ILMC, ALMS: Petit Le Mans entry list, event information.

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LMP1

  • 1 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDi – Bernhard/Fässler/Dumas – Michelin.
  • 2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDi – McNish/Kristensen/Capello – Michelin.
  • 6 MuscleMilk AMR –  AMR/Lola Coupe B08 62 – Luhr/Graf/Pickett – Michelin.
  • 7 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Davidson/Bourdais/Pagenaud – Michelin.
  • 8 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Montagny/Sarrazin/Wurz – Michelin.
  • 10 Oreca Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDI-FAP – Lapierre/Minassian/Gené – Michelin.
  • 12 Rebellion Racing –  Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Prost/Jani/Belicchi – Michelin.
  • 15 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues – Dunlop.
  • 16 Dyson Racing –  Lola B09/86-Mazda – Dyson/Smith/Cochran – Dunlop.
  • 20 Oryx Dyson Racing –  Lola B09/86-Mazda – Al Masaood/Kane/Leitzinger – Dunlop.
  • 24 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Yvon/Pla/Premat – Dunlop.
  • 007 Aston Martin Racing –  AMR/Lola Coupe B09 60 – Fernandez/Mücke/Primat – Michelin.
  • 012 AutoCon Racing –  Lola B06/10-AER – Burgess/McMurry/Willman – Dunlop.

LMP2

  • 22 United AutoSports – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Brown/Johansson/Patterson – Dunlop.
  • 26 SignaTech Nissan – Oreca03-Nissan – Mailleux/Ordoňez/Vernay – Michelin.
  • 33 Level5 Motorsports – HPD ARX-01G – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa – Michelin.
  • 35 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Da Rocha/Lafargue/Nicolet – Dunlop.
  • 35 Level5 Motorsports – HPD ARX-01G – Tucker/Diaz/Franchitti – Michelin.

GT

  • 3 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – Beretta/Milner/Garcia – Michelin.
  • 4 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook – Michelin.
  • 17 Falken Tire – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Henzler/Sellers/Ragginger – Falken.
  • 40 Robertson Racing – Doran Ford GT – Robertson/Snow/Murry – Michelin.
  • 48 Paul Miller Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Miller/Maassen/Collard – Yokohama.
  • 51 AF Corse – Ferrari F58 Italia – Fisichella/Bruni/Kaffer – Michelin.
  • 55 BMW Motorsport – BMW E92 M3 – Auberlen/Werner/Farfus – Dunlop.
  • 56 BMW Motorsport – BMW E92 M3 – Müller/Hand/Priaulx – Dunlop.
  • 58 Luxury Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia – Firman/Jakubowski/Halliday – Michelin.
  • 59  Luxury Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia – Ortelli/Makowiecki/Beltoise – Michelin.
  • 64 JetAlliance Lotus – Lotus Evora – Slingerland/Rich/Kasper – Michelin.
  • 65 JetAlliance Lotus – Lotus Evora – Rossiter/Mowlem/Heinemier.
  • 98 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKR – Jones/Moran/Lewis – Dunlop.
  • 99 JaguarRSR – Jaguar XKR – Junqueira/Wilden/James – Dunlop.
  • 01 Extreme Speed Motorsports – Ferrari 458 Italia – Sharp/van Overbeek/Farnbacher – Michelin.
  • 02 Extreme Speed Motorsports – Ferrari 458 Italia – Brown/Cosmo/Bell – Michelin.
  • 044 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Law/Neiman/Holzer – Michelin.
  • 045 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Bergmeister/Long/Lieb – Michelin.
  • 062 Risi Competizione – Ferrari 458 Italia – Melo/Vilander/Matos – Michelin.

GTE-AM

  • 50 Larbre Corvette – Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel – Michelin.
  • 57 Krohn Racing – Ferrar F430 – Krohn/Jönsson/Rugolo – Michelin.
  • 60 Gulf AMR Middle East – Aston Martin Vantage – Giroix/Goethe/Wainwright – Dunlop.
  • 61 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 – Kauffman/Aguas/Bell – Michelin.
  • 62 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 Ehret/Mullen/Wills – Michelin.
  • 63 Proton Competition – Porsche 911 GT3 RSR – Lietz/Ried/Bullitt – Michelin.

LMPC

  • 18 PerformanceTech Motorsports – Oreca FLM-09 – Nicolosi/Boon/Lueders.
  • 36 Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Grogor/Mitchell/Kronfli.
  • 37 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Field/Field.
  • 52 Mathiasen Motorsports – Oreca FLM-09 – Dobson/Richard/Lewis.
  • 89 Intersport Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Marcelli/Drissi/Ducote/Ducote.
  • 05 Core AutoSport – Oreca FLM-09 – Bennett/Montecalvo/Dalziel.
  • 06 Core AutoSport – Oreca FLM-09 – Jeanette/Gonzalez/Junco.
  • 063 Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Lux/Julian/Zugel.

GTC

  • 11 JDX Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Ham/Thompson/Blackett
  • 23 Alex Job Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Rast/Keen/Wong.
  • 34 Green Hornet Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – LeSaffre/TBA/TBA
  • 54 Black Swan Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Pappas/Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen.
  • 66 TRG – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Ende/Ludwig/Pumpelly.
  • 68 TRG – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Keating/Norman/von Moltke.
  • 77 Magnus Racing – Porsche 911 GT3 Cup – Potter/Craig Stanton.

