualifying but they lacked race pace and are rumoured to be heavy on tyres.

LMP1 wasn't the only class that gave us some great racing but it was too easy to get carried away by the P1 dramas. In LMP2 the pair of G-Drive Ligier JS P2 Nissans ruled the class racing against each other and leaving the Strakka Racing Dome S103 Nissan without a look in!

You may recall that we thought it would be virtually impossible to knock all three Aston Martin Martin Racing V8 Vantages off the podium in LM GTE Pro.. how wrong we were! At the time of writing we are not clear quite what happened but  the Class was won by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Bruni and Vilander. Second was the semi works Porsche Team Manthey #92 Porsche 911 RSR and third was the other AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia. The Astons? They were nowhere! David Richards must have slept easily after qualifying but now faces a nightmare trying to work out where it all went wrong and where to find more speed. All this before Spa and Le Mans.

In LGTE Am Aston Martin Racing could breath a sigh of relief with a win by the #98 Aston V8 Vantage ahead of that pesky AF Corse and their Ferrari F458 Italia and yet another Prancing Horse car #72 from SMP

This weekend we have seen a pair of outstanding races with ELMS and WEC. The next round is at Spa and then the big one " Le Mans 24 hrs" !

Predictions, Prognostications and Pontifications

The public pitwalk in an unmissable WEC tradition
It has now become a Club Arnage tradition that your team suffer on your behalf , seize a beer and try and make some thoroughly ill informed predictions as to what might occur today based  on previous performance and the specific gravity of whatever the brew of choice might have been .. mind you Tony was drinking 'Black Cider'.. he is brave lad.. the upshot? Read on..

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious Porsche are clearly looking a bit brisk. Our thoughts are that one or other of the cars, probably #17 will lead maybe for the first  couple of hours. They claim to have put in 30,000 kms testing so that might indicate that reliability probably ought not to be a problem. However there is a question mark over the way they use up tyres. There is 40% chance of rain mid-afternoon which may cause some confusion. We reckon Porsche ought to win, they have the pace and maybe the reliability. We are Webber (@AussieGrit) fans so lets hope the #17 car with Hartley and Bernhard can win it.

We do reckon that Audi will give them a run for their money. OK the cars may be relatively 'old tech' and lack the out and out pace of the Porsches but we have seen that Audi simply don't panic or make mistakes.. they are a totally refined long distance racing team and  their track record is remarkable. They have won Le Mans 13 times.. taken two manufacturers titles.. been on the podium 33 times .. taken ten pole positions and fifteen fastest laps. They do seem to have got the hang of this endurance racing lark ! Our money would be on #7 car of Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer.

Toyota... something isn't quite right with Toyota here at Silverstone. They may be simply keeping their powder dry for the race but they have not impressed us so far. They have shuffled their driver pairings up and maybe that is taking a while to settle down. Looking at those top speed figures they are 23 kms slower in a straight line than the Porsches. If either is going to make it we reckon #1 Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima is a good bet.

#28 G-Drive sits on LMP2 pole for Silverstone WEC
In LMP2 it looks like G-Drive are the team to beat again this year, but newcomers from ELMS Signatech Alpine were strong in FP and qualifying so could spring a surprise or two. Our money is on the #26 Rusinov/Canal/Bird Ligier JS P2 -Nissan for the win, even though they qualified second in class.

In LMGTE Pro it looks virtually inevitable that an Aston Martin will win the class.. but beware of The Curse of The Journos! Our bet would be #97 Turner/ Mucke car .. however 'The Grand Fromage' quite fancies the 'Dane Train' #95. Your scribbler doesn't because it is difficult to do an  'ø' on a UK keyboard!

LMGTE Am is less clear cut.. in other words we don't know! However once again the Astons are looking quick and increasingly bombproof so if pushed we would go for #98 with Dalla Lana/Lamy and Lauda. Our hearts would like a the Larbre C7 Corvette to knock the Astons off their perch but that looks unlikely.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Lights.. Camera.. Action

Those of you who have been at Le Mans over the last couple of years couldn't failed to have noticed the 'Patrick Dempsey Factor'. As far as the media was concerned his PR machine made sure he was everywhere and it became a nuisance!  But he freely admitted he needed the money to race and would do whatever was required.

We had a go at doing a blog on famous film stars who raced at Le Mans and then expanded it to any film stars who raced anything..anywhere! There wasn't enough meat in the project so we gave up!

Dempsey now has a serious motor sport track record as well as impressive 'actoring' credentials which mean we can now begin to think of him as one of 'The Big Three'... McQueen, Newman and Dempsey.

