LMS: Hungaroring Entry List Released.


Entry listings for round four of the Le Mans series have now been released. The series heads to the Hungaroring for the first time, bearing a replenished 39 car field.

Notable additions include the re-appearance of the Beechdean Mansell squad in LMP1, along with resurgence of the LMP2 field with RacingBox, RacePerformance, Pegasus, and KSM outfits having all committed entries.

The provisional entry listings can be seen below:


  • 008 Signature – Lola Aston Martin – Pierre Ragues/Franck Mailleux/Vanina Ickx
  • 4 Team Oreca Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Olivier Panis/Nicolas Lapierre/Stéphane Sarrazin
  • 5 Beechdean Mansell – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Greg Mansell/Leo Mansell
  • 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


  • 24 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Mathieu Lahaye/Jacques Nicolet
  • 25 RML – Lola-HPD Coupé – Tommy Erdos/Mike Newton/Ben Collins
  • 27 Race Performance – Radical SR9-Judd – Michel Frey/Chris Buncombe
  • 29 Racing Box – Lola B09 Coupé-Judd – Piergiuseppe Perazzini/Marco Cioci/Luca Pirri
  • 30 Racing Box – Lola B09 Coupé-Judd – Fabio Babini/Ferdinando Geri/Federico Leo
  • 31 RLR msport – MG-Lola EX265-AER – Barry Gates/Rob Garofall/Warren Hughes
  • 35 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Richard Hein/Guillaume Moreau
  • 36 Pegasus Racing – Courage-Oreca LC75-AER – Julien Schell /Frederic Da Rocha
  • 39 KSM Allemagne Lola B08/47-Judd – Jean De Pourtales/Hideki Noda/Jonathan Kennard
  • 40 Quifel-ASM Team – 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/Darren Manning
  • 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 – Luca Moro/Steve Zacchia/Olivier Lombard
  • 48 Hope Polevision Racing – Formula Le Mans – Christophe Pillon/Vincent Capillaire/Nico Verdonck
  • 49 Applewood Seven – Formula Le Mans-Oreca 09 – Damien Toulemonde/Mathias Beche


  • 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


  • 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 /Tom Coronel
  • 86 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Horst Sr Felbermayr/Horst Jr Felbermayr/Marco Seefried
  • 88 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR Martin Ragginger/Christian Ried/Romain Dumas
  • 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 – TBA

LMP1: 5  LMP2: 19  GT1: 2  GT2: 13  Total: 39

    LMS: Post Spa Race Wrap.

    Spa start

    The #1 Peugeot of Gene leads the field approaching La Source, moments before a spin. - Image courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    Round two of the 2010 Le Mans Series took place under unusual circumstances. The combined effect of wild weather conditions, regional power outages, resulting carnage, and red flag period/race stoppage occurring during the first three hours of the 1000km event made for what turned out to be an eventful afternoon in the Ardennes.

    As the first in a string of many incidents, Audi’s Andre Lotterer would fall victim to greasy track conditions in, damaging the #9 R15+ during pre-race warmup. Despite sustaining damage to to the rear of the chassis, Lotterer later rejoined the race (albeit ten laps behind overall leaders).

    Spinning at La Source during the opening lap, Peugeot’s #3 entry became the second victim of the day. The Oreca-entered Peugeot met a similar fate shortly after, with Panis suffering a race a ending shunt at Radion as a result of the dampened conditions. Peugeot’s charge at the head of the filed continued unhampered, cars 1/2 running in tandem, closely followed by the #7 Audi of McNish.

    #8 Audi of Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer.

    Lotterer defends from Lamy after rejoining the race. - Image courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    By the close hour one, Peugeot had maintained positions 1-3.  Clever pit strategy by the Audi crew saw McNish utilise a brief caution period to take the race lead momentarily, before the race was red flagged due to a region-wide power outage. Racing resumed under green shortly after 2.5 hours. Both marques shared the lead at separate points throughout hour three, with Capello seizing the opportunity to demonstrate the Audi’s performance during rain soaked conditions.

