Tag Archives: WEC

WEC: Mike Conway joins Toyota

30 year old Mike Conway will join Toyota Racing as a reserve and test driver for 2014.

Conway drove for G-Drive Racing in the WEC with a Oreca 03 Nissan shared with Roman Rusinov and John Martin.

From 2008 to 2010 he was competing in the GP2 Series and then from 2009 till 2013 in the IZOD Indycar Series where he scored two wins, including a surprise win at this years Detroit GP where he won Race 1 for Dayle Coyne Racing.

He also drove in the American Le Mans Series for Level 5 Motorsports at CTMP (better known as Mosport) as a replacement for the at that time injured Ryan Briscoe.

I hope that Toyota get’s it together with the resverve driver thing, not like Lotus in F1 (you know the story).

Conway was impressive in the WEC this year, but i also liked his race at Mosport.

Toyota made a good choice there. He may be not the fastest, but he is a very consistent driver who brings the car home safely.

F1: Ricciardo will replace Webber at Red Bull for 2014

On 21:19, evening time, Daniel Ricciardo was announced as 2nd driver for the Infiniti Red Bull F1 team for 2014 on the austrian TV channel Servus TV.

He will replace Mark Webber, who drove for Red Bull from 2007-2013.

Webber will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2014, including the 24h of Le Mans, in a Porsche LMP1 car.

Red Bull said that they’re aiming a at least three year partnership with Ricciardo.

Ricciardo is in the Red Bull Junior programme since 2010.

He was test and reserve driver and also drove in the WSBR, finishing 2nd in the standings.

Then he was replacing Narain Kartikehyan at the 2nd hafl of the F1 2011 season in a HRT F111.

He then joined Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2012.

His teammate Jean Eric Vergne was always more consistend on points, but Ricciardo was the faster driver, especially on one Qualifying lap.

The decison from Red Bull to take Ricciardo was quite obvious.

I never took the Raikkönnen/Alonso romours seriously.

It would be stupid if they won’t have taken Ricciardo, because then the philosophy of the Toro Rosso team would be in question.

WEC: Toyota with reduced programm for the rest of the season

Toyota announced today, that they will only run one TS030 Hybrid LMP1 (the #7 with Sarrazin, Davidson and Buemi) for the rest of the 2013 WEC season.

Expect of the 6h of Fuji were they, obviously, bring a two car entry there, because it’s their home race (and with Nakajima a local hero).

That means we’re only going to see four LMP1 cars, two Audi’s, one Toyota and one Rebellion-Lola (see last sports car racing post), what is quite poor for a World Endurance Championship.

To this time last year, we had 7 LMP1 cars, one of them included the JRM HPD entry who are now in the Blaincpain Endurance Series with the Nissan GT-R GT3 car and another HPD from Strakka who retired from this season, despite their LMP1 privatiers win at Le Mans.

And all these withdrawals happen because of the preperation for next year with the new cars.

But why didn’t ACO/FIA said that the teams could run this years cars also next year?

I mean it worked out in 2011, were some of the teams were racing the 2010 machines, back then we had nearly 13-15 LMP1 cars through the ILMC season.

So Wurz and Lapierre will do the simulator  and test work with the 2014 car and Nakajima will drive in Super GT and the Super Formula.

Porsche LMP1: No Penske programm (yet)

Porsche just started their LMP1 test programm for the WEC in 2014, were they’re making a two car entry for the whole WEC season, including the 24h of Le Mans.

But when it comes to private teams and Porsche LMP’s, than Penske Racing is coming to our mind.

Penske Racing was using the Porsche RS Spyder LMP2 car for the American Le Mans Series from 2005-2008, winning many races including the 12h of Sebring and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

However Penske chief Roger Penske said that they would like to comeback to endurance racing, but they just don’t have time to build up a LMP programm for next year, USCR or WEC. Penske could comeback with Porsche in 2015.

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But if the WEC is too expensive for them, than the USCR (United Sports Car Racing) is another option.

The problem is that LMP1 cars aren’t allowed in the USCR, the Prototype class there will be with Daytona Prototypes, LMP2’s and the Delta Wing. But Porsche has no interest in building a LMP2 or a DP.

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As Penske doesn’t want to do a GT programm, they will have to look for another manufactuer. Audi maybe? As Penske has 32 station were they’re selling Audi’s roadcars and Audi has an interes to build an engine for the DP’s or even a brand new DP.

But for now we’re only going to see Penske Racing in Indycar and NASCAR.

24h of Le Mans 2013 Review

The 90th anniversary of the 24h of Le Mans was overshadowed by the death of the danish sportscar driver Allan Simonsen.

It was raining and he led in the GTE Am class, going into the 2nd lap of the race. Then he turned into the Tetre Rouge corner.

He came out wide onto the run-off area and lost control of his Aston Martin Vantage V8.

He then made a big impact against the armcor barrier on the drivers side.

Allan was still responsive after the crash and then he was taken to the Medical Center, where he succumbed his injuries.

