BMW Confirm ILMC Participation.

BMW Motorsports Schnitzer-run M3 E92 during the 2010 Le Mans 24H.

BMW Motorsport's Schnitzer-run M3 E92 during the 2010 Le Mans 24H. - Image Courtesy Marshall Pruett/Speedtv.com

Having experienced what many would consider a semi-successful season (on both sides of the Atlantic) thus far, BMW Motorsport has signaled it’s intention to participate in the inaugural running of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

BMW Motorsport’s efforts will utilise the services of both US and European factory-supported teams. With Schnitzer coordinating efforts for the Bavarian marque at both Silverstone and Zuhai events. Driving duties will be handled by Dirk Werner and Jörg Müller.

The Petit Le Mans event will be coordinated by the US factory outfit, Rahal Letterman. Standard series driver lineups of Milner/Auberlen and Hand/Müller will apply with additional driver support in the form of works drivers Werner/Priaulx.

The announcement makes BMW the first of many GT marques to provide an official commitment to the ILMC manufacturers title.

LMS: Algarve Entry List Released.

LMS_Tag_TabProvisional entry listings for round three of the Le Mans series were released this week and, despite early season optimistic showings during the opening two rounds of the season, the field has withered to a mere 32 entries.

The expected absence of Audi, Peugeot, and Aston Martin factory teams has left the once mighty LMP1 grid at a minimal four entries. Despite the lack of works presence, both Peugeot and Aston Martin will be represented by Oreca and Signature Plus privateer efforts. With most of the usual contenders present, LMP2 remains at a healthy 14 entrants and, with a wide variety of machinery once again on display the entertainment looks set to continue in the baby prototype category.

As predicted, the GT1 grid resembles a ghost town once more. Consisting of a mere two Saleen entries fielded by Larbre and Atlas-FX teams. Despite the omission of several cars (namely the #78/79 Schnitzer/BMW Motorsport entries), the GT2 grid continues to look mightily impressive with quality entries from both Porsche and Ferrari camps. The continued presence of JMW and Spyker Squadron entries providing additional manufacturer flavour.

LMP1

  • 008 Signature Plus – Lola Aston Martin  – Pierre Ragues / Franck Mailleux
  • 4 Team Oreca Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Olivier Panis / Nicolas Lapierre
  • 12 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Rebellion – Nicolas Prost / Neel Jani
  • 13 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Rebellion – Andrea Belicchi / Jean-Christophe Boullion

LMP2

  • 24 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Mathieu Lahaye / Jacques Nicolet
  • 25 RML –  Lola HPD Coupé – Tommy Erdos / Mike Newton / Ben Collins
  • 35 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Richard Hein / Guillaume Moreau
  • 39 KSM – Lola B08/47-Judd – Jean De Pourtales / Hideki Noda / Jonathan Kennard
  • 40 Quifel-ASM –  Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Miguel Amaral / Olivier Pla
  • 41 Team Bruichladdich – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Karim Ojjeh / Tim Greaves / Thor-Christian Ebbesvik
  • 42 Strakka Racing – HPD ARX – 01 – Nick Leventis / Danny Watts / Jonny Kane
  • 43 Dams – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Andrea Barlesi / Alessandro Cicognani / Gary Chalandon
  • 44 Dams – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Jody Firth / Warren Hughes
  • 45 Boutsen Energy Racing – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Dominik Kraihamer / Nicolas De Crem / Bernard Delhez
  • 46 JMB Racing – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Peter Kutemann / Maurice Basso / John Hartshorne
  • 47 Hope Polevision Racing – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Luca Moro / Steve Zacchia / Olivier Lombart
  • 48 Hope Polevision Racing – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Christophe Pillon / Vincent Capillaire / Nico Verdonck
  • 49 Applewood Seven – (Formula Le Mans) Oreca 09 – Damien Toulemonde / Mathias Beche

GT1

  • 50 Larbre Competition – Saleen S7-R – Gabriele Gardel / Patrice Goueslard / Fernando Rees
  • 66 Atlas FX-Team FS – Saleen S7-R – Julien Schroyen / Carlo Van Dam / Adam Lacko

GT2

  • 75 Prospeed Competition – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Marco Holzer / Richard Westbrook
  • 76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Raymond Narac / Patrick Pilet
  • 77 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Marc Lieb / Richard Lietz
  • 85 Spyker Squadron – Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R – Peter Dumberck / Jeroen Bleekemolen
  • 88 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Martin Ragginger / Christian Ried / Wolf Henzler
  • 89 Hankook Team Farnbacher – Ferrari F430 GT – Dominik Farnbacher / Allan Simonsen
  • 90 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 GT – Pierre Ehret / Phil Quaife / Pierre Kaffer
  • 91 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 GT – Andrew Kirkaldy / Tim Mullen
  • 92 JMW Motorsport – Aston Martin V8 Vantage – Robert Bell / Darren Turner
  • 94 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Luis Perez Companc / Matias Russo
  • 95 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Giancarlo Fisichella / Toni Vilander / Jean Alesi
  • 96 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Gianmaria Bruni / Jaime Melo

Le Mans 2010 Post Qualifying Wrap.