LMP1: 13   LMP2: 5   GT: 19   GTE-AM: 6   LMPC: 8   GTC: 7   Total: 58

Coverage information:

– Video

– Live audio (RadioLemans – commentary also available via official live stream).

– Live timing.

– Spotter’s guide (Andyblackmoredesign).

– Event schedule.

ALMS: Lotus announces factory GTE, LMP2 programmes.

The Lotus JetAlliance-entered Evora GTE at the 2011 Le Mans 24 hour. - Image courtesy Michael Schaefer / Race-Press.com

The Lotus JetAlliance-entered Evora GTE at the 2011 Le Mans 24 hour. - Image courtesy Michael Schaefer / Race-Press.com

Group Lotus Motorsport today announced intentions to further extend its motorsport activities, with the formation of a new motorsport venture, Lotus Sport USA, and the addition of two new programmes to the manufacturer’s competitive portfolio.

The marque’s new US-based venture will be led by team principals, Ian Dawson (of former ECO/Taurus Racing fame), and John Pritzlaff.

Having returned to ACO-regs GT competition this year with Austrian squad, JetAlliance, Lotus Group has announced further plans to enter the American Le Mans Series with the Lotus GTE chassis via the newly formed US operation, as of 2012.

The marque also outlined plans to enter, and develop its already announced LMP2 chassis (covered here) in the North American series. A specific date/timeline for the chassis’ debut has not yet been revealed; further technical details regarding the package have not yet been provided.

Participation in the recently announced FIA World Endurance Series is reportedly being considered.

The team will commence testing in late 2011.

ILMC, LMS: Imola 6H entry list, event details.

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ILMC - Imola six hours poster.

LMP1

  • 1 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDi – Bernhard/Fässler
  • 2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDi – McNish/Kristensen.
  • 7 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Bourdais/Davidson.
  • 8 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Montagny/Sarrazin.
  • 12 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Prost/Jani.
  • 13 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Belicchi/Boullion
  • 15 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Moreau/Ragues.
  • 16 Pescarolo Team – Pescarolo-Judd – Collard/Tinseau.
  • 18 Guess Racing Europe – Lola B09/80 Coupé-Judd – Ebbesvik/Ducote/Marcelli.
  • 23 MIK Corse – Zytek 09 – Cortes/Geri/Piccini.

LMP2

  • 26 SignaTech Nissan – Oreca03-Nissan – Mailleux/Ordoñez/Ayari.
  • 33 Level 5 Motorsports – Lola-HPD – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa.
  • 35 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Barlesi/Da Rocha/Lafargue.
  • 36 RML – HPD ARX-01d – Newton/Erdos/Collins.
  • 39 PeCom – Lola B11/40 – Judd – Companc/Russo/Kaffer.
  • 40 Race Performance – Oreca 03-Judd – Frey/Meichtry/TBA.
  • 41 Greaves Motorsport – Zytek Z11SN-Nissan – Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard.
  • 42 Strakka Racing – HPD ARX-01d – Leventis/Watts/Kane.
  • 43 RLR MSport – MG Lola EX265-Judd – Gates/Garofall/Philipps.
  • 44 Extreme Limit AM Paris – Norma M200P-Judd – Rosier/Basso.
  • 45 Boutsen Energy Racing – Oreca 03-Nissan – Kraihamer/De Crem.
  • 46 TDS Racing – Oreca 03 – Nissan – Beche/Thiriet/Firth.
  • 49 OAK Racing –  OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Nicolet/Hein.

GTE-PRO

  • 51 AF Corse – Ferrari F458 Italia – Fisichella/Bruni.
  • 55 BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 – Farfus/Müller.
  • 56 BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 – Werner/Lamy.
  • 58 Luxury Racing – Ferrari F458 Italia – Jakubowski/Beltoise.
  • 59 Luxury Racing – Ferrari F458 Italia – Ortelli/Makowiecki.
  • 64 Lotus JetAlliance – Lotus Evora – Slingerland/Rich/Lichtner-Hoyer.
  • 65 Lotus JetAlliance – Lotus Evora – Rossiter/Mowlem/Hirschi.
  • 66 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari F458 Italia – Bell/Walker.
  • 71 AF Corse – Ferrari F458 Italia – Melo/Vilander.
  • 75 ProSpeed Competition – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Goossens/Holzer.
  • 76 IMSA Matmut – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Pilet/Henzler.
  • 77 Felbermayr-Proton – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Lieb/Lietz.
  • 79 JOTA – Aston Martin Vantage – Hancock/Dolan.
  • 89 Hankook Team Farnbacher – Ferrari F458 Italia – Farnbacher/Simonsen.

GTE-AM

  • 50 Larbre Competition – Corvette C6-ZR1 – Bornhauser/Gardel/Canal.
  • 57 Krohn Racing – Ferrari F430 – Krohn/Jönsson/Rugolo.
  • 61 AF-Corse – Ferrari F430 – Perazzini/Cioci/Lémeret.
  • 62 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 – Ehret/Lynn/Wills.
  • 63 Proton Competition – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Long/Roda/Ried.
  • 67 IMSA Matmut – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Narac/Armindo.
  • 82 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 – Hummel/Christodoulou/Quaife.
  • 88 Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Felbermayr Snr (!)/Felbermayr Jnr/Miller.