    The remaining hours of the race saw an intense chase to the flag. Pit strategy once again played a crucial role in deciding the victor. In a late race gamble, Audi would opt to return for intermediate tyres during the #7 car’s final pit stop. A move that allowed Kristensen to minimise the margin to race leader Simon Pagenaud to a mere 26 seconds before losing pace due to rapidly drying track surface.

    Pagenaud pilots the #3 Peugeot during the final hour of the race. - Image courtesy Endurance-Magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    The seven time LM24 champion was left with little choice but to surrender to the pace of Sarrazin during the final laps of the race, relegating the #7 Audi to third overall. Pagenaud would cross the line in first to secure a 1-2 finish for the French marque.

    Having commenced the day several laps down on its competitors (due to damage sustained during qualifying) the Strakka entry would be unable to regain time lost to competitors, and would later retire as a result of insufficient spare chassis supplies. RML was left to fly the remaining HPD flag.

    Facing constant competition from OAK, and Quifel entries, the British team maintained a steady pace throughout the duration of the race that would see them take second in class.

    OAK 3/4 positions.

    OAK Racing's #35/24 Pescarolo-Judd entries running third/fourth. - Image courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    OAK’s Pescarolo-Judd package would again be outclassed by its competitors in terms of overall speed. Despite this, the teams’ #35/24 entries would secure third and fourth position in class. 2009 LMP2 series champions, Quifel regained their status as the team to beat after taking class victory.

    Mathias Beche Matech Ford GT

    Matech's Mathias Beche navigating a chicane between Le Combes and Malmedy. - Image courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    GT1 saw an influx of entrants fulfilling minimum (pre-LM24) series participation requirements. Despite speed and reliability issues, the presence of the classic supercar machinery was a notable addition to an already stellar field of GT runners. Having achieved an all-Ford front row in qualifying,  MarcVDS and Matech would continue to dominate throughout the event.

    Despite the (short lived) presence of seasoned Le Mans Series competitors Luc Alphand Adventures, and a pseudo-AMR factory squad (YD-AMR). MarcVDS achieved its maiden LMS class victory, with Matech finishing a close second to round out a Ford dominated weekend in the category.

    #96 AF Corse entry

    Bruni pilots the #96 AF-Corse F430 to victory. - Image courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    Having taken pole position during Saturday’s qualifying session, the AF-Corse entry of Melo/Bruni looked set to be the Italian marque’s best hope of taking the fight to closest rivals, Porsche and BMW. The #96 maintained the class lead for most of hour one. Before a region-wide power failure, resulting in a prolonged red flag period, saw the Felbermayr entry of Lieb/Lietz inherit first position.

    Melo would later take part in a lengthy battle for second position with AF-Corse sister car of Fisichella, Alesi and Vilander in the dying stages of the race. With the Schnitzer BMW of Andy Priaulx in close pursuit.

    Lieb/Lietz Felbermayr Win

    Felbermayr #77 of Lieb and Lietz take their second victory of the season. - Image courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffroy Barre.

    Following the restoration of power to the circuit and its facilities, racing resumed. The #77 Felbermayr crew (having been gifted a one lap buffer on their nearest rivals) later went on to battle with both CRS and Schnitzer entries during the remaining hours. In a flawless display by Porsche factory drivers Lieb and Lietz, the reigning LMS series champions secured their second victory of the season.

    While their participation at Paul Ricard yielded less than desirable results, the Schnitzer BMW Motorsport crew were able to leave Spa with a more promising outlook. Both #78/79 cars displayed vastly improved pace over the course of the event, running as high as second and third during the race. Priaulx brought the #79 chassis to the checkered in fourth position to round out a vastly improved showing for the squad.

    Punching above their weight once more, Formula Le Mans class participants provided fantastic viewing for onlookers. Hope PoleVision would run as high as fourth in category (that’s LMP2) at one point of the race, taking victory over fellow FLM participants Boutsen Energy Racing, and JMB Racing, taking second and third respectively.

    Images courtesy Endurance-Magazine.fr // Geoffroy Barre

    LMS: Spa Qualifying Results.

    Peugeot + Spa qualifying.

