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: Leitzinger/Drissi Join JaguarRSR for Petit Le Mans.

JaguarRSR's XKR GT2 during the 2010 6H Laguna Seca. - Image Courtesy Speedtv.com/Doug Werner.

JaguarRSR's XKR GT2 during the 2010 6H Laguna Seca. - Image Courtesy Speedtv.com/Doug Werner.

In a recent press release, JaguarRSR has unveiled driver lineups for the team’s Petit Le Mans debut. Some time ago the team confirmed it would field an additional XKR GT2 entry for the event, only now have specific details been released regarding the entry.

Endurance Aces, Butch Leitzinger and Tommi Drissi will join the squad for the 10 hour/1000 mile event, piloting the #33 chassis with JaguarRSR team owner and driver, Paul Gentilozzi.

Having driven a wide array of both prototype and GT machinery over the years, Leitzinger brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. Known more recently for his exploits with Alex Job Racing in the GTC category, Leitzinger has a total of 91 ALMS starts to his name.

With victories at Le Mans, Daytona, in addition to various championships (i.e.  WSC, CanAm, and IMSA GTU), the talented North American provides vital substance to the growing team.

With recent outings in both LMP and TransAm machinery (the latter of which with Gentilozzi’s TransAm team), Tommi Drissi is a familiar face within US sportscar racing circles. Experience in ALMS, TransAm, GrandAm, and World Challenge series make Drissi a prime candidate for driving duties in JaguarRSR’s expanding programme.

The services of team regulars Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel will continue to be utilised within the #75 entry.

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

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

Post Sebring race wrap.

In the weeks approaching the 2010 Sebring 12H, the average Sportscar enthusiast was more or likely involved in an argument over Audis presence at the legendary race. While Audi weren’t present (in a professional/race-prepared capacity), that didn’t stop record numbers of fans from flocking to the Southern Florida located circuit, with the expectation of seeing a race.

With the race now run and won, we take a look at the highlights of what turned out to be a fairly decent (and quite eventful) Sebring 12 hour.

The opening ten minutes saw the lead Peugeot take to an early lead (no surprises here), while the second did battle with the Lola-AMR, and Drayson racing entries. Running at what seemed to be slightly off the pace of the other P1 cars, the AMR-Lola (then driven by Fernandez) surrendered third position to well paced Emmanuele Pirro in the Drayson Lola-Judd. Shortly after, Pirro managed to take second place from an unsuspecting Sebastian Bourdais, in what turned out to be one of the highlights of the race. Anybody listening to Radio Le Mans’ audio stream at the time would have heard the trademark Hindhaugh scream of excitement.

Peugeot AMR battle.

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

LMP2 started off as predicted. With reigning series champions Patron Highcroft surging out to an early lead. Followed by the Cytosport Spyder, and Dyson Lola-Mazda. Dysons’ car suffered engine related issues in the opening hours of the race, effectively ruining any chance of a win. The big surprise came after the 9 hour mark, after consistent running at close to P1 speeds, Highcroft suffered mechanical difficulties. Brabham hastily retreated to the pits, allowing the #6 Cytosport entry (which would later go on to win the race)  to recover the 5 lap margin drawn out by Highcroft driver trio.

BMW Corvette Risi chicanes

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

The GT2 battle was heated from the moment the green flag was waved, with Henzler taking first place off Bergmeister within the opening moments of the race. Bergmeister later reclaimed the class lead, followed by the #62 Risi car,  and the #3/4 Corvettes after the lesser developed Falkens on Henzler’s car began to to wear. Something that may have come as a surprise to some (an expectation by many) was the early departure of the #75 JaguarRSR entry. After the much touted return of Jaguar to competitive sportscar racing, this was a huge disappointment.

As the race progressed, the drama began to unfold. The #3/4 Corvettes collided on pit road (in a very Peugeot-esque moment), effectively ending Corvettes hope of GT2 victory. Doug Fehan (Manager of Corvette Racing) later cited a radio miscommunication as the cause of the collision.  Meanwhile, not pushing for outright pace, the Peugeots continued to lap flawlessly, leading 1-2 overall. The Lola-AMR continued in third place, in much the same manner, opting to preserve fuel and tyres.

P1, P2, LMPC run to turn six.

Image courtesy of Speedtv.com/Marshall Pruett.

Later in the race, the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche suffered another cruel blow (in a history of injustices) when a tyre broke free from the #17 car, damaging the rear-left of the #45. Bergmeister was required to drive a complete lap with a deflated tyre and enter a closed pit area under the yellow flag. Series rules stipulate that no repair work can be completed on a car while the track is under a caution period. The damage was surprisingly minimal and repaired quickly. Unfortunately the #45 car exited pit lane several laps down on the class leaders, and out of the running for victory. The car finished two laps behind the class-winning Risi car, after some spirited driving by Bergmeister, Long, and Lieb.

Setting the pace earlier during test sessions, and in qualifying, BMW ran a relatively clean race (barring some minor incidents involving the #90 car). Mueller managed to spin the #90 car on the last lap, gifting teammate Werner second place in the dying moments of the race. Mueller brought the car home in third place, citing tyre/steering problems as a result of the crash. The #45/44 Flying Lizard cars finished a modest fourth and fifth. A decent effort considering the challenges faced by both cars through the event.

Risi Competizione took their third Sebring GT2 victory, in what is becoming an enduro tradition (on both sides of the Atlantic). Further cementing their status as the team to beat in any event over 10 hours. Drivers Melo, Bruni, and Kaffer managed to maintain a solid pace throughout the 12 hours, making few mistakes and avoiding the mishaps that plagued their competitors.

The LMPC class was, for the most part, a disappointment. With half the GT2 field finishing in front of the class winning car, it’s difficult to take the class seriously. It was expected the car would face technical problems after the 6 hour mark. Having only competed in short sprint races in a cooler European climate. The combination of harsh Sebring heat and bumpy terrain saw most of the cars pitting early with similar failures. The #55 Level5 entry led for what seemed like the entirety of the race, taking the checkered flag with Bouchut at the wheel.

To the surprise of many, GTC ended up providing some great viewing. With the recent addition of some seasoned-pros (Leitzinger, Diaz, Keen etc) to the category, the 997 Cup based-class gave the crowd something to cheer about (in between acting as mobile chicanes for the other classes). The #81 entry of Leitzinger, Gonzalez and Keen took class honours.

By the later stages of the race, Peugeot was only required to keep the car off the walls to take a maiden 12H victory, and did so in 1-2 fashion. The Lola-AMR placed third after a moderately paced, trouble free race. Finishing a modest three laps behind the diesel powerhouse. The #6 MuscleMilk Cytosport team of Graf, Picket, and Maassen finished fourth overall and first in class, completing an incident free race. A solid effort for any privateer.

That was Sebring 2010, and it only gets better from here on in.