FLM

  • 91 Hope Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Moro/Shanqi/Graves.
  • 92 Neil Garner Motorsport – Oreca FLM-09 – Hartshorne/Keating/Keen.
  • 93 Genoa Racing –  Oreca FLM-09 – Petersen/Julian/Zugel.
  • 95 Pegasus Racing –  Oreca FLM-09 – Schultis/Simon/Schell.
  • 99 JMB Racing –  Oreca FLM-09 – Rodriguez/Menahem/TBA.

LMP1: 9   LMP2: 13   GTE-PRO: 14   GTE-AM: 8   FLM: 5   Total: 49.

Coverage information:

 – Weekend schedule.

 – Live video.

 – Live audio (Radio Le Mans).

 Live timing.



LM24: Audi survives Peugeot onslaught.

A short-lived, full-strength Audi charge leads the field for the opening lap of the 2011 race. - Image courtesy John Dagys.

After the intensity of Friday’s final qualifying session, any prediction that 2011 would be the tightest in recent history would be validated soon after. Although fraught with attrition, drama, searing intensity and many hours of caution periods, the event failed to disappoint.

Delivering stunning battles on virtually all fronts, the 2011 rendition of the race will likely be remembered for years to come as one of the closest-fought ever.

Intensity in the battle for outright honours was felt early for many at the head of the field. Audi’s hopes for defending victory suffered a massive blow during the early stages of the race.

Departure of the team’s #3 machine of McNish, Kristensen and Capello within the first hour, following a violent incident involving Luxury Racing’s Anthony Beltoise, had left many stunned. To the relief of all onlookers, McNish would walk away from the incident with little more than minor bruising.

Audi's Alan McNish walks away from Saturday afternoon's horrific crash. - Image courtesy Audisport.

Audi's Alan McNish walks away from Saturday afternoon's horrific crash. - Image courtesy Audisport.

A second horrific incident involving the #1 entry of reigning champion, Mike Rockenfeller and the #71 AF-Corse machine of Rob Kauffmann would occur during the eighth hour. The incident occurring as Rockenfeller attempted to pass Kauffmann on the high-speed section of the circuit between Mulsanne and Indianapolis.

Kauffmann later claimed the brightness of the R18’s headlights lead to his being unable to prepare for Rockenfeller’s attempted passing, and consequently made contact with the Audi driver at considerable speed. Rockenfeller would also escape from the wreckage uninjured – both incidents a testament to the build quality of Audi’s R18 chassis.

Remaining remnants of Rockenfeller's high-speed collision; Audi's second of the day. - Image courtesy Jean-Francois Monier.

Remaining remnants of Rockenfeller's high-speed collision; Audi's second major incident of the day. - Image courtesy Jean-Francois Monier.

Later analysis of the incident led officials to believe the #71 was at fault. Although allowing the AF-Corse-run entry to continue, race officials would take action against Kauffmann, excluding the American driver from the remainder of the event. The #71 would later retire.

Following the subsequent retirement of reigning champions Rockenfeller, Dumas and Bernhard, Audi’s hopes for a tenth Le Mans victory lied solely on the shoulders of young driving trio Treluyer, Lotterer, and Fassler in the #2 machine.

Audi #2 cruises Mulsanne with an evident lack of support; A much repeated scene throughout the remainder of the event. - Image courtesy AudiSport.

Audi #2 cruises Mulsanne with an evident lack of support; A much repeated scene throughout the remainder of the event. - Image courtesy AudiSport.

Hassled by a full-strength Peugeot onslaught throughout the remainder of the race, Audi’s young trio seldom faltered. Electing to quadruple-stint its driving trio (3-4 hours) to minimise time spent in pitlane, the marque faced an epic battle against both the scale and fuel efficiency of Peugeot’s attack.

With the French manufacturer capable of 12 lap stints, and Audi often running 11 laps within the same period, differences in operating efficiency would often be justified through outright pace and daring tyre strategy.

AudiSport pit strategy once again played a vital role in the team's success. - Image courtesy AudiSport.

AudiSport pit strategy once again played a vital role in the team's success. - Image courtesy AudiSport.

Late race drives by Treluyer and Lotterer would particularly impress the scale of Audi’s undertaking. With both drivers navigating slower traffic in an almost-manic fashion, pushing the very limits of grip afforded by sections of the 13.6 km circuit.

Despite spirited efforts from the Peugeot onslaught the #2 would never stray far from the overall lead. For a short period onlookers remained silent as race officials summoned Audi #2 engineer, Leena Gade to the stewards office with a tone of urgency on Sunday morning. This would prove to be of little consequence.

Having been seemingly immune to periods of carnage affecting virtually all competitors, cracks began to appear in Peugeot’s then-unhampered showing.