McQueen finished 2nd in the 12hrs of Sebring. This meant that one of his dream could perhaps  become viable, a run at Le Mans sharing a car with Jackie Stewart. However precious film stars need substantial insurance and nobody came up with suitable cover so it never happened. Instead he went and made 'Le Mans' which premiered in 1971. It was not a box office success but Le Mans fans loved it! (..and still do! ed.)

Paul Newman came into motorsport by a slightly different route . He starred  in 'Winning' which was shot at the Indianapolis 500. He caught the bug big time and eleven years later he finished 2nd at Le Mans and went on to become a successful team owner.

Dempsey at WEC autograph session
Dempsey was a huge hit in an American TV series called 'Grey's Anatomy' attracting a massive (mostly) female following... his first visit to Le Mans was in 2009 and the public wouldn't let him simply get on with racing motor cars.. they wanted all of him! He wanted to concentrate on the business of racing. In 2011 he was entrusted with taking the Mazda 787B out on track for a high speed demonstration run. He raced in ALMS in 2012 in a Lola and eventually returned as a serious racer to Le Mans in 2013 where he finished 4th and then 2014 when he came 5th. He is now a team owner  and at 49 years old he still has very bright future as a serious ' Gentleman Racer'. His movie career might not yet match that of McQueen and Newman but his skills as  driver and team owner put him in that elite group.


Mine's quicker than yours

Some interesting and maybe telling statistics from free practice regarding top speeds achieved so far at this meeting.

#18 Porsche     Marc Lieb          302.5 km/h
#17 Porsche     Mark Webber        300.8 km/h
#1 Toyota       Kazuki Nakajima    284.2 km/h
#2 Toyota       Mike Conway        281.2 km/h
#7 Audi         Andre Lotterer     279.1 km/h
#4 CLM P1/01    Vitantonio Luizzi  277.6 km/h
#8 Audi         Loic Duval         277.6 km/h


So we have slightly dodgy proof that this year Porsche have certainly found some pace and if they translate that advantage over six hours it could be significant. This might concern the others, except maybe Audi who, for all we know might have been fuelled up and in race trim. It must be exciting news for CLM who now know that if they can sort out corners and braking they could be on the pace.
.

Qualifying for Round One of the World Endurance Championship 2015

Final free practice was rather soggy
The day started badly with heavy rain, wind and a very wet track. It didn't look good for a clean qualifying session . However the English climate was always unpredictable and by the the time WEC qualifying began the circuit was dry so it would be a straight fight for the prestige of getting pole. The grid position is established by taking the average speed of the
two nominated drivers.

As Mark Webber had said earlier they knew they had plenty of single lap pace and they certainly proved it. At the end of the session we had  a front row lock out by Porsche with #17 Bernhard/Webber/Hartley on pole with #18 Porsche Dumas/Jani/Lieb beside them. This was a pretty remarkable pole time by the #17 car. Last year's pole was 1:42.7 secs and this year was a mind boggling 1:39.72 secs. Maximum speed 302.5kms (187.96 mph)

Audi hadn't shone on sheer pace yet this weekend and they were 3rd with #8 car and 5th with #5. We doubt the team are unduly concerned since most people reckoned that the Porsches would be quick.

Toyota might be just a little concerned lying 4th and 6th but to use a well worn cliche six hours is a long race !

The #4 LMP1 Team ByKolles CLM P1/01 was lying 11th and in amongst the LMP2 cars. It is early days and they will hopefully do better in the race.

LM P2 saw #28 G-Drive Ligier JS P2 Nissan on pole just ahead of their team mates in the #26. 3rd on the grid will be #47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan.

Aston Martin will be delighted with a clean sweep in LMGTE Pro with the first three cars. #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 driven by  Nygaard/Soresen was on pole with the #99 car driven by MacDowell/Rees/Stanaway beside them. 3rd was #97 Turner/Mucke. Normally we might have expected the Turner/Mucke car to have been quickest.

Aston Martin Racing will be equally happy to have taken pole in LMGTE Am with the #98 car driven by Lana/Lamy/Lauda. Finally somebody else got a look in with the #50 Labre Competition Corvette C7 driven by Roda/Roberti/Poulsen

WEC Paddock chat - odds and sods

A whizzie gizmo on the LM P1 cars is an 'anti-collision light'. This is a new safety device or alarm that is mounted on the rear of the car and involves  flashing/blinking brake lights. We are at a modest disadvantage not knowing a) what 0.4G feels like and b) 0.2 secs doesn't sound very long !At 150 mph I wonder how far a car ravels in 0.2 secs.

Mark Webber when interviewed by RLM after free practice was saying that the pressure is enormous on the Porsche Team, An awful lot is expected from them . He went on to say that this isn't an easy event being so close to Le Mans and he says the team are inevitably focused on Le Mans. The car is great on short runs.

