The 71st Le Mans
Race Morning Warmup
and overcast this morning with a 30% (maybe 50%) chance of rain
during the day - and Sunday likely to be hotter but more settled.
The 45 minute
warm up saw all 49 surviving entries completing at least one lap,
although in some cases it was only one lap...
first and second fastest, 3:35 and 3:37, then two of the three Audis,
the #16 Gommendy Dome and the third Audi. If the warm up is a true
guide to race pace, we'd take a stab at 3:37 for the Bentleys (on
clear laps) and 3:39s for the Audis. That might be pessimistic for
the Bentleys, as the Johnny Herbert 3:35 this morning was definitely
with a reasonable fuel load. "We intend to push from start
to finish," said Team Manager John Wickham.
In GTS, #80 Veloqx-Prodrive
Ferrari and #53 Corvette both set 3:58s....interesting.
Racers Group was fastest
in GT, with a 4:12. The Pagani set a 4:13 (see below).
"We put in an engine with 25 bhp more and tried it on the airfield
last night and it broke immediately. We put the old engine back
in, and this one is still stronger than the one at Sebring."
"If it was a full wet race, changeable is bad for everybody.
If you're caught out on the circuit on slicks when the rain comes
it's very bad news, as we saw a couple of years ago."
"The new engine has got lots of power but we've not had nearly
enough time for testing and the team will be taking a very steady
approach to the race."
"We'll set our own race pace and do what we need to do (to
finish and win 675). We have enough in hand to increase that pace
if we need to. There's no need to go chasing the 900s."
Team NASAMAX got off to the worst possible start when they suffered
an engine failure shortly after the start of the session. Romain
Dumas managed to get the car around the full lap, but the engine
was 'ready for changing' by the time he'd limped back to the pits.
A four to five
hour job may take longer because of heat damage to the wiring loom.
Less than seven hours before the start of the race. At least it
happened at the the start of the warm-up...