Bourdais commandeers Peugeot #9; later revealed as the marque's last hope for victory. - Image courtesy FotoOlaf

Bourdais commandeers Peugeot #9; later revealed as the marque's last hope for victory. - Image courtesy FotoOlaf

As Peugeot’s efforts began to falter, the prospect of victory, regardless of how close, would begin to slip out of reach. Oreca’s privately-entered 908 HDi-FAP would prove first to stagger during the night. As rapid Frenchman, Loic Duval damaged the team’s chassis on Mulsanne. Only barely managing to limp the injured car back to pitlane for repairs.

This scenario was later repeated with little under three hours remaining, as Duval experienced a second spin at Indianapolis under dampening conditions, further damaging the rear of the chassis.

The manufacturer’s all French squad of Sarrazin, Montagny and Minassian in the #8 found themselves the recipients of a drive-through penalty for a lack of respect toward circuit limits during the early morning hours.

The #8 Peugeot crew's efforts would be hampered by a late-race penalty. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

The #8 Peugeot crew's efforts would be hampered by a late-race penalty. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Shortly after the #7 car of Davidson, Wurz and Gene would be damaged in a late race incident at Indianapolis, inflicting injury to the nose of the chassis. Enthusiastic repair efforts allowed the #7 to secure a face-saving fourth overall. Only out-placing the damage-plagued efforts of Oreca, who would manage fifth overall – marginally ahead of highest placing petrol contenders.

As the sole, remaining Peugeot on the lead lap, Pagenaud, Bourdais and Lamy – arguably the marque’s least favoured entry, found themselves in a position of opportunity. With the driver cycle broken, Pagenaud would be ceded to take the #9 to the checkered.

Lotterer brings the #2 Audi to pitlane for post-race celebrations. - Image courtesy AudiSport.

Lotterer brings the #2 Audi to pitlane for post-race celebrations. - Image courtesy AudiSport.

Despite the employment of questionable tactics from Pagenaud’s sister cars in the dying stages of the race, the #2 Audi proved an unstoppable force. With Lotterer at the helm, the German marque powered to one of the closest and, with little doubt, most emotional finishes in the event’s 79 year history.

Lotterer ultimately taking victory over Pagenaud by a margin of 13.854 seconds, covering a distance of 355 laps. The win marking a record tenth victory for Audi (from twelve starts). Allowing the Ingolstadt-based marque to oust Ferrari as the second-most successful marque ever, in terms of overall victories.

Neel Jani brings the remaining #12 Rebellion Lola-Toyota to the finish in sixth overall. - Image courtesy Lola Group.

Neel Jani brings the remaining #12 Rebellion Lola-Toyota to the finish in sixth overall. - Image courtesy Lola Group.

A fierce battle would also be contested within the LMP1 petrol contingent, involving Le Mans Series regulars, Pescarolo and Rebellion. Despite a clear focus on operational efficiency, both squads would face off against one another in an intense duel, exchanging the lead on many occasions throughout the race.

Pescarolo’s prospects suffered a cruel blow in the later stages of the race. With long-time Pescarolo stalwart, Collard falling victim to a race-ending shunt through the Porsche curves within two hours of the finish.

Rebellion Racing’s remaining #12 Lola-Toyota of Jani, Prost, and Bleekemolen would inherit the position vacated by Pescarolo’s retirement. The squad going on to secure sixth overall to place highest of the LMP1 petrol runners.

Kronos Racing’s seventh overall finish salvaged much-needed pride for an otherwise underhanded showing from British manufacturer, Aston Martin. With both factory AMR entries having bowed out of the race within hour one.

Oreca's factory LMP2 efforts would ultimately be undone as a result of late-race driver error. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Oreca's factory LMP2 efforts would ultimately be undone as a result of late-race driver error. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Predictions of an attrition-fraught race for LMP2 runners would turn out be unfounded, with P2 entries providing an intriguing display of mechanical reliability over the duration of the event.

Much of the first twelve hours saw the class lead exchange hands between Oreca-Nissan entries of SignaTech and the Oreca factory, along with reigning LMP2 champions, Strakka Racing’s HPD entry.

As the race developed, favoured HPD-powered entries of Strakka, Level5 and RML experienced minor hindrances. Strakka’s demise ultimately brought about due to damage sustained to the car’s undertray and engine, the result of overzealous kerb usage employed by the team’s drivers.

Both SignaTech and Oreca would also face issues throughout the event. The latter retiring due to an arguably over-ambitious drive by French Oreca driver, Hallyday in the final hours.

A quiet performer; the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan beat many higher-fancied entries to class victory. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

A quiet performer; the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan beat many higher-fancied entries to class victory. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Nissan’s P2 engine package turned to be an unpredicted star of the category. The Zytek-tuned engine package seeing British Team, Greaves Motorsport to its maiden class victory – affording both Nissan and Dunlop their first LMP2 triumphs at Le Mans.

Although likely costing the team a victory, SignaTech’s woes proved not to be terminal. Allowing the squad of Ayari, Mailleux, and Ordoñez to take the checkered second in LMP2. Rounding out a 1-2 finish for the Japanese auto-giant.

Level5 Motorsport trio of Tucker, Bouchut and Barbosa fought against several issues to secure third in class. Salvaging pride for HPD’s already challenging 2011 campaign.

