ILMC: Revised 2011 Calendar Unveiled.

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Logo.

After weeks of intense speculation and animosity following the release of a provisional 2011 ILMC schedule (namely over the omission of Petit Le Mans), the ACO yesterday released an updated calendar for the 2011 running of the Intercontinental Cup.

Despite prior speculation suggesting otherwise, the updated calendar sees the approval of both Sebring and Petit Le Mans as part of the North American arm of the cup.

The move comes as a relief to many North American fans, after recent rumours suggested the famed Petit Le Mans event would be replaced by a South American round. The event, which is now displayed on the updated calendar, has been reinstated at it’s usual date on the first weekend of October.

In addition to the already confirmed European events at Spa, Le Mans, and Silverstone, the second rendition of the cup will feature an Italian round (LMS Round 3) hosted at the Imola GP circuit and, despite the unfortunate omission of a Japanese round for a second time, China will continue to host the final and, so far only Asian Le Mans series event of the ILMC at a yet to be determined venue.

ILMC General Manager, Frédéric Henry-Biabaud issued the following statement in relation to the announcement:

“We’re convinced that this calendar is going to enhance the values of endurance through a technological, responsible and sporting approach towards racing that will give endurance the place it deserves.

For its first full season, this programme meets the expectations of spectators, manufacturers, teams and partners with seven events on some of the most legendary motor racing circuits in strategic economic markets.”

The second running of the cup will feature an altered race format for otherwise distance based events. With priority now placed on timing, ILMC races will now run for a minimum of six hours. As opposed to the combination of distance/timed (i.e. 1000km/six hours) used in the past.

The updated 2011 ILMC schedule can be seen in current form below:

  • Sebring 12 Hours (Florida USA) March 19, 2011.
  • Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours (BEL) May 8, 2011.
  • Le Mans 24 Hours (FRA), June 11/12, 2011.
  • Imola 6 Hours (ITA) July 3, 2011.
  • Silverstone 6 Hours (GBR) September 11, 2011.
  • Petit Le Mans (Road Atlanta, Georgia, USA) October 1, 2011.
  • TBA 6-Hours race (China) November 12, 2011.
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ILMC: Zhuhai Entry List.

 

Intercontinental Le Mans Cup Logo.

 

Provisional entry listings for the third and final round of the 2010 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup have are now available. What began as a field of 27 runners has now been reduced to a mere 24, after the withdrawal of the Atlas E-FX Saleen, and MIK Racing’s two Lola-Judd coupes. Although now sporting a slightly diminished field, the event is by no means short of quality contenders.

The Audi vs Peugeot battle continues in LMP1, although the French marque need only finish the race with both entries in order to seal the maiden ILMC LMP1 teams and manufacturers title. Both factories approach the race bearing slightly altered driver lineups as a result of differing driver commitments. Privateer flavour will be provided by fan favourites, Drayson Racing and Tokai University.

Having been the only P2 team to confirm participation in all three rounds of the ILMC, OAK Racing is only required to complete the race to confirm its P2 title. After the surprise forfeit of MIK’s two Lola-Judd entries, the French outfit will be left to run it’s own race alongside the sole Formula Le Mans entry of Hope Polevision.

The battle of the factories continues in GT2, the now dominant GT category yielding works entries from Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, and Jaguar teams. Porsche’s reputation will be defended by two-time Le Mans series champions, Felbermayr-Proton, with assistance from ProSpeed Competition. Regular LMS rivals AF-Corse and CRS will provide Ferrari presence and, flying the sole BMW flag, Schnitzer will field a single entry. After a surprise appearance at the 1000KM of Silverstone,  the Lamborghini Gallardo of Gulf Team First will also be in attendance.

Although Ferrari possess a points advantage in the race for the GT2 manufacturers title, the battle for honours is still very much alive. With a slim possibility remaining for Porsche or BMW teams to seize the first ILMC accolades for their respective marques.

Having successfully completed over nine hours under race conditions during the Petit Le Mans event, Porsche’s GT3R Hybrid will make the trip to Zhuhai for its second ILMC appearance. Capable of competing with GT2 runners, the GT3R Hybrid will compete in a class of its own once more (GT-Exp.), setting out demonstrate the advantages of Hybrid technology alongside regular GT counterparts. Porsche has committed the services of factory drivers (and recently crowned ALMS GT2 series champions) Jörg Bergmeister and Pat Long to provide the Hybrid its Chinese debut.

