ILMC: Series poised to assume role of FIA World Endurance Championship

World sportscar racing is set to undergo dramatic change following the ACO's recently forged alliance with the FIA. - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / Geoffroy Barre

World sportscar racing is set to undergo dramatic change following the ACO's recently forged alliance with the FIA. - Image Courtesy EnduranceMag.fr / Geoffroy Barre

Having finalised 2012 plans for the various championships under its administration, the FIA today revealed details of a new partnership with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hour, and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, during a council meeting in Barcelona.

Under the recently revealed plans, the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup will commence operation under the FIA banner, assuming the name and role of ‘FIA World Endurance Series’ as of 2012. The ACO will continue to operate as the administrative and regulatory body for the championship.

Unlike the current ILMC, the new series will award World Endurance Championship titles to both constructors and drivers, within each category.

Despite regulatory changes in other sportscar categories under the FIA’s jurisdiction, the new World Endurance Championship is expected to maintain its current class structure (i.e. LMP, GTE etc), and remain a standalone series.

The WEC will consist of at least six events, including the Le Mans 24 Hour. It remains unclear as to how the involvement of both Le Mans Series, and American Le Mans Series events will be affected.

The official release (found here) also details plans for revisions to the current FIA GT1 World championship. With plans indicating the current series will continue operation under the title ‘World GT Championship’, and allow entry to a greater array of GT machinery.

As of 2012, the revised ‘World GT Championship’ will accept 2011 GT3, and 2009 GT2 chassis, in addition to current GT1 vehicles. The series will continue to operate under the sprint format.

It should be noted that, despite both operating under the FIA banner (and allowing entry to LM-GTE eligible vehicles), the ‘World Endurance Championship’ and ‘World GT Championship’ will continue to operate as separate entities, and standalone series.

FIA President, Jean Todt:

“I am delighted to welcome the return of the FIA Endurance World Championship, especially with a promoter like ACO. I am also very pleased to have a legendary race like the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of it.”

ACO President, Jean-Claude Plassart:

“I am very happy we have reached this agreement with the FIA, a partnership which underlines the rightful place that endurance racing has in motorsport, something we have been promoting since we first established the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1923.

Jean Todt has accepted my invitation to start this year’s 24 Hours race on Saturday June 11, a symbolic and visible way to celebrate our partnership.”

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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.

ALMS: Petit Le Mans Entry list.

ALMS Logo

Provisional entry listings for the 13th running of the annual Petit Le Mans classic, the second round of the inaugural Intercontinental Cup, have now been released. As expected LMP numbers have increased to a respectable twelve entries. The field including entries from both Audi and Peugeot. Despite expressing interest during the early races of the series, the grid is devoid of any factory AMR presence.

In the LMP2 category the championship battle is still very much alive. With Highcroft only possessing a marginal points lead over rivals, Cytosport, series honours remain a possibility for both squads. Despite rumours indicating the addition of several European privateer teams, OAK Racing remains the only Le Mans Series participant to commit an entry.

Although lacking in international flavour, additional entries and the appearance of new faces boost the GT category to its most healthy state in recent years. Additional entries from both Robertson Racing and JaguarRSR, along with the appearance of the ACS Doran Ford GT and the eagerly anticipated Panoz Abruzzi entry of PTG will see the GT category sporting a field of 17 entries.

Full entry listings can be seen below.

LMP1

  • 7 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15+ – Rinaldo Capello / Tom Kristensen / Allan McNish
  • 8 Drayson Racing – Lola B09 60-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker / Emanuele Pirro
  • 9 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15+ – Marcel Fässler / Andre Lotterer / Benoît Treluyer
  • 12 Autocon Motorsports – Lola B06 10-AER – Bryan Willman / Tony Burgess /Chris McMurry
  • 37 Intersport Racing – Lola B06 10-AER – Jon Field / Clint Field
  • 07 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDI FAP – Marc Gené / Alexander Wurz / Anthony Davidson
  • 08 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDI FAP – Pedro Lamy / Franck Montagny / Stéphane Sarrazin

LMP2

  • 1 Patrón Highcroft Racing – HPD ARX-01c – David Brabham / Simon Pagenaud / Marino Franchitti
  • 5 Libra Racing – Radical SR9-IES – Andrew Prendeville / TBD
  • 6 Muscle Milk Team CytoSport – Porsche RS Spyder – Klaus Graf / Sascha Maassen / Lucas Luhr
  • 16 Dyson Racing Team Castrol – Lola B09 86-Mazda – Chris Dyson / Guy Smith / Andy Meyrick
  • 24 Oak Racing – Pescarolo P01-Judd – Jacques Nicolet / Frédéric Da Rocha / Patrice Lafargue