BMW Motorsport #56 leads chasing entries of Felbermayr and Luxury Racing to the start/finish straight. - Image courtesy J. Frauca Photography.

BMW Motorsport #56 leads chasing entries of Felbermayr and Luxury Racing to the start/finish straight. - Image courtesy J. Frauca Photography.

Highlighted by heated exchanges between the Pratt & Miller Corvette outfit, AF-Corse and, of course BMW Motorsport – the now premier GT category of GTE received surprisingly little television coverage over the course of the event.

After blistering performances in the lead up to the race, and during qualifying, BMW Motorsport discovered that outright pace does not seal the deal.

Recurring difficulties and race incidents plagued the Schnitzer squad’s efforts. With both the #55/56 entries encountering issues on a number of occasions.

Having lead from pole in the early stages of the race, the team’s #56 entry of Priaulx, Hand, and (D) Müller would recover to secure a podium finish for the Bavarian marque, with third position in class. The team’s #55 sister car of Farfus, (J) Müller and Werner failed to finish.

Flying Lizard's #80 approaches Tertre Rouge. - Image courtesy Olaf Foto

Flying Lizard's #80 approaches Tertre Rouge. - Image courtesy Olaf Foto

Albeit lacking in single-lap pace, Porsche’s hopes for class victory suffered similar blows. Despite the presence of several all-professional runners within the field, the highest-placed Porsche entry of reigning GT(2) champions, Felbermayr-Proton #77 would finish fourth in class.

Fielding a two car Le Mans assault for the first time, North-American team Flying Lizards also encountered their fair share of difficulties, from tyre punctures to electrical wiring faults. The squad’s #80 GTE-PRO entry of Bergmeister, Long, and Luhr finished the event taking sixth in class. Despite technical hindrances.

Porsche’s luck (or lack of) would persist in the GTE-AM category. After having lead for much of the race, the class-leading #81 Flying Lizard entry of  Neimann, Law, and Pumpelly succumbed to mechanical difficulties in the dying hours of the event.

Late race heroics from P&M #73 narrowly saved Corvette's Le Mans victory. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Late race heroics from P&M #73 narrowly saved Corvette's Le Mans victory. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

For all the wrong, and right reasons the GT show was stolen by Corvette Racing’s Pratt & Miller-led operation. Having lead its class for most of the race, the US squad’s #74 entry of Magnussen, Gavin and Westbrook left the race in dramatic fashion during the final three hours.

Attempting to correct a corner exit leaving the Porsche curves, Magnussen collided with the #63 GTE-AM Felbermayr-Proton entry, with Felbermayr Snr then at the helm, making direct contact at a considerable speed with the drivers side door.

Magnussen would emerge unscathed. Much to the dismay of onlookers, Horst Felbermayr Snr – the oldest driver in the paddock – would slowly be removed from the battered Porsche chassis before exiting the circuit via ambulance.

Jack Leconte's privateer Larbre Competition squad secured a second victory for Corvette in the GTE-AM category. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Jack Leconte's privateer Larbre Competition squad secured a second victory for Corvette in the GTE-AM category. - Image courtesy J.Frauca Photography.

Then second in class, AF-Corse inherited the GTE-PRO lead. To the dismay of Ferrari fans, this was short lived. Determined not to succumb to a second consecutive dramatic loss, Corvette’s chances for victory improved ten-fold courtesy of a hard-charging Milner in the remaining #73  P&M Corvette.

Milner’s recovery of the class lead soon after would be maintained, securing the US manufacturer’s maiden victory under GTE regulations at Le Mans.

Although providing the new 458 a podium finish on its La Sarthe debut, the #51 crew of Ferrari factory drivers Alesi, Fisichella, and Bruni were left to settle for second-placed finish.

Success at the hands of the Jack Leconte-lead #50 Larbre Corvette squad saw the achievement of a double victory for the US manufacturer. The squad’s French lineup of Bornhauser, Gardel, and Canal triumphant in the GTE-AM category. Affording Corvette consolation for the loss of its second factory machine.

Larbre Competition’s #70 GTE-AM Porsche entry also finished second in class. Rounding out a 1-2 finish for the outfit.

US team Robertson Racing finished third to secure a podium on debut. Also providing the FordGT its first podium at Le Mans in over 40 years.

LM24: Final qualifying results; AudiSport secures Le Mans pole.

Audi drivers Lotterer, Treluyer, and Fassler celebrate AudiSport's first pole position since 2006. - Image courtesy Lemans.org

AudiSport Team Joest today rounded out the week’s third and final qualifying session to secure both the overall pole, and front row of the grid.

With just over 45 minutes remaining in today’s final session, the #2 Audi of Treluyer, Lotterer, and  Fassler rose to the top of the timesheets with a time of 3:25.728. The trio securing AudiSport’s first pole at Le Mans since 2006.

Audi’s reigning champions in Rockenfeller, Bernhard, and Dumas of the #1 sister car would secure a close second, managing a time of 3:25.799 to round out an all Audi front row.

Having moved to third during the later stages of the night session, the #9 entry of Pagenaud, Lamy, and Bourdais lead the Peugeot factory charge with a time of 3:26.010. Followed by the #8 sister car of Minassian, Sarrazin, and Montagny.