    The #3 Peugeot of Bourdais during today's qualifying session. - Image Courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffrey Barre


    1 #3 LMP1 – LAMY Pedro/BOURDAIS /PAGENAUD – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – 1:57.884
    2 #9 LMP1 – BERNHARD /DUMAS /ROCKENFELLER – Audi R15 TDI – 1:58.519
    3 #2 LMP1 – MONTAGNY /SARRAZIN /MINASSIAN – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP 1:59.421
    4 #4 LMP1 – PANIS /LAPIERRE /DUVAL – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – 1:59.623
    5 #8 LMP1 – FASSLER /LOTTERER /TRELUYER – Audi R15 TDI – 1:59.707
    6 #7 LMP1 – CAPELLO /KRISTENSEN /McNISH – Audi R15 TDI – 1:59.795
    7 #1 LMP1 – GENE /WURZ /DAVIDSON – Peugeot 908 HDi – FAP – 1:59.989
    8 #008 LMP1 – RAGUES /MAILLEUX /ICKX – Lola-Aston Martin – 2:02.413
    9 #12 LMP1 – PROST /JANI – Lola B10/60 – Rebellion – 2:02.845
    11 #13 LMP1 – BELICCHI /BOULLION – Lola B10/60 – Rebellion – 2:03.143


    10 #42 – LMP2 – LEVENTIS / WATTS / KANE – HPD ARX-01c – 2:03.135
    12 #25 – LMP2 – ERDOS /NEWTON / WALLACE – Lola- HPD – 2:05.681
    13 #24 – LMP2 – LAHAYE /NICOLET – Pescarolo – Judd 2:07.159
    14 #40 – LMP2 – AMARAL /PLA – Ginetta – Zytek-09S – 2:07.342
    15 #29 – LMP2 – FRANCIONI Filippo/PIRRI Luca ITA/ITA Lola B09 – Judd 2:08.309
    16 #30 – LMP2 – GERI /PICCINI /PICCINI – Lola Coupe B09-Judd – 2:08.398
    17 #35 – LMP2 – MOREAU /HEIN – Pescarolo – Judd 2:09.104
    18 #39 – LMP2 – NODA /de POURTALES /KENNARD – Lola B08/47-Judd 2:09.795
    19 #48 – FLM – PILLON /VERDONCK /CAPILLAIRE – Oreca-09 – 09 2:13.743
    20 #27 – LMP2 – FREY /MEICHTRY /BRUNEAU – Radical SR9 – Judd 2:13.912
    21 #45 – FLM – KRAIHAMER /de CREM /DELHEZ – Oreca – 09 2:14.278
    22 #49 – FLM – TOULEMONDE /ZOLLINGER /ZAMPATTI – Oreca-09  – 2:14.284
    23 #47 – FLM – ZACCHIA /KAUFMANN /MORO – Oreca-09 – 2:15.611
    24 #36 – LMP2 – SCHELL /Da ROCHA – Courage-Oreca LC75 – 2:16.832                                                                                                                                                                                                                             26 #43 – FLM – BARLESI /CICOGNANI /CHALANDONB – Oreca-09 – 2:17.345
    47 #46 – FLM – KUTEMANN /BASSO /HARTSHORNE – Oreca-10 – 2:24.505
    50 #41 – LMP2 – OJJEH /GREAVES /EBBESVIK – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – 59:59.999

    Matech + Thomas Mutsch

    Matech's Thomas Mutsch takes second position to secure an all Ford front row in GT1. - Image Courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffrey Barre


    25 #70 – LMGT1 – LEINDERS /PALTTALA /DE DONCKER – Ford GT Matech 2:17.316                                                                                                                                                                                               27 #60 – LMGT1 – MUTSCH /HIRSCHI /BECHE – Ford GT Matech – 2:18.730
    28 #72 – LMGT1 – JOUSSE /GREGOIRE /HART – Corvette C6.R – 2:19.377
    29 #52 – LMGT1 – ENGE /NYGAARD /MUCKE – Aston Martin DBR9 – 2:19.595
    35 #66 – LMGT1 – SCHROYEN /VAN DAM /LACKO – Saleen S7-R – 2:21.110
    41 #61 – LMGT1 – ALLEMANN /FREY /ZIMMER – Ford GT Matech – 2:21.422
    46 #50 – LMGT1 – GARDEL /GOUESLARD /REES – Saleen S7-R – 2:21.918