GT1

  • 66 Atlas eFX-Team – Saleen S7R – Carlo van Dam / TBD / TBD

GT2

  • 3 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Johnny O’Connell /Olivier Beretta / Antonio Garcia
  • 4 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 – Oliver Gavin / Jan Magnussen / Emmanuel Collard
  • 10 ACS Express Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – Brandon Davis / Boris Said / Townsend Bell
  • 17 Team Falken Tire – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Bryan Sellers / Wolf Henzler / Martin Ragginger
  • 21 Panoz Team PTG – Panoz Abruzzi Spirit of Le Mans – Ian James / Benjamin Leunberger
  • 33 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKR – TBD / TBD
  • 40 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – David Robertson / Andrea Robertson / David Murry
  • 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Darren Law / Seth Neiman
  • 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Long
  • 61 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Giancarlo Fisichella / Toni Vilander / Mika Salo
  • 62 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 430 GT – Jaime Melo / Gianmaria Bruni
  • 75 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKR – Paul Gentilozzi / Marc Goossens / Ryan Dalziel
  • 90 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing – BMW M3 GT – Dirk Müller / Joey Hand / TBD
  • 92 BMW Rahal Letterman Racing – BMW M3 GT – Bill Auberlen / Tommy Milner / TBD
  • 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Scott Sharp / Johannes van Overbeek / Dominik Farnbacher
  • 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports – Ferrari 430 GT – Ed Brown / Guy Cosmo / Joao Barbosa
  • 04 Robertson Racing – Doran Design Ford GT – Anthony Lazzaro / Rob Bell / David Murry

GTH

  • Porsche Motorsports North America – Porsche 911 GT3R Hybrid – Timo Bernhard / Romain Dumas / Mike Rockenfeller

LMPC

  • 36 Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM09 – TBD / TBD
  • 52 PR1/ Mathiasen Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Ricardo Gonzalez / Luis Diaz
  • 55 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Scott Tucker / Christophe Bouchut
  • 73 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Antonio Downs / Lucas Downs / Matt Downs
  • 89 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM09 – Kyle Marcelli / Chapman Ducote / David Ducote
  • 95 Level 5 Motorsports – Oreca FLM09 – Scott Tucker / Andy Wallace
  • 99 Green Earth Team Gunnar – Oreca FLM09 – Gunnar Jeannette / Christian Zugel

GTC

  • 23 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bill Sweedler / Romeo Kapudija / Jan-Dirk Lueders
  • 28 911 Design – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Loren Beggs / Doug Baron
  • 48 Paul Miller Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Bryce Miller / Luke Hines
  • 54 Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Timothy Pappas / Jeroen Bleekemolen / Sebastiaan Bleekemolen
  • 63 TRG – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Henri Richard / Andy Lally / Duncan Ende
  • 69 WERKS II Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Robert Rodriguez / Galen Bieker
  • 88 Velox Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Shane Lewis / Jerry Vento

LMP1 = 7  LMP2 = 5  GT1 = 1  GT2 = 17  GTH = 1  LMPC = 7  GTC = 7  Total = 45

LMS: Silverstone Entry List.

LMS_Tag_Tab

Round five of the Le Mans Series sees the championship head to the Silverstone circuit for the final race of the season. Rounding off at a healthy 47 entries, the event will also play host to the opening round of the Intercontinental Cup.

Notable additions to the field include factory LMP1 entries from Audi, Peugeot, and AMR squads. GT2 sees the return of Schnitzer/BMW Motorsport and the appearance of the Gulf Team First Lamborghini LP560.

LMP1

  • 007 Aston Martin Racing – Lola Aston Martin – Adrian Fernandez / Harold Primat / Andrew Meyrick
  • 008 Signature – Lola Aston Martin – Pierre Ragues / Franck Mailleux  / Vanina Ickx
  • 009 Aston Martin Racing – Lola Aston Martin – Juan Barazi / Sam Hancock
  • 1 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Anthony Davidson / Nicolas Minassian
  • 11 Drayson Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker
  • 20 Team LNT – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Tony Burgess / Johnny Mowlem / Chris McMurry
  • 4 Team Oreca Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Nicolas Lapierre / Stéphane Sarrazin
  • 7 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15 TDI – Tom Kristensen / Allan McNish
  • 8 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15 TDI – Timo Bernhard / Dindo Capello
  • 5 Beechdean Mansell – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Nigel Mansell / Leo Mansell  / Greg 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