The death of Allan was officialy announced from the ACO on 18:00 o’clock/6 pm (GMT+1) during the race.

The family of Allan wanted Aston Martin Racing and Prodrive to continue the race.

It was the first death during the race of the 24h of Le Mans since 1986, were Jo Gartner died in a Porsche 962LM Group C and the first death in the 24h of Le Mans since 1997, were Sebastian Enjolras died in a Welter LMP in pre-Qualifying .

Allan Simonsen was one of the most experienced sports car drivers out there and he also drove in the Australian V8 Supercars Series for Kelly Racing.

It was he’s 7th 24h of Le Mans, he will be truly missed.  He was only 34 years old.

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R.I.P. Allan Simonsen.

Official Statement from the ACO:

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, released the following statement:

The driver was immediately attended on the scene by the doctors from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Medical Service.

In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries.

Allan Simonsen’s family has been informed immediately by David Richards, Principal of the Aston Martin Racing team.

Allan Simonsen, an experienced driver aged 34, had taken part in seven 24 Heures du Mans.

His team mates in the No.95 car were his fellow countrymen, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will make no further statement while the exact reasons for the accident are still being wholly determined.

LMP1: Audi vs Toyota and Rebellion with bad luck

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Audi were the favourites for the race and nobody expected Toyota to challenge them.

But we were surprised. Toyota already showed their pace at the first lap, were Lapierre went from 4th to 2nd and nearly overtaking the #1 Audi for the lead of the race, until the Safety Car came out.

After the SC, Lapierre couldn’t drive the pace of the #1 Audi with Andre Lotterer anymore and had to settle for 2nd.

Then Lapierre swapped positions with his teammate Davidson on the 3rd hour and then both stayed on 2nd and 3rd positon until the last hour of the race.

Meanwhile the No.1 Audi with Lotterer/Treyuler/Fässler had no problems and it looked like they would run away with the win, but in the evening time the No.1 Audi had to come into the garage for a alternator change.

It costed them over 40 minutes to change it and of course it costed them the race win.

The No.3 Audi R18 with Jarvis/Di Grassi/Gene had also problems at the same time.

The car had contact with a the Labre Competition Corvette from the GTE-Am class and had a right rear tire puncture. They lost nearly 10 minutes at the pitstop.

But after that the #3 car had a awesome battle with the #7 Toyota from Lapierre/Nakajima/Wurz for 3rd position.

But  the #7 eventually got 3rd position.

The No.2 Audi with McNish/Kristensen/Duval then grabbed the lead from the No.1 Audi and stayed there until the end.

They had a lead over 2 laps of the 2nd placed Toyota TS030 from Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi.

The #7 Toyota was 3rd but lost the position when Lapierre crashed his car at the Porsche corners in rainy conditions and it was only 1 hour to go.

Lapierre brought his damaged car back to the garage and after half an hour the car was repaired, what was a great effort by Toyota Racing.

The #7 Toyota finished 4th behind the #3 Audi.

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The #13 Rebellion Lotus Lola was on a incredible 5th position with Belicchi/Beche/Cheng. But Andrea Belicchi crahsed the car after the SC period hard into the barriers.

Belicchi was taken to the hospital were he broke two rips. Also the #12 Rebellion was in trouble with Jani/Prost/Heidfeld.

The car had mechanical misfortunes and finished 8th in class. Surprisingly then the Strakka HPD from Levenths/Kane/Watts won the LMP1 Privatiers battle, what wasn’t really a battle.

LMP2: OAK Racing dominance

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The Morgan Nissan from OAK Racing was the fastest car out on track.

The car is 8 kph faster on the straights than for example the Oreca 03 Nissan, because the car is/was actually a LMP1 car transformed into a P2 car.

So Baguette/Nicolet made a start/finish win nearly leading every single lap in this class.

Baguette spun under heavy rain in the 23rd hour but managed to bring the car back to the track safely to win the race.

3rd was the G-Drive Racing Oreca 03 Nissan from Conway/Martin/Rusinov ahead of the Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan from Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm.

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The two Lotus T128 Praga were 15 and 16th in class for a long time until they had both to retire because of mechanical issues in the morning of the race.

GTE-Pro and Am: Porsche vs Aston Martin, Corvette disappointment

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Porsche had a great lead battle with the race win favourites Aston Martin since lap 4 of the race.

After the #97 Aston Martin from Turner/Mücke/Dumbreck drove into the pits to switch from slick to rain tires, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR from Lieb/Lietz/Dumas drove away with the win in GTE-Pro.

They landed ahead of the #92 Porsche 911 RSR from Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister.

AF Corse couldn’t really catch up with the pace of the Aston’s and the Porsche’s and were the best of the rest with 4th and 5th.

Corvette was surprisingly slow, only 6th was the best postion. The SRT Viper GTS-R also disappointed with 8th and 9th in class.

