Le Mans Test Day – Sunday Report 3
Becoming Clearer

Clearer, perhaps, that our guesstimate of under 3:30 for best time of the day was wide of the mark. Clearer that with the word “kerb” used on the timing screen when a driver receives a black flag that we are talking bits of painted stone, not white line.

Lucas Luhr isn’t here this weekend, and Mike Petersen is the third driver in the Petersen / Job Porsche. That one is fastest at lunchtime in GT, but it’s currently in its garage: Petersen went off at the Porsche Curves, and although the damage seemed substantial, the team are looking to get it out again this afternoon. After four hours, the top ten in GT read:
#93 Job / Petersen 4:11.328
#81 Racers Group 4:12.638
#87 Orbit 4:14.424
#78 PK Sport 4:16.545
#94 Risi 4:16.870
#85 Spyker 4:18.978
#70 JMB Ferrari 4:19.311
#75 Perspective 4:19.490
#83 Seikel 4:20.197
#95 Risi 4:20.540.

Porsche one, two, three and four at the moment, Ferraris fifth, seventh and tenth. The ninth placed Seikel crew were happy, David Shep and Tony Burgess confirming how stiff and stable their 2003 chassis is. Orbit are going exactly to plan, Marc Lieb third fastest on his first racing visit to the track, and likely to go quicker this afternoon.

Now, what happens if one or two of the slow prototypes are stuck outside four minutes, say – or a car completes very few laps? If none of the three drivers in any particular car can lap within 110% of the fastest time of the day, will the ACO invite it to the race? No, we believe 110% isn’t used as a guide or measurement in any formal way, but rather the selection committee will finally draw up a list of 50 runners next month based on a more general appreciation of each car’s performance on this day. No, wrong again. The 50 already invited are the 50 who will be at the race: the ACO don't change their minds...

The final list of runners will be known at 19.00 French time this evening….

Lister news: the car dipped under four minutes just before the lunch break, but the only technical problem was with the ACO transponder. That prevented the black LMP from going out for a while, restricting it to 24 laps.

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The Pilbeam (below, the Willman / JPX engine, complete with International Engine Services sticker) and the Intersport MG-Lola completed fewest laps of all, seven and two.

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The MG-Lola is back out this afternoon, the engine change “completed well before one o’clock,” said the relaxed Team Manager (Clint Field).

The GNM Saleen (#64) that stopped out on the track at Mulsanne Corner is having engine work done to it – both cylinder heads currently not attached to the block.

16.30 and it's hot, too hot for really fast laps. Who will go for it sometime after 17.30? Not many, we'd guess.

The Corvette Racing plan - to see if they've worked through all their programme and if the weather is cooler before deciding to go for a real time - is typical of many. We'd like to see a 550 / Corvette thrash for best in GTS, these two rivals having had similar sorts of days: a valve spring went in #50's engine before the lunch break, paralleling the #88 Ferrari engine failure.

We'd also like to see the Bentleys go for it too. They can't be fast enough by enough to satisfy Tom Kristensen at the moment (3:38.1, a second ahead of the fastest Audi, #10).

 

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