LMP2

  • 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 / Simon Phillips
  • 35 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Richard Hein / Guillaume Moreau
  • 36 Pegasus Racing – Courage-Oreca LC75-AER – Julien Schell /Frederic Da Rocha
  • 39 KSM – 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 / 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-10 – 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

GT1

  • 50 Larbre Competition – Saleen S7-R – Gabriele Gardel / Patrice Goueslard / Fernando Rees
  • 66 Atlas FX-Team FS – Saleen S7-R – Carlo Van Dam / Zsolt Baumgartner / James Winslow

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
  • 78 BMW Team Schnitzer – BMW M3 – Jörg Müller / Dirk Werner
  • 85 Spyker Squadron – Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R – Peter Dumbreck / Tom Coronel
  • 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 – Gianmaria Bruni / Jaime Melo
  • 99 Gulf Team First –  Lamborghini LP560 – Fabien Giroix / Roald Goethe

LMP1: 12  LMP2: 19  GT1: 2  GT2: 14  Total: 47

LMS: Hungaroring Entry List Released.

LMS_Tag_Tab

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:

LMP1

  • 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

LMP2

  • 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

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

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 /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

    24 Heures Du Mans 2010 – Post Race Wrap.

    Bourdais leads Peugeot's assault into turn one. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

    Bourdais leads Peugeot's assault into turn one. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

    A brutal display of style, glamour, and speed, the Le Mans 24 Hour manages to provide an atmospheric roller coaster ride of raw emotion unable to be matched by any other event the world over on a yearly basis.

    This year’s edition of the event bore a special significance for many reasons. For both fans and competitors, 2010 would provide the swan song for a once titanic GT category now left stagnant as a result of lacking manufacturer interest. For GT1 class competitors it’s the end of an era. After providing a worthy stomping ground for a selection of the world’s greatest supercars for the better part of the last decade, the GT1 category will see its last year of competition at the 24 Hour.

    LMP categories would also see the final running of current-spec machinery before a major regulations change is enforced for the 2011 season. Although fraught with attrition, the 2010 running of the 24 hour classic delivered one of the more bizarre, yet mesmerising renditions of the race in recent years.

    Hour one of the event saw the use of several, extended caution periods resulting in multiple safety car deployments. The first of which would be caused by the retirement of both Autocon and Beechdean Mansell entries. Several laps later the premature (yet highly anticipated) return of Jaguar (in the form of US-based, JaguarRSR) would succumb to a similar fate as a result of electrical difficulties. An innocent casualty of the events, Joest would lose over 60sec to the overall leading Peugeots. The disparity due to a difference in running pace between two of the circuit’s safety cars.

    Peugeot #2 of Sarrazin/Minassian/Montagny. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Peugeot #2 of Sarrazin/Minassian/Montagny. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Having set the benchmark for single-lap pace, Peugeot had stamped its dominance early in both practice and qualifying sessions. The reigning LMP1 champions would commence from positions one through four, tailed by the trio of Audi entries, and the petrol-engined LMP field (lead of course by AMR). Despite possessing an obvious performance advantage during the first half of the race, the Peugeot squad would again be haunted by reliability issues.

    Drama would strike late in the third hour for the #3 Peugeot of Bourdais, Pagenaud, and Lamy. Having been swiftly summoned to pitlane, the French squad would set to work furiously, with idle team members and spare bodywork to maintain any means of disguising the nature of repair efforts taking place. The pole-setting chassis was officially retired as a result of a front suspension failure.

    Peugeot maintained a 1-2-3 formation at the front of the field and, with three factory Audis now only a small margin behind, the goose chase for the overall lead was well underway. Frustration would set in over the next several hours for both Peugeot and Audi squads. Peugeot #1 would be forced to pitlane courtesy of a failed alternator late during the seventh hour. With maintenance costing the French team over 12 minutes, ultimately taking the reigning champions out of contention for victory.

    Peugeot would continue to hold positions 1-2, Audi remaining in close pursuit with cars #9/8 only a small margin behind. All the while AMR cars continued to turn consistent laps without error in positions 7/8 to maintaining their lead over fellow petrol-powered LMP1 counterparts. By mid race distance it was the Oreca Peugeot to suffer issues.

    The Peugeot #2 squad completes one of the more successful pit stops of the day. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    The Peugeot #2 squad completes one of the more successful pit stops of the day. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    The team’s #4 entry being forced to pitlane, leaking oil as a result of engine faults. The #4 later returned to the race, losing thirteen minutes as a result of the repairs. Only some four hours later, the race leading #2 Peugeot would suffer a dramatic engine blowout on the approach to Tertre Rouge, resulting in a second factory Peugeot retirement.

