Le Mans, France
The 85th installment of the third jewel of motorsports triple crown is well underway on the legendary eight and half mile, 38 turn circuit that combines both public roads and track tarmac known as the Circuit de la Sarthe. There are several interesting elements this year in the 55 car field. One of those of course has to be whether Toyota can close out the race that was theirs to win last year, and looks like the team to be beat this year in the class after setting the fastest qualifying lap ever (3:14.791). Can the former Audi-Porsche rival drivers (Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy) co-exist and thrive while piloting the # 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car. Weather may play a hand in this year’s race with the warmest weather predicted in some time will Toyota’s gambit to save weight by removing the air conditioning system for the closed cockpit come back to haunt them? Who will emerge victorious in LM GTE Pro, Aston Martin, Ferrari or Ford? And finally, will the Aston Martin’s #97 car (LM GTE Pro) complete an entire race?
Check out FS1 & FS2 and Fox for television coverage in the US, and Radio Le Mans online to hear the radio broadcast for the entire race. Additionally, check out Andy Blackmore’s excellent spotter guide for this year’s field.
I think it was Steve McQueen that said before or after a race is only waiting, life happens when you race.
ACO Live Timing HERE
Tour of the Circuit de la Sarthe by Allan McNish
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 Hybrid (LMP1)
#9 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 Hybrid (LMP1)
#25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson (LMP2)
#82 RISI Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE (LM GTE Pro)
#26 G-Drive Racing (TDS) Oreca 07 Gibson (LMP2)
#88 Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (LM GTE Am)
#4 Bykolles Racing Team ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO (LMP1)
#28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson (LMP2)
#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR (LM GTE Pro)
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 LMP1 piloted by Sebastien Buemi. Less than halfway through this race it seems like one of the plot lines from last year is returning for an unfortunate encore presentation; Toyota’s hybrid system woes. The #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 car Sebastien Buemi suffered this year’s Toyota glitch. Even though the engineers couldn’t readily identify any issues with the regenerative braking system remotely Sebastien was certain an issue existed. His diagnosis was confirmed shortly after he pitted when the brakes caught fire. At this time the car remains in the garage, and they are hopeful it will return to the track. 13:22, #8 returns to the course piloted by Anthony Davidson.
#64 Corvette Racing – Tommy Milner piloting Corvette C7 R
Impacted the wall just after Arnage or the Porsche Curves causing a puncture to the rear left tire, and collapsed the rear suspension. Adding insult to injury due to the suspension damage he spun out on pit road, prior to the pit lane, coming to rest perpendicular to the pit road with the drive wheels stuck in a gravel trap. Craned out, and returned to the garage.
#95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage LM GTE Pro car suffered damage and went into the garage.
Race control informed # 13 LMP2 Oreca-Gibson car of Vaillante Rebellion that they will need to repair their rear lights as only one side is working. If they are not repaired at the next pit stop RC will hold the car in the pit. Pitted and returned to the track at 15:05.
#83 Ferrari 488 GTE of DH Racing piloted by Tracy Went off into the gravel trap, and returned to the course. Le Mans is famous for the gravel used being like shards of glass for the tires. Wonder how many other punctures will result from his runoff, and return to the course.
#9 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 LMP1 car had an issue with its lighted number panel not functioning, and had to pit for repairs. Returned to the track after repair.
#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT piloted by Olivier Pla went off at Indianapolis. Limped back to the pit under power. Race Control radioed the Chip Ganassi team asking to let their driver know not to spread gravel all over the track.
#55 Duncan Cameron piloting the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE got it way wrong and went off at the Ford chicane. Returned to the course.
RC called for a Safety Car to clear gravel from the course related to the # 66 car’s runoff at Indianapolis. RC then radioed all teams to let them know they were calling the Safety Car to clear gravel on the course caused by 66. Ouch, nothing like getting called out. Good for some teams who were planning on a brake change in the next hour or so. Many teams pit taking advantage of the SC.
#1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, piloted by Neel Jani spun out after some sort of mechanical issue under the Safety Car, near the chicane closest to pit row and was forced to pit. Unforced error?
14:16 Racing resumes
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 LMP1 piloted by Kamui Kobayashi, suffered reduced power at the Dunlop Curves, and will try to limp around the long part of the track to the pit. With the #7 on life support, and the #8 already in the garage only one bullet for Toyota remains in the #9 car. Stopped and started several times.