    Jaime Melo qualifies the #96 AF-Corse entry. - Image Courtesy Endurance-magazine.fr/Geoffrey Barre


    30 #96 – LMGT2 – BRUNI /MELO – Ferrari F430 GT – 2:20.336
    31 #77-  LMGT2 – LIEB /LIETZ – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – 2:20.416
    32 #91 – LMGT2 – KIRKALDY /MULLEN – Ferrari F430 GT – 2:20.811
    33 #94 – LMGT2 – COMPANC /RUSSO – Ferrari F430 GT – 2:20.941
    34 #90 – LMGT2 – EHRET /QUAIFE /KAFFER – Ferrari F430 GT – 2:21.095
    36 #88 – LMGT2 – RAGGINGER /RIED /LONG – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – 2:21.173
    37 #78 – LMGT2 – MULLER /WERNER /ALZEN – BMW M3 – 2:21.257
    38 #76 – LMGT2 – PILET /NARAC – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – 2:21.328
    39 #75 – LMGT2 – HOLZER /WESTBROOK – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – 2:21.403
    40 #92 – LMGT2 – BELL /TURNER – Aston Martin Vantage 2:21.420
    42 #79 – LMGT2 – PRIAULX /MULLER /FARFUS – BMW M3 – 2:21.509
    43 #85 – LMGT2 – DUMBRECK /CORONEL – Spyker C8 Laviolette – 2:21.564
    44 #95 – LMGT2 – ALESI /FISICHELLA /VILANDER – Ferrari F430 GT – 2:21.750
    45 #89 – LMGT2 – FARNBACHER /SIMONSEN – Ferrari F430 GT – 2:21.752
    48 #98 – LMGT2 – van SPLUNTEREN /HOMMERSON /MACHIELSN – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – 2:25.468
    49 #93 – LMGT2 – DANIELS /SLINGERLAND /LANIK – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – 2:25.607

    ALMS: Post Longbeach Race wrap.

    ALMS LogoThe second round of the ALMS season looked promising on all fronts. The 2010 rendition of the event saw a record 36 entrants take to the streets of Longbeach, with a field consisting of seven LMP, thirteen GT, seven LMPC, and nine LMPC entries.

    Being the first race of many to be run under IMSA’s recently introduced LMP equalisation rules, and the shortest event on the calendar at just 100mins, Longbeach managed to deliver the excitement series organisers and fans had been hoping for straight out of the box. The prototype ranks saw an intensely fought battle between series favourites Highcroft and AMR throughout the course of the weekend. AMR drew first blood during qualifying, with series regular Adrian Fernandez securing pole position by a margin of .072sec over Highcroft’s Simon Pagenaud.

    The race opened in typical Longbeach fashion with an awkward scramble for position into turn one. LMP was very much an AMR/Highcroft dominated affair, with both cars being closely matched in terms of overall speed, each showing their strengths and weaknesses in different sections of the tight, beach side circuit. The two teams, very much in their own class, exchanged heated lap times in the earlier stages of the race. Primat and Brabham opting to set a consistently brutal pace that their partners would later maintain throughout the course of the event.

    Fernandez and Pagenaud battle on the streets of Longbeach - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

    After an ambitious showing from both drivers, Brabham would make contact with Primat through the tighter corners of the second sector, causing the Swiss driver to lose control of the Lola-AMR, damaging the fragile left-rear bodywork. A move which resulted in a stop-go penalty for the Highcroft team. Displaying a refreshing level of maturity and professionalism, Brabham later took full responsibility for the incident, taking the time to apologise to both Primat and AMR for causing any damage.