    This occurrence would prove to be a turning point for the Audi squad, inheriting the lead as a result of the #2 Peugeot’s retirement. With cars #9/8 now running in positions 1/2 respectively, the Joest cars would begin to increase pace as Peugeot opted for an all or nothing approach to victory. Despite being over a lap down on the leaders, the #1 car (at at the time driven by Davidson) had been instructed to take necessary action in order to ensure Peugeot victory (even at the cost of lower class participant’s safety).

    Peugeot’s problems would only worsen throughout the remaining hours. While managing to reduce the margin to the leading Audi to under a lap, the sole factory #1 Peugeot would ultimately suffer a similar fate as its sister cars. Retiring in the dying hours of the race as a result of an engine blowout (now thought to have been caused by a faulty turbo).

    With all factory cars now out of the running, the responsibility of flying the French marque’s flag would be left to the Oreca squad, and the hands of talented rookie, Loic Duval. Had Duval’s pace been maintained a podium position would have been possible for the local team. Unfortunately for the Oreca team the #4 would suffer a similar fate to it’s factory cousins. The car failing midway through the 22nd hour of the race, taking with it any chance of a face saving finish for the French manufacturer.

    The race winning #9 Audi of Rockenfeller/Dumas/Bernhard. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    The race winning #9 Audi of Rockenfeller/Dumas/Bernhard. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Having not been able to compete with the single-pace set by their Peugeot rivals, the goal of would be to endure the imminent storm. Normally the fastest entry in the Joest camp, the #7 squad had suffered setup difficulties throughout practice and qualifying sessions, placing the car slightly off the pace of its #8/#9 sister cars.

    The #7 would later suffer a delay early in the race as a result of a damaged BMW straying across the Porsche curves. Although not suffering any major damage, the #7 would be pitted for preventative maintenance. This unfortunate turn of events would shift the balance of power to the #9/8 Joest entries. Both of which would now be tasked with maintaining the chase for victory. The #9 crew had maintained consistent pace through the event, focusing on sustainable speed. The distinguished trio of Rockenfeller/Bernhard/Dumas would lead home cars #8/7 to secure an Audi 1-2-3 finish.

    #42 ARX01c of Strakka racing. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    #42 ARX01c of Strakka racing. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Setting a pace bordering on cruelty, LMP2 had promised to be an HPD dominated affair from the outset.

    With HPD-powered entries qualifying 1-2-3, and managing average lap times over four seconds faster than the nearest class competitors, P2 regulars were in for a tough day at the office. Having beaten race favourites Highcroft to the class pole, Strakka had immediately stamped their position as the team to beat.

    Having lead the race for 356 laps (to Highcrofts 11 laps-lead) the Strakka trio of Danny Watts/Jonny Kane/Nick Leventis would finish first in category, placing an excellent fifth overall (only laps behind first-home petrol LMP1 team Oreca) to take their maiden 24 hour victory and, in doing so, handing the ARX01c a victory on its LM24 debut. In addition to this, the teams HPD package also won Michelin’s GreenX challenge.

    Highcroft's Marco Werner navigates the Ralentisseur chicane. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Highcroft's Marco Werner navigates the Ralentisseur chicane. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Overshadowed by a myriad of technical difficulties, from shrapnel induced tyre punctures, to oil leaks and water pressure issues, the Danbury, Connecticut-based squad managed a semi-successful 24 Hour debut. Despite the presence of reigning champion David Brabham, multiple Le Mans overall winner Marco Werner, and up and coming endurance star Marino Franchitti, the Highcroft team were unable to match the speed and reliability of their Trans-Atlantic cousins. Plagued by misfortunes throughout the event, Highcroft would minimise the gap to their Strakka counterparts to less than two laps on several occasions. A margin which would unfortunately never be regained

    OAK racing, and RML would round off the LMP2 podium finishing second and third respectively. In the unexpected absence of the Highcroft team, RML’s position would secure HPD’s second debut podium finish.

    YoungDriver AMR leads the GT1 field through the Dunlop Esses. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

    YoungDriver AMR leads the GT1 field through the Dunlop Esses. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

    Contesting their final year of Le Mans competition, the GT1 swansong was, at times trying and, although well and truly outclassed by their GT2 counterparts the once mighty supercar category managed to produce a fitting outcome.

    Dominated in its early stages by Matech and MarcVDS entries (both teams suffering race ending mechanical failures during the first half of the race) the ailing eight car category (consisting of six GT1WC entries) saw the lead shared by no less than six different entries throughout duration the race.