They say that but we read that Porsche have done over 30,000 kms of testing. We will see after qualifying but the beer fuelled thoughts from your team on the spot is that they will take pole but will they last? As a footnote it is interesting to note that since Webber moved so successfully to WEC a surprising number of other F1 drivers have started to show an interest.

Nissan GR-R LM Nismo.. ummm.. this could be one heck of a story for Le Mans, or alternatively not! It is all very well rewriting the rule book regarding virtually every aspect of the car but it is another thing making it all work at the highest level of your chosen sport. No doubt a diligent Google search would unearth the last 'central forward' engine ( Nissan's words) and front wheel drive car that has raced over the last 50-odd years. A cynic may wonder why this is . Likewise we were amazed to see that the front tyres and wheels are wider than the rear.. the same cynic might wonder why this hasn't featured  much either !  As Ben Bowlby, designer and Team Principal, succinctly puts it "Porsche , Toyota and Audi have so much experience of endurance racing that it would have been difficult to beat them just by copying". He makes a very valid point. The regulations still have some grey areas to explore, especially when it comes to the vehicles front aerodynamics". It now looks like they will miss Spa as well since failing the crash test set them back a bit. Their target must still be Le Mans but it will be tight. So don't let us count our chickens yet .. there could be a tasty omelette ahead!




LM P2 Infinity and beyond !

The ACO can't be criticised for ever letting the grass grow under their feet.  They love their prototypes and LM P2 has been tweaked and improved over the last eleven years with the last major tweak being in 2009 when the regulations called for 'production based engines'. These engines were sourced mainly by Nissan and Honda (under the banner of HPD High Performance Development).

The ACO, looking towards 2017, wanted to produce a set of regulations that would give teams a better car for a lower budget.. that produces fair and close competition .. working with a proper business model to build and run cars .. and offering protection from unfair competition or expensive technology. All very praiseworthy but maybe the most important aspect of these planned changes is that cars should, broadly  speaking, be eligible for The Asian Le Mans Series, The European Le Mans Series, The Tudor United Sports Car Championship ( with a few  specific exceptions that are required by IMSA) and of course on the world stage with The World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 hours.

At the moment there are several chassis manufacturers, some only supplying a couple of units a year, and as a result the unit costs are high. The ACO solution is to move towards one manufacturer producing all the chassis. This will substantially reduce costs. There will also be savings in maintenance and operational costs. The only bad news might be that by 2017 any existing chassis will probably be rendered obsolete.

So we are heading towards a 'one make championship'?... no.. we are heading towards a 'one chassis championship' because the choice of engines, aero etc will remain free within the regulations.

No decision has been made yet on the chosen manufacturer but some suggest it might be Oreca ( French) , engines might still come from Nissan ( who are now closely related to Renault.. French) and maybe tyres from Michelin ( French). Maybe there is a theme here !

LM P2 always tends to get overshadowed by the manufacturer supported LM P1 cars when they appear on the same bill but while the spotlight shines on the P1 cars almost invariably there is some close and highly competitive racing in P2.  So the future now looks rosy for these prototypes all over the world. The ACO should be congratulated.

Gibson-Nissan dominates Friday free practice sessions.


Under the sunny Silverstone sky (no... really), both Gibson-Nissan LMP2s dominated the ELMS free practice sessions on Friday.


Harry Tincknell put his Jota Sport on top of the timing screens, a second faster than John Lancaster of Greaves Motorsport.  The AF Corse Oreca's came in third and fourth, with the Murphy prototype being the best of the rest.  The new LMP3 cars were struggling for grip and pace, putting themselves at the back of the pack with the University of Bolton #7 car being the fastest.  Technical problems kept the SVK car in the garage during the first session of the day. AF Corse came out on top in the GTE class, with the #81 and #52 Ferrari's beating the Marc VDS BMW of Andy Priaulx.  The GTC BMW run by TDS racing put himself in between the GTE cars (only two tenths slower than the GTE Z4) holding off the #63 and #62 AF Corse Ferraris. The session was briefly interrupted when the #45 Ibanez racing stopped on track, causing a full course yellow at the end of the session. 

The second practice session was briefly interrupted with a red flag when the AF Corse Ferrari of Peter Mann made a visit to the gravel trap.  Later in the session, the Marc VDS BMW had a clash with the Proton Porsche in the chicane at Club, the latter not being able to make it to the pits again.  Thiriet by TDS also had their part of the problems with the Oreca 05 that had to be towed away.  At the end of the session, both Gibson-Nissans switched places when John Lancaster recorded the fastest lap, almost 0.6
seconds faster than Felipe Albuquerque in the Jota LMP2, outpacing the Murpy Prototype that came in third.  All LMP3 cars came out this session with both Team LNT cars on top, lapping in the high 2.01's, a huge improvement compared to the morning session.  The #56 AT Racing Ferrari was fastest in GTE, before the #88 Proton Porsche and the Marc VDS BMW, all within half a second.  In GTC it was AF Corse topping the timesheets this time with the #63 and #62, in front of Thiriet's BMW.  The #68 Aston Martin made it to fourth, the difference between those 4 cars a mere 0,4 seconds.