Despite a late charge for pole the #3 Audi of elder statesmen, Kristensen, McNish, and Capello would be left to settle for fifth position following a spin in the dying moments of the night time session.

Rebellion Racing’s Toyota-powered Lolas emerged as fastest runners within the LMP1 petrol contingent. Achieving a time of 3:32.883, the #12 car of Jani, Prost, and Bleekemolen would marginally oust nearest competitors, Pescarolo to manage eighth position overall.

SignaTech’s Oreca-Nissan package would prove quickest in LMP2, narrowly edging out class favourites (and reigning LMP2 champions) Strakka Racing for class pole.

After setting the benchmark for single-lap pace in earlier sessions, BMW Motorsport maintained its dominance to qualify first and third in the GTE-PRO category.

BMW Motorsport #55 of Farfus, Müller, and Werner would achieve the class pole with a time of  3:57.592. Closely followed by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 entry of Fisichella, Bruni, Vilander, who would  secure second with a time of 3:58.040.

An eventful start to the weekend saw a highly anticipated all-professional appearance for the Flying Lizard squad suffer several setbacks. The #80 crew of Bergmeister, Long, and Luhr qualifying twelfth in class following car difficulties.

Qualifying results can be seen in full below.

  1. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer – Audi R18 TDI – 3:25.738
  2. 1 Audi Sport Team Joest – Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller – Audi R18 TDI – 3:25.799
  3. 9 Team Peugeot Total Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud – Peugeot 908 – 3:26.010
  4. 8 Peugeot Sport Total Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian – Peugeot 908 – 3:26.156
  5. 3 Audi Sport North America – Capello/T. Kristensen/McNish – Audi R18 TDI – 3:26.165
  6. 7 Peugeot Sport Total – Gene/Wurz/Davidson – Peugeot 908 – 3:26.272
  7. 10 Team Oreca Matmut – Lapierre/Duval/Panis – Peugeot 908 HDI-FAP – 3:30.084
  8. 12 Rebellion Racing Jani/Prost/Bleekemolen – Lola B10/60 Coupe-Toyota – 3:32.883
  9. 16 Pescarolo Team – Collard/Tinseau/Jousse – Pescarolo Judd – 3:33.066
  10. 13 Rebellion Racing – Belicchi/Boullion/Smith – Lola B10/60 Coupe-Toyota – 3:34.573
  11. 15 Oak Racing – Monteiro/Moreau/Ragues – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – 3:34.933
  12. 22 Kronos Racing – Ickx/Martin/Leinders – Lola Aston Martin – 3:36.551
  13. 20 Quifel-Asm Team – Amaral/Pla/Hughes – Zytek 09 SC – 3:37.393
  14. 26 Signatech Nissan – Mailleux/Ordoñez/Ayari – Oreca 03-Nissan – 3:41.458
  15. 24 OAK Racing Nicolet/Hein/Yvon – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – 3:41.908
  16. 42 Strakka Racing – Leventis/Watts/Kane – HPD  ARX01d – 3:42.615
  17. 48 Team Oreca Matmut – Premat/Hallyday/Kraihamer – Oreca 03-Nissan – 3:43.098 38
  18. 39 Pecom Racing – Perez-Companc/Russo/Kaffer – Lola B11/40-Judd BMW – 3:43.223
  19. 49 OAK Racing – Nakano/De Crem/Charouz – OAK Pescarolo-BMW – 3:43.479
  20. 41 Greaves Motorsport – Ojjeh/Lombard/Kimber-Smith – Zytek Nissan – 3:43.802
  21. 40 Race Performance – Frey/Meichtry/Rostan – Oreca 03-Judd BMW – 3:44.294
  22. 007 Aston Martin Racing – Klien/Mucke/Turner – Aston Martin AMR-One – 3:45.918
  23. 36 RML – Erdos/Newton/Collins HPD ARX01d – 3:47.308
  24. 5 Hope Racing – Zacchia/Lammers/Elgaard – Oreca Swiss Hy Tech-Hybrid  – 3:47.691
  25. 009 Aston Martin Racing – Fernandez/Meyrick/Primat – Aston Martin AMR-One – 3:48.355
  26. 44 Extreme Limite AM Paris – Rosier/Haezebrouck/De Fournoux – Norma M200P-Judd-BMW – 3:48.420
  27. 35 OAK Racing –  Barlesi/Da Rocha/Lafargue – OAK Pescarolo-Judd BMW – 3:48.665
  28. 33 Level 5 Motorsports – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa  – Lola Coupe-HPD – 3:48.863
  29. 55 BMW Motorsport – Farfus/Muller/Werner – BMW M3 GT – 3:57.592
  30. 51 AF Corse SRL – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – Ferrari 458 Italia – 3:58.040
  31. 56 BMW Motorsport – Priaulx/Muller/Hand – BMW M3 GT – 3:58.426
  32. 74 Corvette Racing – Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook – Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 3:59.519
  33. 89 Hankook-Team Farnbacher – Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen – Ferrari 458 Italia – 3:59.519
  34. 73 Corvette Racing – Garcia/Milner/Beretta – Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 3:59.633
  35. 77 Team Felbermayr-Proton – Lieb/Lietz/Henzler – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 3:59.662
  36. 59 Luxury Racing – Ortelli/Makowiecki/Melo – Ferrari 458 Italia – 3:59.901
  37. 75 Prospeed Competition – Goossens/Holzer/Van Lagen – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 3:59.962
  38. 79 JOTA – Dolan/Hancock/Buncombe – Aston Martin Vantage – 4:00.747
  39. 66 JMW Motorsport – Bell/Sugden/Maassen – Ferrari 458 Italia – 4:00.890
  40. 80 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Bergmeister/Long/Luhr – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 4:01.024
  41. 58 Luxury Racing – Beltoise/Jakubowski/Thiriet – Ferrari 458 Italia – 4:01.176
  42. 61 AF Corse SRL – Perazzini/Cioci/Breslin – Ferrari F430 – 4:01.282
  43. 88 Team Felbermayr-Proton – Miller/Tandy/Al-Faisal – Porsche 911 RSR (997)- 4:01.752
  44. 71 AF Corse – Kauffman/Waltrip/Aguas – Ferrari 458 Italia – 4:02.216
  45. 76 IMSA Performance Matmut  – Pilet/Narac/Armindo – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 4:02.548
  46. 63 Proton Competition – Ried/Felbermayr Jr. /Felbermayr Snr. – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 4:03.532
  47. 81 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Neiman/Law/Pumpelly – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 4:03.648
  48. 70 Larbre Competition – Bourret/Gibon/Belloc – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – 4:03.918
  49. 83 JMB Racing – Rodrigues/Menahem/Marroc – Ferrari F430 – 4:04.640
  50. 60 Gulf AMR Middle East – Giroix/Goethe/Wainwright – Aston Martin Vantage – 4:04.825
  51. 57 Krohn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo – Ferrari F430 – 4:05.211
  52. 50 Larbre Competition – Bornhanuser/Canal/Gardel – Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1 – 4:05.955
  53. 62 CRS Racing – Ehret/Lynn/Wills – Ferrari F430 – 4:07.236
  54. 65 Lotus Jetalliance – Rossiter/Mowlem/Hirschi – Lotus Evora – 4:07.465
  55. 68 Robertson Racing – Robertson/Robertson/Murry – Ford GT-Doran – 4:08.208
  56. 64 Lotus Jetalliance – Slingerland/Rich/Hartshorne – Lotus Evora – 4:12.569