    Despite the obvious pace of the Ford, Corvette, and Aston Martin entries, reliability would once again prove to be a deciding factor. Although not the fastest car in its category (or the category below it), Le Mans veterans and fan favourites Larbre Competition would finish the race with minimal error to take first in class, in a fitting tribute to both the category and machinery.

    #82 Risi entry enters the Mulsanne. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    #82 Risi entry enters the Mulsanne. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Widely proclaimed as the new manufacturer stomping ground, and with seven marques present the GT2 category was set for a cracking battle. In typical Le Mans fashion, the Risi squad managed the surge to an early lead in the opening hours (despite having been relegated to the rear of the starting grid).

    The team would go on to endure an intense battle with the P&M squad throughout hours six/seven. In an unfortunate twist, Risi would later suffer tranmission issues, forcing the #82 to pitlane for lengthy repairs, ruling them out of the chase for victory.

    #63 Corvette of O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

    #63 Corvette of O'Connell/Magnussen/Garcia. - Image courtesy of Geoffroy Barre / leblogauto.com

    The #82 would later go on to retire as a result of the persisting difficulties. Leaving the P&M Corvette squad to dominate the category for what seemed like the majority of the event.

    Running in 1/2 tandem for several hours, everything seemed to be going right for the American outfit. During a two hour period, disaster struck for the P&M team. The departure of the #63 P&M entry as a result of engine issues would leave the #64 to fly the remaining Corvette flag.

    In a controversial incident, an impatient Anthony Davidson would attempt to pass the #64 Corvette entry of endurance veteran Emmanuelle Collard through the tight Porsche curves while on a late race charge for victory. This would cause Collard to lose control of the Corvette, sending the car spinning into nearby barriers. Suffering massive rear damage as a result of the impact, Collard would be forced to limp the severely damaged #64 back to pitlane where the team would furiously attempt a repair operation.

    Davidson later commented on the incident in a bid to plead his innocence, only managing to insinuate Collard (amongst other GT competitors) had made intentional efforts to cause difficulty for the (then chasing) PeugeotSport team. Davidson retracted the statement/s in a later interview.

    While the #64 did manage to return to the field, it would later retire as a result of engine issues similar to those suffered by the #63 car, leaving the justifiably distraught American team without any result.

    A victim of late regulation changes, the #79 BMW Motorsport entry during the early hours of the race. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    A victim of late regulation changes, the #79 BMW Motorsport entry during the early hours of the race. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    A contender in its class, a fan favourite, and like many others, an unfortunate casualty. BMW’s return to La Sarthe was not as triumphant as many had originally hoped.

    Having been hit with an increase in restrictor size (resulting in the loss of 10-15hp) upon arrival to La Sarthe, the manufacturer’s bid for victory would suffer a major setback from the outset. While down on single-lap pace, the aim of the Schnitzer squad was no doubt to endure the storm of inevitable attrition. A strategy adopted by the team during both Le Mans Series rounds.

    Unfortunately for the Bavarians, sparks of promise were shown but reliable performance was not forthcoming. Suffering multiple tyre punctures (amongst other difficulties), the #79 would return to pitlane on several occasions during the opening hours of the race. The entry being officially retired after the eighth hour. The remaining #78 entry of Müller/Alzen/Farfus also experienced its fair share of difficulties but, despite tyre and engine difficulties would go on to finish sixth in category.

    Felbermayr-Proton's class winning #77 entry of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Felbermayr-Proton's class winning #77 entry of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler. - Image courtesy Geoffroy Barre / endurance-magazine.fr

    Maintaining a sustainable pace throughout the race and opting to focus on reliability, the #77 Felbermayr squad would inherit the class lead shortly after the late race departure of Corvette #64. Having run a flawless race to edge out Risi,P&M, and BMW entries, the #77 crew found themselves with a two lap lead over nearest placed rivals, Hankook Farnbacher #89, and BMS Scuderia Italia #97 with several hours still remaining.

    The trio of Lieb/Lietz/Henzler would continue to lead for the remaining hours to finish a phenomenal eleventh overall, taking Felbermayr’s maiden 24 Hour victory and, after years of Ferrari domination, reclaiming the LM24 GT2 crown for Porsche. A fitting triumph for Le Mans most successful marque.

    With the curtains now drawn and the race now run and won for another year, the Sportscar world sits back to ponder…only another 12 months until the madness begins all over again.

    Images courtesy Geoffroy Barre // Endurance-Magazine.fr // leblogauto.com

    leblogauto.com

    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