Qualifying might be interesting on Saturday morning … 


Kristof Vermeulen.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The Curse of The WEC Guide compiler !

All race goers will be familiar with the well known 'Curse of The Commentator' syndrome. This is where the commentator reports glowingly on the progress of some hero who then promptly throws the car off into the boondocks. Here at Silverstone for the WEC we have a couple of fine examples of The Curse of The WEC Guide Compiler. Top of the billing is the headline "Will Nissan be the start attraction? Well, they  might have been if the car was here and ready to race but it isn't. Nissan have had a torrid build up to the 2015 season and with Le Mans not far around the corner they have a tough challenge on their hands. It is all very well thinking outside the box with front wheel engine, front wheel drive, internal aerodynamic flow, skinny front tyres, fat rear tyres and so on. Plus a failed crash test to add to their woes.  We must welcome innovation but a car would be nice.

We have always been huge fans of Rebellion so the headline "Will we feel the force of Rebellion?" got the juices flowing. They are not here either alas. The challenge here was changing their engine supplier from Toyota to AER rather late in the day. The new set up is not 'hybrid' so Rebellion carry on with their 'conventional' set up. We will watch out for #4 Team ByKolles CLM P1/01 which uses much the same power plant.

" A Winning Debut for Sard Morand?" Nope they were not ready and won't be here either!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Silverstone ELMS preview


Race start Silverstone 2014
With the opening round of the 2015 ELMS season at Silverstone this weekend, the European Le Mans Series looks healthier than ever.  After a thrilling 2014 season with 5 different overall winners in 5 races and Signatech Alpine claiming their second title in a row, 2015 kicks-off with a packed grid an the introduction of the new LMP3 class. 

31 cars feature the entry-list for Silverstone this weekend, a number that should increase during the season, especially in the LMP3 class. 

Krohn Racing Sebring 2015
LMP2 
11 entries, with 4 new teams form the first grid for the 2015 season. Jota Sport will be keen to have a strong home race, after welcoming back Nissan factory driver Harry Tincknell into their driver line-up. Last year's winners Thiriet by TDS made the switch back to Oreca with the new Oreca 05 chassis instead of the Ligier and are looking for new success this year. Pegasus Racing, Greaves Motorsport and Murphy Prototypes are also returning to LMP2 in 2015, while overall champions Signatech Alpine have stepped up to WEC.  

New teams like Eurasia Motorsport, AF Corse, Ibanez and Krohn Racing will also be looking to put in a strong performance in the first race of the season.  Krohn Racing (the only LMP not running a Nissan engine) already showed a strong pace at last months Sebring 12 hours in Florida, will they be able to keep that up in Europe ?

Ginetta LMP3 (team picture from their website)
LMP3
The all new LMP3 class starts the season off with a 5 car field, a number that will increase during the season since only Ginetta has been able to deliver the first cars to their customers.  With more teams waiting for a chassis and 2 more manufacturers ( LAS and Riley Technologies ) coming up, LMP3 should give us some great racing throughout the season.  Certainly the Ginetta-Nissan of Sir Chris Hoy, who starts his road to Le Mans 2016 at Silverstone, will draw lost of attention during the first race weekend. 

Marc VDS at Estoril 2014
LMGTE
Marc VDS takes on the Ferraris and Porsches in the GTE class.  After a successful début at Estoril last year, the Belgian team will compete the whole ELMS season and have a go at the 2015 title with Andy Priaulx as leading driver. AF Corse who just missed the 2014 title will do everything possible to clinch the title this year.  Also on the grid is JMW Motorsport, AT Racing and Formula Racing with a Ferrari and the Porsches of Gulf Racing UK and Proton Competition. An impressive line up in GTE, able to give us some real door-to-door racing this year. 

Gulf GTC Porsche Estoril 2014
GTC
The GTC class hosts an impressive list of manufacturers with Ferrari, Aston Martin, BMW and Lamborghini.  The AF Corse Ferraris face the challenge by the BMW Z4 from TDS Racing, an Aston Vantage by Massive Motorsport and the Gulf Racing UK Lamborghini who had a great outing in Dubai earlier this year. 

The first practice session will be on Friday April 10th at 10.35, the season opening race is scheduled on Saturday April 11th at 14h30.  The race will be broadcast live on the ELMS website and on Motors tv. 

Kristof Vermeulen