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Porsche also won in GTE-Am with the  IMSA Matmut Perfomance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2012 spec from Narrac/Burnet/Vernay.

Dempsey DelPiero Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Foster/Long/Dempsey lost the good looking 3rd positon to a AF Corse Ferrari, so they finished 4th.

It was a great 24h of Le Mans 2013, despite the death of Allan Simonsen.

The next race of the WEC is on the 1st September 2013 at the 6h of Sau Paulo in Brazil.

WEC drivers Prototype Champioship standings:

1 MCNISH A. GBR 25 0 18 0 50 1 94
1 DUVAL L. FRA 25 0 18 0 50 1 94
1 KRISTENSEN T. DNK 25 0 18 0 50 1 94
2 LOTTERER A. DEU 18 0 25 1 20 0 64
2 TRÉLUYER B. FRA 18 0 25 1 20 0 64
2 FÄSSLER M. CHE 18 0 25 1 20 0 64
3 DAVIDSON A. GBR 15 0 12 0 36 0 63
3 BUEMI S. CHE 15 0 12 0 36 0 63
3 SARRAZIN S. FRA 15 0 12 0 36 0 63
4 DI GRASSI L. BRA / 0 15 0 30 0 45
4 GENÉ M. ESP / 0 15 0 30 0 45
4 JARVIS O. GBR / 0 15 0 30 0 45
5 WURZ A. AUT 12 1 * 0 24 0 37
5 LAPIERRE N. FRA 12 1 * 0 24 0 37
6 NAKAJIMA K. JPN / 0 * 0 24 0 24
7 WATTS D. GBR * 0 6 0 16 0 22
7 KANE J. GBR * 0 6 0 16 0 22
7 LEVENTIS N. GBR * 0 6 0 16 0 22
8 JANI N. CHE 10 0 10 0 1 0 21
8 HEIDFELD N. DEU 10 0 10 0 1 0 21
8 PROST N. FRA 10 0 10 0 1 0 21
9 BELICCHI A. ITA 8 0 8 0 1 0 17
9 CHENG C. CHN 8 0 8 0 1 0 17
9 BECHE M. CHE 8 0 8 0 1 0 17
10 BRUNDLE A. GBR 4 1 2 0 8 0 15
10 HEINEMEIER HANSSON D. DNK 4 1 2 0 8 0 15
10 PLA O. FRA 4 1 2 0 8 0 15
11 BAGUETTE B. BEL 1 0 1 0 12 0 14
11 PLOWMAN M. GBR 1 0 1 0 12 0 14
11 GONZALEZ R. MEX 1 0 1 0 12 0 14
12 PEREZ COMPANC L. ARG 2 0 4 1 1 0 8
12 MINASSIAN N. FRA 2 0 4 1 1 0 8
12 KAFFER P. DEU 2 0 4 1 1 0 8
13 PIZZONIA A. BRA 6 0 * 0 / 0 6
13 WALKER J. GBR 6 0 * 0 / 0 6
13 GRAVES T. GBR 6 0 * 0 * 0 6
14 MARTIN J. AUS 0,5 0 0,5 0 4 0 5
14 CONWAY M. GBR 0,5 0 0,5 0 4 0 5
14 RUSINOV R. RUS 0,5 0 0,5 0 4 0 5
15 MARDENBOROUGH J. GBR / 0 / 0 2 0 2
15 ORDOÑEZ L. ESP / 0 / 0 2 0 2
15 KRUMM M. DEU / 0 / 0 2 0 2
16 KIMBER-SMITH T. GBR 0,5 0 / 0 1 0 1,5
17 ROSSI A. USA / 0 / 0 1 0 1
17 LUX E. USA / 0 / 0 1 0 1
17 NICOLET J. FRA 0,5 0 0,5 0 * 0 1
17 MERLIN J. FRA 0,5 0 0,5 0 * 0 1
18 IMPERATORI A. CHE 0,5 0 / 0 * 0 0,5
18 DYSON C. USA 0,5 0 / 0 / 0 0,5
18 KRAIHAMER D. AUT * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 GIROIX F. FRA / 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 FATIEN F. CIV / 0 0,5 0 / 0 0,5
18 ROSSITER J. GBR / 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 CHAROUZ J. CZE * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 KA TO J. CHN 0,5 0 / 0 / 0 0,5
18 IHARA K. JPN / 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 WEEDA K. USA * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 HOWSON M. GBR 0,5 0 / 0 * 0 0,5
18 MARSAL M. USA 0,5 0 / 0 / 0 0,5
18 HOLZER T. DEU * 0 0,5 0 * 0 0,5
18 LIUZZI V. ITA * 0 0,5 0 / 0 0,5
19 HAMILTON A. GBR / 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 BOUCHUT C. FRA * 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 HAEZEBROUCK P. FRA / 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 MONDOLOT P. FRA / 0 / 0 * 0 0
19 NAKANO S. JPN / 0 / 0 * 0 0

WEC Teams GTE-Pro championship standings:

Porsche AG Team Manthey 74

Aston Martin Racing   71

AF Corse Ferrari        60

AF Corse Ferrari       56

Porsche AG Team Manthey 44

Aston Martin Racing  26

Full results (without retirements):

1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 348 laps (34 stops)

2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 347 laps (30 stops)

3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 347 laps (30 stops)

4. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 341 laps (29 stops)

5. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 338 laps (32 stops)

6. #21 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03c LMP1 * 332 laps (29 stops)

7. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 329 laps (30 stops)

8. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 328 laps (31 stops)

9. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 327 laps (32 stops)

10. #42 Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 327 laps (28 stops)

11. #49 Companc/Kaffer/Minassian Pecom Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 325 laps (29 stops)

12. #43 Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard Morand Racing Morgan-Judd LMP2 320 laps (28 stops)

13. #48 Hartley/Patterson/Chandhock Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 319 laps (29 stops)

14. #38 Dolan/Turvey/Luhr Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 319 laps (29 stops)

15. #36 Paniatici/Ragues/Gommendy Signatech Alpine Alpine-Nissan LMP2 317 laps (32 stops)

16. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro * 315 laps (22 stops)

17. #91 Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro * 315 laps (24 stops)

18. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Pro * 314 laps (24 stops)

19. #34 Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen Race Performance Oreca 03-Judd LMP2 314 laps (32 stops)

20. #73 Garcia/Taylor/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 312 laps (23 stops)

21. #71 Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro * 311 laps (23 stops)

22. #51 Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro * 311 laps (23 stops)

23. #74 Gavin/Milner/Westbrook Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 309 laps (25 stops)

24. #41 Kimber-Smith/Lux/Rossi Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan LMP2 * 307 laps (31 stops)

25. #53 Farnbacher/Dalziel/Goossens SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 306 laps (28 stops)

26. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 306 laps (23 stops)

27. #55 Perazzini/Case/O’Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 305 laps (24 stops)

28. #61 Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am * 305 laps (23 stops)

29. #77 Dempsey/Foster/Long Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 305 laps (24 stops)

30. #50 Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor Larbre Competition Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Am * 302 laps (25 stops)

31. #96 Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Am * 301 laps (26 stops)

32. #93 Bomarito/Kendall/Wittmer SRT Motorsport Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 301 laps (26 stops)

33. #40 Downs/Dagonneau/Younessi Boutsen Ginion Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 300 laps (29 stops)

34. #67 Gibon/Milesi/Henzler IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 300 laps (22 stops)

35. #66 Bertolini/Alfaisal/Qubaisi JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro 300 laps (26 stops)

36. #88 Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 300 laps (23 stops)

37. #75 Collard/Crubile/Perrodo Prospeed Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 298 laps (23 stops)

38. #81 Pottolicchio/Aguas/Bright 8 Star Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am * 294 laps (25 stops)

39. #39 Porta/Raffin/Brandela DKR Engineering Lola B11/40-Judd LMP2 280 laps (31 stops)

40. #12 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60-Toyota LMP1 * 275 laps (26 stops)

24h of Le Mans 2013 Preview

It’s the 9oth annerversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the biggest motor race in the world and the 3rd round of the FIA World Endurance Championship 2013.

I’m now going to talk about the 4 classes that are going to compete in the race: LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and Am.

Overall there are 56 cars in the field. There isn’t going to be a experimental car like last year with the Nissan Delta Wing, the GreenGT pulled out of the race after their first tests.

LMP1-Works:

Audi Joest Racing

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Audi goes as the favourites for the win.

They won the first two rounds of the WEC at Silverstone and Spa and managed to keep the Toyota’s way behind.

Audi is going with three R18 e-tron quattros to La Sarthe.

With the 24LM winners from 2011 and 2012 Fässler/Treyuler/Lotterer and also with McNish/Kristensen/Duval and Jarvis/Di Grassi/Gene.

So Audi has already a huge advantage over Toyota, who are only bringing two cars.

But Toyota becomes three litre more fuel, so they can drive longer, what means they can drive later into the pits and don’t have to save so much fuel as Audi.

Because, as you know, the Audi drivers are bit more aggressive than the the Toyota in traffic, what  could result into crashes/incidents. That nearly cost Audi the win in 2011.

But i really think Audi is going to dominate the race and win the 24LM for the 12th time, but which of the three Audis is another question…

Toyota Racing TMG

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Toyota’s last year’s perfomance at the 24LM was impressive but short.

Davidson had a huge crash and the 2nd car retired after a technical failure.

So now Toyota is coming with much more experience to their 2nd 24LM.

Toyota brings two brand new TS030 Hybirds to the race with Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima and Sarrazin/Davidson/Buemi, all drivers expect of Lapierre and Sarrazin are former F1 drivers if you didn’t know.

Toyota has a disadvantage over Audi, only having two cars isn’t the big problem, the actual problem is there race pace.

The car isn’t fast enough in the corners and has a lower topspeed, even in the Le Mans coniguration.