#2 Peugeot of Sarrazin during qualifying session02.

#2 Peugeot of Sarrazin during qualifying session02. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Being that time of the year again, proceedings for the 2010 running of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans (the 78th rendition of the event) are well underway. With qualifying now completed we see some familiar trends emerging. Namely the continued dominance of Peugeot and Ferrari camps in their respective categories.

Despite the presence of strong works supported entries in all classes, the appearance of new challengers in HPD and BMW-powered entries in both LMP2 and GT2 has caught many by surprise.

The first qualifying session of the week saw Peugeot surge to an early lead on the timesheets. With both the Oreca and factory entries securing the top four positions on provisional listings.

Most onlookers were eagerly awaiting some (or any) form of response in pace from Audi. The Ingolstadt-based squad managed to breach the margin to the leading #3 Peugeot to 3.867 by the end of the first session. With Mike Rockenfeller setting a time of 3:23.578 to place the #9 car in fifth position.

 

Audi #7 during qualifying. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Kristensen on board the#7 Audi during qualifying. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Peugeot’s dominance would continue during the second qualifying session. Bourdais’ early time of 3:19.711 would weather the ensuing storm of pace throughout the session, Peugeots #2 and 3 securing second and third, respectively.

Audi’s #9 squad again remained the highest placed contender for the team, with on-loan Porsche factory driver Romain Dumas managing a 3:21.981. Decreasing the margin to the leading #3 Peugeot to a mere 1.481sec to secure fifth position on the grid. Cars #7/8 will start from sixth and seventh position on Sunday afternoon.

Forever the dark horse, AMR would complete both qualifying sessions without difficulties. Stefan Mücke setting a time of 3:26.680 to secure eighth position for the #007 entry, relegating the #009 sister car of Turner/Hancock/Barazi to ninth starting position by a margin of .067sec.

Danny Watts takes the #42 Strakka HPD ARX01c to pole. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Danny Watts takes the #42 Strakka HPD ARX01c to pole. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Having set and maintained pace early during practice,  HPD-powered entries continued to dominate both LMP2 qualifying sessions. Strakka’s Danny Watts would seize pole for the team with a time of 3:36.168, narrowly edging out their trans-Atlantic cousins, Highcroft by a margin of .466sec. Reigning Le Mans Series LMP2 champions Quifel-ASM snared third position with Olivier Pla’s lap of 3:41.968, besting the OAK Racing outfit by a minimal margin.

Affirming what had long been suspected, the ACO has confirmed the removal of the GT1 category from future competition in both the 24 Hour, and Le Mans Series, during a press conference regarding the much hyped future regulations earlier today.

Combining  a selection of seasoned Le Mans and LMS veterans, and current GT1 World Championship entries, the GT1 category looks set to deliver a fitting send off for the class of high-powered supercar machinery.

Stamping their presence early, YoungDriver AMR would combine successful showings in sessions 1/2 to achieve class pole, marginally outpacing  the #70 Ford GT of recent Spa 1000km winners, Marc VDS Racing.

Despite dramas during practice the #60 Matech Ford GT entry of Grosjean/Mutsch/Hirschi would secure third, ahead of both #72/73 entries of past LMS runners, Luc Alphand Adventures.

 

Oliver Gavin takes the #63 Corvette C6R to an initial second position during qualifying. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Oliver Gavin takes the #63 Corvette C6R to an initial second position during qualifying. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

With seventeen entries and more than half of which factory supported and equally capable of victory, GT2 is looking set to provide a clash of the marques to be remembered for years to come.

In what is becoming a 24H tradition the #82 Risi entry surged to the front of the class early but, in unfortunate turn of events, the team would later be relegated to the rear of the grid. The squad penalised as a result of semantics regarding the legality of aerodynamic components in use during the qualifying session.

Risi driver Jaime Melo provided a brief summary of his thoughts on the matter –  “It’s where you finish that is important.” Having benefited from the misfortunes of Risi, the #63/64 P&M entries line up in positions one and two, securing an all Corvette front row.

Felbermayr-Proton maintained their reputation as the top performing Porsche outfit. The #77 of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler moving to fourth position after Risi’s post-qualifying penalty.

 

The Jeff Koons' designed, BMW Motorsport #79 'art car' entry. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

The Jeff Koons' designed, BMW Motorsport #79 'art car' entry. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre.

Having recently conquered the Nürburgring 24 Hour after a five year absence, BMW Motorsport now has a new challenge. After an eleven year Le Mans sabbatical (following the closure of the V12-LMR programme) the Charly Lamm-lead squad returns to La Sarthe with an almost palpable hunger for victory.

Having received a balance of performance adjustment upon their arrival to the circuit (enforcing a decrease in air-restrictor size, and the subsequent loss of 10-15HP) the outfit must now alter their race strategy.

Despite suffering as a result of the penalty during early sessions, the team managed to greatly improve single lap pace during qualifying. The #78 entry of Müller/Farfus/Alzen taking fifth position.

Images courtesy Geoffroy Barre // leblogauto.com