    The final minutes of Longbeach 2010 saw a display of spirited driving the event has now become renowned for. Having replaced Primat at the wheel of the #007 AMR, Fernandez moved into first place. Pagenaud fought furiously to move the #1 Highcroft car through the congested GT traffic, struggling to keep pace with the AMR’s powerful V12 on the main straight. Showing the ARX01’s obvious speed through the tighter sections of the track, the Frenchman took advantage of a final lap error by Fernandez. Taking first place overall, beating the Lola-AMR by across the start/finish line by mere 0.353sec.

    MuscleMilk team CytoSport’s duo of Pickett/Graf placed third in the combined LMP class. The teams’ RS Spyder also winning Michelin’s ‘GreenX Challenge’  as a result of being the fastest/most efficient prototype entry for the duration of the event. A respectable showing for the recent Sebring 12H LMP2 champions.

    Risi leads field into first corner

    Melo leads during the opening laps - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

    The GT category proved to be a worthy dogfight, commencing in a very similar manner to Sebring. The #14 FalkenTire entry of Henzler took off to an early lead, only to fall back into the field shortly after as a result of the not-so-developed Falken shoes on the car. Daring pit strategies by the Rahal Letterman and Flying Lizard squads led to an entertaining brawl for position in the later stages of the race.

    RLR BMW of Auberlen/Milner, FalkenTyre in pursuit.

    #92 RLR BMW of Auberlen/Milner - Image courtesy Speedtv.com/John Dagys.

    Opting against a fresh set of Dunlops during the cars’ sole pit stop had seemingly paid off for the #92 RLR-BMW, until the closing laps. The #45 of Long would pass a struggling Milner, now left defending against Magnussen and Bruni on double-stinted tyres. Long would go on to finish first for the Flying Lizard Motorsports squad in a deserving victory for the #45 team, after suffering heartbreak at Sebring. In a valuable points haul for the P&M squad, Magnussen would finish second, followed by the #92 RLR-BMW of Milner, and #62 Risi Ferrari of Bruni in fourth.

    LMPC saw a close fight between the #99 Green Earth Gunnar, #55 Level5 Motorsport, and #36 Genoa entries. Jeanette would go on to take victory in the #99, followed by the #55 of Bouchut in second, and the #36 of Sutherland finishing third. In GTC the #81 Alex Job entry backed up their Sebring victory by reigning triumphant on the Californian streets. The #81 crew of Leitzinger/Gonzalez taking the first step of the podium, followed by #32 of Sofranas/Curtis in second, and #23 of Sweedler/Kapudija in third.

    Final position listings can be seen below:

    1. 1     P             (Brabham)/Pagenaud*        67           HPD ARX-01c
    2. 007 P           (Primat)/Fernandez*           67           Lola B09 60 Aston
    3. 6     P             (Pickett)/Graf*                        67           Porsche RS Spyder
    4. 16   P             (Dyson*)/Smith                      67           Lola B09 86 Mazda
    5. 99   PC          (Julian)/Jeannette*              66           Oreca FLM09
    6. 55   PC          (Tucker)/Bouchut*               65           Oreca FLM09
    7. 36   PC          (Hildebrand*)/Sutherland 65           Oreca FLM09
    8. 45   GT          (Bergmeister)/Long*           65           Porsche 911 RSR
    9. 12   P             (Drissi*)/Davis                        65           Lola B06 10
    10. 3     GT          (Magnussen/(O’Connell*)   65           Chevrolet
    11. 92   GT          (Auberlen*)/Milner             65            BMW M3 GT
    12. 62   GT          (Melo*/(Bruni)                       65            Ferrari 430 GT
    13. 90   GT          (Mueller)/Hand*                   65            BMW M3 GT
    14. 17   GT          (Sellers/(Henzler*)               65            Porsche 911 RSR
    15. 01   GT          (Sharp*/(van Overbeek)    65            Ferrari 430 GT
    16. 02   GT          (Brown)/Cosmo*                  64            Ferrari 430 GT
    17. 89   PC           (Pagerey/(Wong*)               63            Oreca FLM09
    18. 4     GT           (Beretta*)/Gavin                  63             Chevrolet Corvette
    19. 81   GTC        (Gonzalez)/Leitzinger*      63             Porsche 911 GT3 C
    20. 32   GTC        (Curtis)/Sofronas*              63             Porsche 911 GT3 C
    21. 23   GTC        (Sweedler)/Kapudija*       63              Porsche 911 GT3 C
    22. 11   PC           (Bonilla)/Marcelli*             62              Oreca FLM09
    23. 40   GT          (D.Robertson/(Murry*)   62              Doran Ford GT-R
    24. 88   GTC        (Lewis*/(Vento)                  62              Porsche 911 GT3 C
    25. 8     P              (Drayson)/Cocker*             62              Lola B09 60
    26. 48   GTC        (Miller*/(McMullen)          61              Porsche 911 GT3 C
    27. 69   GTC        (Rodriguez)/Bieker*           61             Porsche 911 GT3 C
    28. 80   GTC        (Gonzalez/(Diaz*)                60            Porsche 911 GT3 C
    29. 54   GTC        (Pappas)/Bleekemolen*    60            Porsche 911 GT3 C
    30. 37   P             (J.Field*)/C.Field                 48            Lola B06 10
    31. 63   GTC        (Richard)/Lally*                  48            Porsche 911 GT3 C
    32. 75   GT          (Gentilozzi)/Dalziel*           45            Jaguar XKRS
    33. 44   GT          (Law*/(Neiman)                   28            Porsche 911 RSR
    34. 28   GTC       (Beggs*)/Baron                     6               Porsche 911 GT3 C
    35. 52   PC          (Mowlem*/(Papadopoulos)3           Oreca FLM09
    36. 95   PC          (Tucker*/(Hunter-Reay) 0                Oreca FLM09