So i think one of the Toyota’s could come into the top three, but only with luck or a crash from a Audi.

And Rebellion is also fast so watchout for them.

LMP1-Privatiers

Rebellion-Lotus Racing

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You can say that they’ve already won it before the race has even began.

They’ve zero competition, only the Strakka HPD, which is two seconds of the Rebellion race pace. But why is the Rebellion so fast?

Well that’s easy, it’s because of the Toyota engine, which is similar to the one in the TS030.

The Lola B12/60 Coupe, isn’t really good (as shown by Dyson in the ALMS), that why it can’t go over 6th in LMP1.

The drivers are Heidfeld/Jani/Prost and Beche/Belicci/Cheng.

Strakka Racing

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The HPD ARX-03a is a good car. Muscle Milk Pikket Racing won the ALMS in 2012 with this car and they can compete with Rebellion for wins.

So the car isn’t the problem, they could be a real challenger for Rebellion, the probelm is the driver lineup.

Levenths/Kane/Watts, they aren’t really good, as shown at Silverstone for example.

They’re entering only one car, so they couldn’t challenge Rebellion anyway. That was the 8th and last car in the LMP1 class.

LMP2

Because there are 21 cars (!) entered in the LMP2 class, i will show the Top 3 favourites for the win there.

OAK Racing (Morgan-Nissan)

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ADR-Delta (Oreca 03-Nissan)

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Sigantech Alpine Renault (Oreca 03-Nissan)

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But of course Jota Sport,  Greaves Motorsport and TDS Racing have also chances to win in this class.

It will be intereting to see how Level 5 from the ALMS will perform, as they’re the only one to use the HPD ARX 03b.

GTE-Pro and Am

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We’re going to have a amazing battle in GTE-Pro.

AF Corse is entering two Ferrari F458 Italia, SRT and Corvette coming with their cars, Aston Martin even with three cars and Porsche with a works team and two brand new 911 RSR.

I see Corvette as a winner, because of their experience there, AF Corse won last year there and Aston Martin won in Silverstone and got the two Poles in the WEC. So really can’t wait to see this battle.

ProSpeed_LeMans24h_75Porsche911GT3RSR_LMGTEam_2

In GTE-Am meanwhile i think Aston will also do it there, but don’t count out the Ferraris from AF Corse and 8 Star Motorsports.

And of course everybody is excited how actor Patrick Dempsey will do in his debut at the 24h of Le Mans.

He will be driving a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR entered by his own team Dempsey Racing, who are also competing in the ALMS in the GTC class.

Circuit Preview: Circuit de la Sarthe

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Opened: 1923

Length: 13,629 km

Turns: 38

Lap record: 3.19,074   (Loic Duval, Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot 908 HDI FAP 2010)

Location: Le Mans, France

Race start: 15:00 p.m. (CEST) (GMT+1)

Race end: 15:00 p.m.

Facebook page: 24 Heures du Mans

Twitter: @24hoursoflemans

Live stream (also TV broadcasted by Eurosport in Europe and by SPEED in North America)

Radio stream: radiolemans.com

All winners (from 2000):

2000 – Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Audi)
2001 – Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Audi)
2002 – Biela/Kristensen/Pirro (Audi)
2003 – Kristensen/Capello/Smith (Bentley)
2004 – Ara/Capello/Kristensen (Audi)
2005 – Kristensen/Lehto/Werner (Audi)
2006 – Biela/Pirro/Werner (Audi)
2007 – Biela/Pirro/Werner (Audi)
2008 – Capello/Kristense/McNish (Audi)
2009 – Brabham/Gene/Wurz (Peugeot)
2010 – Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller (Audi)
2011 – Fässler/Lotterer/Treluyer (Audi)
2012 – Fässler/Lotterer/Treluyer (Audi)

Here the highlights of the 24H of Le Mans 2012 for a quick recap of what happend last year:

Full entry list:

                                                                                                 LMP1

1  DEU Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro M Germany André Lotterer France Benoît Tréluyer Switzerland Marcel Fässler
2  DEU Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro M Denmark Tom Kristensen United Kingdom Allan McNish France Loïc Duval
3  DEU Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro M Spain Marc Gené United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis Brazil Lucas di Grassi
7  JPN Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 Hybrid M Austria Alexander Wurz France Nicolas Lapierre Japan Kazuki Nakajima
8  JPN Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 Hybrid M United Kingdom Anthony Davidson France Stéphane Sarrazin Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
12  CHE Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60Toyota M France Nicolas Prost Switzerland Neel Jani Germany Nick Heidfeld
13  CHE Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60Toyota M Switzerland Mathias Beche Italy Andrea Belicchi China Congfu Cheng
21  GBR Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03cHonda M United Kingdom Nick Leventis United Kingdom Jonny Kane United Kingdom Danny Watts
LMP2
24  FRA OAK Racing Morgan LMP2Nissan D France Olivier Pla United Kingdom Alex Brundle Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
25  GBR DeltaADR Oreca 03Nissan D Thailand Tor Graves United Kingdom Archie Hamilton Japan Shinji Nakano
26  RUS G-Drive Racing Oreca 03Nissan D Russia Roman Rusinov Australia John Martin United Kingdom Mike Conway
28  ARE Gulf Racing Middle East Lola B12/80Nissan D France Fabien Giroix Ivory Coast Frédéric Fatien Japan Keiko Ihara
30  CAN HVM Status GP Lola B12/80Judd D United Kingdom Johnny Mowlem Canada Tony Burgess Switzerland Jonathan Hirschi
31  CZE Lotus Lotus T128Praga D United States Kevin Weeda United Kingdom James Rossiter France Christophe Bouchut
32  CZE Lotus Lotus T128Praga D Germany Thomas Holzer Austria Dominik Kraihamer Czech Republic Jan Charouz
33  USA Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03bHonda M United States Scott Tucker United Kingdom Marino Franchitti Australia Ryan Briscoe
34  CHE Race Performance Oreca 03Judd D Switzerland Michel Frey Switzerland Patric Niederhauser Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
35  FRA OAK Racing Morgan LMP2Nissan D Belgium Bertrand Baguette United Kingdom Martin Plowman Mexico Ricardo González
36  FRA Signatech Alpine Alpine A450Nissan M France Pierre Ragues France Nelson Panciatici France Tristan Gommendy
38  GBR Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan D United Kingdom Simon Dolan United Kingdom Oliver Turvey Germany Lucas Luhr
39  LUX DKR Engineering Lola B11/40Judd D France Olivier Porta France Romain Brandela Belgium Stéphane Lémeret
40  BEL Boutsen Ginion Racing Oreca 03Nissan D France Thomas Dagoneau United States Matt Downs United States Rodin Younessi
41  GBR Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan D United States Alexander Rossi United Kingdom Tom Kimber-Smith United States Eric Lux
42  GBR Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN-Nissan D Germany Michael Krumm United Kingdom Jann Mardenborough Spain Lucas Ordóñez
43  CHE Morand Racing Morgan LMP2Judd D Switzerland Natacha Gachnang France Franck Mailleux France Olivier Lombard
45  FRA OAK Racing Morgan LMP2Nissan D France Jacques Nicolet France Jean-Marc Merlin France Philippe Mondolot
46  FRA Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 03Nissan D France Pierre Thiriet France Ludovic Badey Belgium Maxime Martin
47  CHN KCMG Morgan LMP2Nissan M Switzerland Alexandre Imperatori United Kingdom Matt Howson China Ho-Pin Tung
48  IRL Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03Nissan D New Zealand Brendon Hartley India Karun Chandhok United States Mark Patterson
49  ARG Pecom Racing Oreca 03Nissan M Argentina Luís Pérez Companc Germany Pierre Kaffer France Nicolas Minassian
LMGTE Pro
51  ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M Italy Gianmaria Bruni Italy Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Matteo Malucelli
53  USA SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R M Germany Dominik Farnbacher Belgium Marc Goossens United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
66  GBR JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 D Italy Andrea Bertolini Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz al Faisal United Arab Emirates Khaled al Qubaisi
71  ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M Monaco Olivier Beretta Japan Kamui Kobayashi Finland Toni Vilander
73  USA Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M Spain Antonio García Denmark Jan Magnussen United States Jordan Taylor
74  USA Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M United Kingdom Oliver Gavin United States Tommy Milner United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
91  DEU Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR M Germany Jörg Bergmeister France Patrick Pilet Germany Timo Bernhard
92  DEU Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR M Germany Marc Lieb Austria Richard Lietz France Romain Dumas
93  USA SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R M Canada Kuno Wittmer United States Tommy Kendall United States Jonathan Bomarito
97  GBR Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE M Germany Stefan Mücke United Kingdom Darren Turner United Kingdom Peter Dumbreck
98  GBR Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE M Canada Paul Dalla Lana Portugal Pedro Lamy United States Bill Auberlen
99  GBR Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE M France Frederic Makowiecki Brazil Bruno Senna United Kingdom Rob Bell
LMGTE Am
50  FRA Larbre Compétition Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M France Patrick Bornhauser France Julien Canal United States Ricky Taylor
54  ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M France Yannick Mallégol France Jean-Marc Bachelier United States Howard Blank
55  ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M Italy Piergiuseppe Perazzini Hong Kong Darryl O’Young Italy Lorenzo Casè
57  USA Krohn Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M United States Tracy Krohn Sweden Niclas Jönsson Italy Maurizio Mediani
61  ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M South Africa Jack Gerber Republic of Ireland Matt Griffin Italy Marco Cioci
67  FRA IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M France Pascal Gibon France Patrice Milesi Germany Wolf Henzler
70  FRA Larbre Compétition Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M United States Cooper MacNeil France Manuel Rodrigues France Philippe Dumas
75  BEL Prospeed Competition Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M France Emmanuel Collard France François Perrodo France Sebastien Crubilé
76  FRA IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M France Raymond Narac France Jean-Karl Vernay France Christophe Bourret
77  USA Dempsey RacingProton Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M United States Patrick Dempsey United States Joe Foster United States Patrick Long
81  USA 8Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 M Venezuela Enzo Potolicchio Portugal Rui Águas Australia Jason Bright
88  DEU Proton Competition Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M Germany Christian Ried Italy Gianluca Roda Italy Paolo Ruberti
95  GBR Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE M Denmark Allan Simonsen Denmark Christoffer Nygaard Denmark Kristian Poulsen
96  GBR Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE M Germany Roald Goethe United Kingdom Jamie Campbell-Walter United Kingdom Stuart Hall