ALMS, LM24: Highcroft severs HPD ties, withdraws Le Mans entry.

Highcroft Racing's ARX-01e during the 2011 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Highcroft Racing.

Highcroft Racing's ARX-01e during the 2011 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Highcroft Racing.

After a rocky start to its 2011 campaign, US team Highcroft Racing today confirmed the news many sportscar racing fans had been fearing.

Following five, highly successful years at the forefront of the North American sportscar racing scene, the squad today concluded the final chapter in its HPD-backed history.

Earlier today the team’s PR officials confirmed details of the Danbury-Connecticut-based outfit’s severing of ties with long-time technical partner, HPD.

News of the team’s Le Mans 2011 entry withdrawal were also confirmed shortly after.

Despite a Goliath-beating, highlight performance at the Sebring 12 Hour event earlier this year, along with intentions for a return to Le Mans with the revised ARX-01e, many had anticipated the possibility of Highcroft returning to the ALMS would be, following the outfit’s well-known pre-season struggles, all but a distant possibility.

Highcroft campaigning Acura's radical ARX-02e design at the 2009 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Doug Werner/SpeedTV.com

Highcroft campaigning Wirth's radical ARX-02e design at the 2009 Sebring 12 Hour. - Image courtesy Doug Werner/SpeedTV.com

Selected as a satellite-team during the original Acura LMP program’s infancy, the Duncan Dayton-led outfit excelled. Often competing toe-to-toe with rival factory-backed teams of Penske, and Audi, in addition to its Acura-backed sister teams, during what many considered to be the glory years of modern prototype racing in North America.

As long-time HPD-stalwarts, Highcroft Racing remained the only US-based team campaigning an HPD chassis following the demise of De Ferran Motorsports at the close of the 2009 ALMS season.

During this period the team achieved a total of eleven race wins, nine pole positions, and 28 podium finishes, along with two consecutive championships (2009/2010). The squad’s HPD-backed efforts ultimately culminating through a highly-deserved second-placed finish at this year’s Sebring 12 Hour.

Although Highcroft’s future remains unclear, team members, and fans remain hopeful for a possible return.

The team is currently evaluating opportunities for potential future programs, and actively seeking new manufacturer partnerships.

Team owner, Duncan Dayton released the following statement:

“I am deeply disappointed for our team at Highcroft Racing who were really looking forward to the race and for David and Marino who are left without a ride at Le Mans at a very late stage. Our drivers have been truly incredible in recent years and I know they are as disappointed as we are that the ARX-01e will not be at Le Mans.”

“For our future, we need to take the next step in the development of our team. The team is now in a position to start with a clean slate and work towards our next championship assault with new partners.”

LMS, ILMC: Spa Provisional Entry List Released.