    LMS: Post Paul Ricard Race wrap.





    The Le Mans Series 2011 season began in superb style this weekend at Paul Ricard HTTT for the inaugural running of the 8 hours of Le Castellet.

    The first event of the season played host to a field of high calibre entrants, some seasoned veterans, others trying their hand at endurance for the first time.  All in all results were somewhat varied. LMP2 and GT2 categories played host to many intense battles and, to the surprise of many, the production of exhilarating racing at Paul Ricard ensued.

    Le Castellet_first lap battle.

    Joest, Oreca, and AMR entries engage in heated exchange on lap one. - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag / GeoffreyBarre.

    The opening minutes of the race saw a flurry of movement in prototype and GT classes. As drama struck early in LMP1, class favourites Audi and Peugeot inflicted minor contact upon one another while navigating chicanes on lap one. This allowing the #009 Lola-AMR of Stefan Mücke to assume the race lead (if only briefly), before the the diesels continued their charge.

    In the later stages of hour one, the #4 Oreca-entered Peugeot’s chances of victory suffered a diminishign blow. As Sarrazin was forced to pitlane as a result of mechanical issues with the car’s airjack mounting system – noticed by crew members during the team’s first pit stop. This failure would prove costly, costing the #4 approximately twenty minutes on repairs, ultimately leading to a seven lap loss on class rivals, Joest. Benefiting from the late race misfortunes of the team’s #6 Oreca01 sister car, the #4 would go on to secure fourth overall.

    Audi's R15+ turns competitive laps for the first time, during the 8H Le Castellet - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

    Unhindered after trading paint with the Oreca Peugeot, the #7 Audi (with McNish then at the wheel) would go on to obtain first place from the AMR-Lola. The Scot continued to lap flawlessly in the R15+, maintaining a constant pace of 1:43-1:45s per lap before ceding driving duties to teammate, Capello.

    Inheriting the car mid-way through hour two of the event, the Italian continued in much the same fashion as McNish. Demonstrating the virtues of consistent lapping and tyre/fuel conservation afforded by Audi’s modified R15+ chassis. The #7 would complete the remaining six hours of the race with minimal difficulty to secure first overall, covering a distance 1540km, and taking double championship points.

    As a direct result of Oreca’s mechanical dramas, the #009 Lola-AMR inherited second place in the latter stages of the opening hour, maintaining the position for the entire race. Exempting a late race tyre-lockup, the #009 crew of Mücke, Fernandez and Primat would round out an almost faultless showing, taking a well-deserved second place overall, and first of the petrol LMP1 finishers.