Nissan and Alpine-Renault to Le Mans+ news for Le Mans 2014/15

We have good days in Le Mans right now. A manufactur after the other is confirming a Le Mans entry for 2013/2014.

Nissan confirmed a return at the Sarthe last week.

They will begin their LMP1 programm in 2014 to start from the 56th box, before they make a full entry 2015 to the WEC and Le Mans.

Nissans last time at Le Mans was from 1997-2000 when they used the R390 GT1 car to compete against the Porsche 911 GT1 and the McLaren F1 GTR.

R390GT1_LM98_01

 

But we don’t know how the Nissan LMP1 will gonna look like. Hopefully like this, it looks similar to the Aston Lola though..

12888332321496034887

 

Now Porsche is also coming back in 2014 with a LMP1 car to compete against Audi and Toyota, but we know that already since last year. The first testing sessions could come in mid-summer. We don’t know how the Porsche LMP1 is gonna look like either.

Renault confirmed that they bring the name Alpine back to the Sarthe after 35 years. Alpine-Renault will already comeback this year with Signatech from the LMP2 class. Signatech will now switch from Nissan to the Renault engine. It’s just the beginning of a longtime project for Renault, so we can see them also in the LMP1 class in the near future.  Alpine-Renault won the 1978 24h Le Mans.

Signatech_Nissan_23_Jordan_Tresson-638x402

Lotus also planning a LMP1 car with the T128, this car will be first used as a LMP2 prototype this year in Le Mans and then for the rest of the WEC season.

the_new_car_will_accept_either_the_lotus_judd_v8_or_nissan_l_large_113990

But what is with the experimental looking Delta Wing? Well the Delta Wing is optimized for the LMP1 class and now has a different color. From “Batman” to the “Silver Arrow” (the name rings a bell)

31929_568921983131781_71686307_n

Which other Manufactures could also come to Le Mans?

Mazda:

cars-concept-mazda-furai-vehicles-HD-Wallpapers

Mazda has been always romourd to come to Le Mans one day.

They build the Mazda Furai Concept few years ago and are building engines for Dyson Racing in the ALMS.

Mazda planned to bring a LMP2 engine with a Lola car this year.

But no they were finding it more important to build the Mazda 6 GX car for the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series instead of

concetrating on the come back for the biggest endurance race in the world.

mazda6gxg-am

Of course they wanted to show the perfomance of the Mazda 6 on a racetrack, but who cares?

I mean there are only four cars in the GX class, two of them are Mazda 6s.

The action is in the DP and GT class, so i don’t see a future for this class, especially when Grand Am an ALMS are coming together in one series in 2014 and nobody knows if this class is going to survive.

The last time Mazda was at Le Mans was in 1991 when their won the 24h Le Mans with the legendary 787B.

787b-10

Aston Martin:

amr-one-a-ast

Aston Martin had their problems with their comeback to Le Mans back in 2009.

The Aston Lola was a quite good car, for 3 hour races, but not for 24h hour races.

This car nearly won the ALMS title in 2011.

Aston Martin then produced the all new AMR-One for Le Mans 2011 and guess what happend.

This car only lasted seven laps and it was so embarrissing that Aston Martin retired from their LMP programm.

I hope they comeback one day, but hopefully with more success.

Bentley:

2003BentleySpeed8

Who remembers the Bentley Speed 8 at Le Mans 2003?

Yes they won the race but after then Bentley retired due financial issues, because of the build of an new road car, named the Continental GT.

Bentley now coming back into motorsport with the Continental Supersports GT3 for the FIA GT Series and the Blaincpain Endurance Series.

Bentley said that they have interes to build an LMP, but ave to concetrate on their GT3 programm.

But Bentley could easily comeback, they just have to build the GTE version of the Continental and that’s it!!!

 

 

Of course they are also other Manufactures like Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes, MG, Cadillac (yes in 2002), and we don’t have to forget the privatiers like Rebillion, Strakka, OAK, Pikket, Dyson, Drayson and many more.

Of course looking forward to the comeback of Dome maybe next year with their own LMP1 car

Exciting times for the WEC and Le Mans ahead in the next 2-3 years and of course with awesome racing.

ELMS 2013 Startlist+ Delta Wing/Nissan seperation

29 cars will come into the ELMS for 2013.