ILMC_tag_tab

LMS_Tag_Tab

2011 Spa ILMC poster

Entry listings for Spa, round two of the Le Mans series (also the second round of the ILMC) are now available. Bolstered by the inclusion of ILMC runners, the circuit will play host to an unprecedented (at least in recent history) field of sixty entries.

Notable mentions go to the highly anticipated (albeit delayed) appearance of two Lotus Evora entries in the GTE-PRO category, along with the now customary, pre-Le Mans additional entries for Audi, Peugeot, and AMR squads in LMP1.

Entry listings can be seen in full below.

LMP1

  • 007 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin AMR-One – Mücke/Turner/Klien
  • 009 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin AMR-One – Meyrick/Primat/Fernandez
  • 1 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDI – Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller
  • 2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDI – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
  • 3 Audi Sport North America – Audi R18 TDI – Capello/Kristensen/McNish
  • 5 Hope Racing – Oreca-SwissHyTech Hybrid – Zacchia/Marroc
  • 7 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Wurz/Gené/Davidson
  • 8 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian
  • 9 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Bourdais/Pagenaud/Lamy
  • 10 Team Oreca Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Lapierre/Duval
  • 12 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Prost/Jani
  • 13 Rebellion Racing Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Belicchi/Boullion
  • 15 Oak Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues
  • 16 Pescarolo Team – Pescarolo-Judd – Collard/Tinseau/Jousse
  • 18 Guess Racing – Lola B09/80 Coupé-Judd – Hazebrouck/Kaufmann
  • 20 Quifel-ASM Team – Zytek 09SC – Amaral/Pla
  • 23 MIK Corse – Zytec 09 Hybrid – Cortes/Geri/Piccini
  • 24 OAK Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Nicolet/Hein

LMP2

  • 26 Signatech Nissan – Oreca03-Nissan Mailleux/Ordoñez/Ayari
  • 33 Level 5 Motorsports – Lola Coupé-HPD – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa
  • 35 OAK Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Barlesi/Da Rocha/Lafargue
  • 36 RML – HPD ARX-01d – Newton/Erdos/Collins
  • 39 Pecom Racing – Lola B11/40-Judd – Companc/Russo/Kaffer
  • 40 Race Performance Oreca03-Judd – Frey/Meichtry/Ebbesvik
  • 41 Greaves Motorsport – Zytek Z11SN-Nissan – Ojjeh/Chalandon/Kimber-Smith
  • 42 Strakka Racing – HPD ARX-01 – Leventis/Watts/Kane
  • 43 RLR msport – MG Lola EX265-AER – Gates/Garofall/Phillips
  • 44 Extreme Limite AM – Norma M200P-Judd – Rosier/Luco/Basso
  • 45 Boutsen Energy Racing –  Oreca03-Nissan – Kraihamer/De Crem
  • 46 TDS Racing – Oreca03-Nissan – Beche/Thiriet/Firth

FLM

  • 91 — – FLM Oreca-09 – Moro/Shanqi
  • 92 Neil Garner Motorsport – FLM Oreca-09 – Hartshorne/Keating/Keen
  • 93 Genoa Racing – FLM Oreca-09 – Petersen/Julian/Zugel
  • 95 Pegasus Racing – FLM Oreca-09 – Schultis/Simon
  • 99 JMB Racing – FLM Oreca-09 – Rodrigues/Menahem

GTE-PRO

  • 51 AF Corse – Ferrari F458 Italia – Fisichella /Bruni
  • 55 BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 – Farfus/Müller
  • 56 BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 – Priaulx/Alzen
  • 58 Luxury Racing – Ferrari F458 Italia – Jakubowski/Beltoise
  • 59 Luxury Racing – Ferrari F458 Italia – Ortelli/Makowiecki/Deletraz
  • 64 Lotus Jetalliance – Lotus Evora – Slingerland/Rich
  • 65 Lotus Jetalliance – Lotus Evora – Hirschi/Rositer/Mowlem
  • 66 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari F458 Italia – Bell/Walker
  • 71 AF Corse – Ferrari F458 Italia – Melo/Vilander
  • 75 Prospeed Competition – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Goossens/Holzer
  • 76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Pilet /Henzler
  • 77 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Lieb/Lietz
  • 79 JOTA – Aston Martin Vantage – Hancock/Dolan
  • 89 Hankook Team Farnbacher – Ferrari F430 GT – Farnbacher/Simonsen

GTE-AM

  • 50 Larbre Competition – Corvette C6-ZR1 – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel
  • 57 Krohn Racing – Ferrari F430 – Krohn/Jönsson/Rugolo
  • 60 Gulf AMR Middle East – Aston Martin Vantage – Giroix/Goethe/Wainwright
  • 61 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 – Perazzini/Cioci/Lemeret
  • 62 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 – Ehret/Lynn/Wills
  • 63 Proton competition – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Ried/TBA
  • 67 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Narac/Armindo
  • 70 Kessel Racing – Ferrari F430 – Broniszewski/Peter
  • 72 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 – Kauffman/Aguas
  • 82 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 – Hummel/Christidoulou/Quaife
  • 88 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 911 RSR (997)- Felbermayr Sr./Felbermayr Jr./Miller

LMP1: 18    LMP2: 12    FLM: 5     GTE-PRO: 14    GTE-AM: 11    Total: 60