In addition to the inclusion of Porsche’s GT3R Hybrid, the ACO has also allowed the inclusion of GT3 homologated chassis on a strictly one-off basis, in order to increase grid numbers. The presence of both United AutoSports and KK Performance squads will mark the Audi R8 LMS’ debut appearance in an ACO sanctioned event. Team Hong Kong Racing has also committed an Aston Martin DBRS9 entry.

Entry listings can be seen in full below:

LMP1

  • 1 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Sébastien Bourdais / Simon Pagenaud
  • 2 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Stéphane Sarrazin / Franck Montagny
  • 7 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15+ – Tom Kristensen / Allan McNish
  • 8 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15+ – Rinaldo Capello / Romain Dumas
  • 11 Drayson Racing – Lola-Judd Coupe – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker
  • 23 Tokai University – Courage Oreca-YGK – Shigekazu Wakisaka / Shogo Mitsuyama

LMP2

  • 24 OAK Racing – Pescarolo Judd – Jacques Nicolet / Frédéric Da Rocha / Patrice Lafargue

Formula Le Mans

  • 47 Hope Polevision Racing – Oreca-FLM – Luca MORO / TBA

GT1

  • 50 Larbre Competition – Saleen S7R – Roland Berville / Julien Canal
  • 69 JLOC – Lamborghini Murcielago – Iiri HIROYUKI / TBA

GT2

  • 75 ProSpeed Competition – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) – Richard Westbrook / Darryl O’Young
  • 77 Team Felbermayr-Proton – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) Marc Lieb / Richard Lietz
  • 78 BMW Team Schnitzer – BMW E92 M3 – Jörg Müller / Dirk Werner
  • 81 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKRS – Marc Goossens / Tommi Drissi / Paul Gentilozzi
  • 82 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKRS – TBA / TBA
  • 88 Team Felbermayr-Proton – PORSCHE 911 GT3 RSR (997) – Gianluca Roda / Christian Ried / Martin Ragginger
  • 90 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 GT – Pierre Ehret / Phil Quaife / Andrew Kirkaldy
  • 95 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Giancarlo Fisichella / Gianmaria Bruni
  • 99 Gulf Team First – Lamborghini Gallardo – Fabien Giroix / Roald Goethe / Frédéric Fatien

GT-Experimental

  • 92 Porsche AG – Porsche GT3R Hybrid – Jörg Bergmeister / Patrick Long

GTC

  • 91 Team Hong Kong Racing – Aston Martin DBRS9 – Philippe Ma / Marchy Lee
  • 96 United AutoSports – Audi R8 LMS – Danny Watts / Richard Meins
  • 97 United AutoSports – Audi R8 LMS –  Alain Li / Henri Richard
  • 98 KK Performance – Audi R8 LMS – Marchy Li / Alexander Yoong / Matthew Marsh

ILMC AsLMS Zhuhai Poster - Features R15+/908 in foreground. Background featres GT3R Hybrid and CRS F430.

ILMC: United AutoSports Confirm Zhuhai Participation.

United AutoSports aim to participate in future ILMC events with their GT3-spec Audi R8 LMS.

United AutoSports aim to participate in future ILMC events with their GT3-spec Audi R8 LMS.

Having only been in existence for less than 12 months, United AutoSports today released details of the next step in its ever expanding programme. The team, known for their exploits in both the FIA GT3/British GT series and, more recently their spectacular third in-class, fourth overall finish at the Spa 24 Hours, has today unveiled plans to participate in the Chinese event of the inaugural Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

The Zak Brown-led squad will commit a two car effort to the Zhuhai race, with the drivers of the first car already confirmed as Frenchmen, Jean Richard (of ALMS fame) and Alain li. The driver pairing for the second entry is expected to be confirmed at some time later this month. The European-based squad is the first, and only competitor based outside of Asia to confirm entries for the event.