The series was last year  cancelled after 2 races in Paul Ricard and Donigton Park. The ACO tries a restart with the ELMS, competing 5 races around europe including a “Super Endurance Weekend” with the WEC in Silverstone, three other races with the World Series by Renault and the final in Paul Ricard with the french FFSA GT-Tour .

Good to see that the ACO is behind the ELMS, i guessed a low starterfield for this year but it seems like many teams have interes in this series, especially french private teams.

There are no LMP1 Prototypes anymore, becuase of the lack of cars that were enterd. Only LMP2, LMPC, GTE-Am and the new GTC class are in the series .  I’m looking forward to it.

01-nissan-deltawing

Quick news: Nissan and the Delta Wing project from Don Panoz and Highcroft Racing are going different ways. Nissan wants to concetrate on their LMP2 programm, but are happy to have raced with the Delta Wing.

ELMS calender 2013:

Silverstone 12-13 April (WEC)

Imola 17-18 May            (WSBR)

Red Bull Ring 19-20 July (WSBR)

Hungaroring 13-14 September (WSBR)

Paul Ricard 27-28 September   (FFSA GT-Tour)

ELMS startlist 2013:

LMP2
TDS (Oreca-Nissan) – Pierre Thiriet
Greaves (Zytek-Nissan) – TBA
Boutsen (Oreca-Nissan) – TBA
Murphy (Oreca-Nissan) – Brendon Hartley
Sebastien Loeb (Oreca-Nissan) – Frank Montagny/Nicolas Marroc
Race Performance (Oreca-Judd) – Michel Frey/Patrick Niederhauser
Signatech (Oreca-Nissan) – Pierre Ragues
Jota (Zytek-Nissan) – Simon Dolan/Oliver Turvey
DKR (Lola-Judd) – Olivier Porta
Morand (Morgan-Judd) – Natacha Gachnang
Orex (HPD) – Dean Stirling

LMPC
Endurance Challenge (FLM09) – TBA
Endurance Challenge (FLM09) – TBA
Endurance Challenge (FLM09) – TBA

GTE
RAM (Ferrari F458 Italia) – Johnny Mowlem/Matt Griffin
RAM (Ferrari F458 Italia) – Gunnar Jeanette
AF Corse (Ferrari F458 Italia) – Yannick Mallegol/Jean-Marc Bachelier/Howard Blank
AF Corse (Ferrari F458 Italia) – TBA
JMW (Ferrari F458 Italia) – TBA
IMSA (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) – Patrice Milesi
Larbre (Corvette C6-ZR1) – TBA
Prospeed (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) – TBA
Autorlando (Porsche 911 GT3 RSR) – TBA
Kessel (Ferrari F458 Italia) – Michael Broniszewski/Philipp Peter

GTC
Kox (Lamborghini Gallardo LP600) – Peter Kox/Nico Pronk
AF Corse (Ferrari F458 Italia) – Mads Rasmussen/Cedric Sbirazzuoli
AF Corse (Ferrari F458 Italia) – TBA
Autorlando (Porsche 911 GT3 R) – TBA
Momo (Audi R8 LMS) – TBA

Bruno Senna leaves F1 for Aston Martin Le Mans and WEC drive

Former Williams, Renault and HRT Formula 1 driver Bruno Senna will race for Aston Martin in this year’s World Endurance Championship.

The 29-year-old Brazilian will race one of the British manufacturer’s pair of GTE Pro class Aston Martin Vantage GTEs in the full championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The deal rules Senna out of contention for the remaining seats on the F1 grid. He had recently been linked to a Force India drive.

“I want to move forward and get back to winning races,” Senna told AUTOSPORT. “The opportunities weren’t there to do that in Formula 1.”

Senna will share the Gulf-liveried car with fellow Aston Martin Racing newcomer Frederic Makowiecki in each of the eight races, while Rob Bell will join them as the third driver for Le Mans and the Spa 6 Hours.

Senna will race the Aston for the first time at next month’s Sebring 12 Hours alongside team regulars Darren Turner and Mucke. He previously contested Le Mans with ORECA in 2009.

AMR team principal John Gaw said: “Our aim is to win at Le Mans and in the WEC, and we are particularly pleased to welcome such a professional driver line-up to Aston Martin Racing in this centenary year.”

The second Pro car in AMR’s four-strong WEC entry will be shared by Turner and Mucke, who took class honours in last year’s series finale at Shanghai.

They will be joined by former JRM HPD and Nissan driver Peter Dumbreck at Spa and Le Mans.

AMR has also confirmed the line-ups in its two GTE Am class Vantages: Danes Allan Simonsen, Christoffer Nygard and Kristian Poulsen, who drove for AMR last year at Le Mans, will share one, while Jamie Campbell-Walter, Stuart Hall and Roald Goethe will drive the other.

AMR has a further two cars on the reserve list for the Le Mans 24 Hours , which could also run in selected WEC rounds.