14:05 Yellow Flag related to #7 limping along the track. Yellow flag had been issued twice during the #7’s attempted return to the pit.
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 LMP1 piloted by Kamui Kobayashi finally succumbs to mechanical failure ending its bid to finish the race. Only one Toyota remains now, #9. Yellow Flag results from the #7 car being stopped on the course.
#9 Toyota Gazoo Racing TSO50 LMP1 piloted by Nicolas Lapierre lost hydraulics near the Dunlop Curves, and the resulting fluid loss caused a small fire that was extinguished. Contact possibly occurred with an LMP2 car, #25? Did #9 move into the #25 or vice versa to initiate contact? Additionally, left rear tire completely shredded. The question now becomes with the other 2 Toyotas already our of the race can he make it back to the pits? Sadly the answer is no, at 13:31 Nicolas officially ended the #9’s race by exiting the car. It’s now down to one car for Toyota (#8), two for Porsche in LMP1 class.
13:42 Safety Car
13:13 Racing Resumes
#50 Labre Competition Chevrolet C7 R LM GTE Am in 51st place went off course near the Dunlop Curves, and returned to the course. Possibly suffered a puncture as a result of going into the gravel.
#62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE LM GTE Am piloted by Townsend Bell spun around at Arnage. Returned to racing. Possibly caught up with a little brush up with another LM GTE Am car possibly #55.
#49 ARC Bratislava Ligier JSP 217 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Konstantins Calko ran into a gravel trap and initiated a Yellow flag as a result.
12:27 Yellow Flag
12:25 Slow Zone initiated
12:15 Racing resumes
#31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Nicolas Prost, leading the LMP2 class, pits, and the car is taken into the garage to diagnose some mechanical issue related to the clutch. Short time later returns to course in 4th place.
#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR LM GTE Pro piloted by Michael Christensen goes off course at the Ford Chicane. Returns to course.
10:57 Yellow Flag
10:56 Slow Zone
#50 Labre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7 R LM GTE Am piloted by Fernando Rees goes off course into a gravel trap, and returns.
10:42 Racing resumes
#21 Dragonspeed 10 Star Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Ben Hanley experiences a tire puncture on Mulsanne straight.
#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage LM GTE Am pit stop under investigation by RC
#31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Julien Canal stops just past Dunlop bridge, and rejoins course.
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP217 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Karun Chandhok off at Porsche curves
#90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage LM GTE Am piloted by Salih Yoluc off course in gravel trap at Porsche curves
#28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Emmanuel Collard goes off course at Porsche curves, Safety Car period.
#40 Graff Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 into the barrier at Arnage, and returns to course.
#28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson officially retired
#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR officially retired
#34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP217 Gibson LMP2 changing wheel sensor during a lengthy pit stop
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE LM GTE Pro & TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage LM GTE Am #90 have contact, RC investigating.
#95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage LM GTE Pro piloted by Richie Stanaway leading the class at the time suffers front right suspension damage after impact with barrier on Mulssane corner, and pits.
#24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 issued a 5 second penalty for accelerating before end of Slow Zone
#29 Racing Team Nederlands Dellara P217 Gibson LMP2 penalized 10 seconds for fueling violation
#45 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP217 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Mark Patterson spins at Ford chicane.
#32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson in LMP2 piloted by William Owen goes off course at Porsche curves
#27 SMP Racing Dallara P217 Gibson in LMP2 piloted by Sergey Sirotkin goes off course at Dunlop curves, and returns.
#13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 while pitting team removed rear wing and hood to change hose for brake ducting. Lost 4 minutes.
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 piloted by Andre Lotterer at Tertre Rogue suffers loss of oil pressure, and is running on electric power only.
#23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier JSP217 Gibson LMP2 loses power and comes to a stop on course
#13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 issued a stop and go penalty from RC for pit stop infringement. Served at 3:04. Could not take service during penalty.
#13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Nelson Piquet Jr clips the #49 ARC Bratislava Ligier JSP217 Gibson LMP2 just past the Dunlop bridge near the Esses spinning the #49 car on the course. Both cars continued. RC announced the incident is under investigation
#45 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP217 Gibson LMP2 piloted by Matt McMurry spins out at Mulsaane corner