    Rebellion #13

    Rebelllion's #13 Lola-Judd.- Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

    After experiencing early-race suspension difficulties with the team’s #12 car, Rebellion managed to turn the tables with their remaining #13 Lola-Judd. Having been gifted further position in the opening hour of the race (a result of the Oreca Peugeot’s misfortune), the #13 crew of Smith, Boullion, and Belicchi would maintain pace with AMR’s #009 Lola-AMR squad for several hours – even looking likely to challenge the AMR squad for second overall in at certain periods of the race. Rebellion’s remaining chassis would ultimately go on to maintain third position to achieve a podium for the squad.

    Strakka's #42 ARX01c LMP2 challenger - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

    Having set the pace during qualifying, Strakka racing surged to an early lead in the LMP2 class, reaffirming the solidity of Acura’s ARX01c package. Reigning champions Quifel-ASM slotted into second, followed by OAK.

    Opting to maintain a steady pace in favour of single-lap speed, both cars would visibly struggle to maintain pace with Strakka. Despite this, the #42 would later suffer issues in pitlane, placing the Strakka squad five laps down on class leaders Quifel-ASM, who would inherit the lead, followed by OAK Racing’s pair of Pescarolos.

    In what was (with little doubt) one of the drives of the race, Strakka’s trio of Watts, Kane and Leventis, mounted a dramatic comeback charge. Managing to thread their way through slower GT and prototype traffic (often maintaining a pace comparable with P1 entries), Strakka would regain a five lap margin on class leaders Quifel-ASM, taking victory in spectacular fashion.

    Felbermayr 1-2.

    Felbermayr's pair of #77/88 entries running in 1-2 tandem - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / GeoffreyBarre.

    Having endured arguably one of the series tightest qualifying sessions in recent history (  positions 1-11 separated by 1.7sec) the GT2 battle looked promising from the outset. Jostling for position commenced early, and in a heated manner with heavy movement at both ends of the category.

    Pole setter, Bruni commenced the race for AF-Corse by drawing a considerable margin over nearest rivals. Felbermayr’s #77 of Lietz moved from second to seventh from the start in mere seconds. The #96 AF-Corse entry would eventually suffer race-ending engine difficulties during the fifth hour. One of the many Ferrari casualties throughout the day.

    Although slightly down the order, the #77 would continue to set the pace in GT2, snaring the lead prior to the downfall of the #96, a position the duo of Lietz/Lieb would maintain for the remainder of the event. The #88 sister car of Ragginger/Long/Ried would finish in second place, after avoiding drama to gradually work its way through the field and ensure a Felbermayr 1-2 finish.

    BMW M3_8H Le Castellet

    BMW M3 E92 of Jörg Müller/Dirk Werner - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag/GeoffreyBarre.


    One of the highlights of the GT2 class was the #78 M3 E92 Schnitzer/BMW Motorsports entry. The Charley Lamm led squad opted for a fuel-efficient strategy,deciding against outright pace in the hope of offsetting their rivals pitstops during the final hours.

    Drivers Werner/Müller managed to bring the car to third place in the GT2 field during the first half the race before suffering a radiator leak, forcing the team into damage control mode, and losing several laps to the class leader. Werner/Müller would go on to finish sixth in class.

    Classified as part of the LMP2 category (thus appearing at the deep end), the Formula Le Mans class spent much of the race in the shadow of faster P1/P2 counterparts. A great mistake on the ACO’s part, given that the class provided exciting racing throughout the course of the day.

    The Hope Pole Vision, DAMS, and AppleWood Seven teams battled furiously throughout the eight hour event, with victory eventually going to to the Gulf-liveried AppleWood seven entry.

    While the inaugural running of the event didn’t quite deliver the LMP1 mega battle fans may have been hoping for, the LMP2, GT2, and FLM classes provided some great racing for viewers (although the majority of the race wasn’t ‘viewed’ persay – courtesy of our good friends at EuroSport). If Paul Ricard is but a taste of what is yet to come in 2010, LMS is due for what looks to be one of the most action packed seasons in recent years.