Team owner Zak Brown had the following to say in light of the announcements: “I’m very excited about our new team racing in Asia in United Autosports’ first year of competition. Having contested the full FIA GT3 European Championship, the Spa 24 Hours and a couple of British GT Championship events, to now get an entry in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup finalé is just amazing and underlines our desire and our commitment to GT sports car racing.”

As the standard ACO class structure does not accomodate such entries, the ACO has borrowed the use of the GTC class name in order to accommodate GT3 participants. Thus the team’s weapon of choice, Audi’s R8 LMS GT3, will compete within this temporary category alongside fellow GT3-spec participants.

When questioned as to whether the inclusion of such a category would continue in future ACO-sanctioned events, ACO Sporting Director, Vincent Beaumesnil responded with the following statement: “At this stage, for sure, it’s a one shot. “Maybe in the future for other race events we’ll be open, but there’s no question. We won’t introduce these cars in all of the Le Mans events.”

Zhuhai Confirmed as ILMC Finale Host.

Drayson Racing's Lola Judd, AsLMS 2009

Drayson Racing's LMP1 Lola-Judd Coupe during the 2009 Asian Le Mans series at Okayama - Image Courtesy John Dagys/Speedtv.com

Having been the subject of much speculation for many months, the location of the Chinese ILMC round has now been confirmed. In a recent press release Michelin’s LemansLive newspage revealed the Zhuhai circuit as the host of the Chinese event, the round acting as the finale for the inaugural running of the new series.

Located in the Guangdong region, the 4.3km track has hosted both FIAGT and A1GP events in the past, and will now play host to a selection of the worlds finest LMP and GT participants. While all details are yet to be confirmed, the round will feature factory supported LMP1 entries from both Audi and Peugeot outfits, aswell as English Lord Paul Drayson’s DraysonRacing squad.

More details on this as they emerge.

Audi unveils R15 TDi Plus.

R15Plus_first_release

AudiSport's second revision of the R15 chassis, the R15+. - Image Courtesy Audi Motorsport.

Today Audi unveiled the changes made to it’s LMP1 chassis, formerly known as the R15.

The revised chassis design, bearing the designation R15+, is a response to late regulation changes made by the ACO in late November 2009 (following protests by both Peugeot & AMR), rendering the (at the time) aero-design ineligible to compete in future races.

The R15+ features a split-front nose design even more radical than the first iteration of the chassis. Due to regulation changes, the previous chassis’ flow-concept (emphasis on air flow through chassis) has been rendered much less effective. Sidewalls (previously in a partially open form) have now been closed, as a result of the design’s new focus.

Audi’s V10 TDi engine has been optimised for smaller restrictors and reduced supercharging pressure. The car’s headlight system also saw a comprehensive overhaul. With the chassis now utilising lighting components found within the R8 LMS production chassis.

Although Audi will be testing at Sebring following the 12H race, they will not compete. Instead the R15+ will turn it’s first competitive laps at the Paul Ricard circuit at the opening round of the 2010 LMS season.

ACO assurance: GT2 is here to stay.

After the recent collapse of the European FIA-GT2 series, the ACO felt the need to reassure us that GT2 is a stable commodity in ACO sanctioned playgrounds.

In an interview with Endurance-info, Remy Brouard wanted to assure us of the importance placed on the production based category.

Recently the ACO held discussions with a large number of teams and manufacturers involved regarding the future of the class.

The ACO release highlights the following changes for ACO sanctioned series in Europe, USA, and Asia, from 2010 onwards:
– After listening to all manufacturers of GT2 class vehicles. The ACO has lodged their demand for “freezing” of the 2009 regulations with the FIA for 2010 and 2011.

–  As a security parameter the class with be performance balanced with other categories (LMP and GT), performance of GT2 class vehicles has also been lowered to improve reliability over the course of 24 hours.

– The ACO has also elected to open the LM-GT2 category to new, ‘ in demand’ brands to make the category more influential. Of the 26 Le Mans 24 Hours applications received by the ACO for GT2, there are seven different brands, including three new marques (BMW, Jaguar and Corvette).

–  Stabilisation of rules, allowing projects from different manufacturers and to control the current level of GT2 class performance to create a platform where private and factory competitors have an equal chance of victory.