72nd Le Mans 24 Hours - Pre-Race & Early Race
As the cars
head out for the penultimate lap before the start, with the temperatures
just about right and some scattered high cloud, we can report the
Audi, quickest this morning in the warm up, is now pleasing JJ and
co. Whatever set-up issues existed in qualifying were resolved by
23.30 on Thursday, and the car is now judged to be ready to race,
and sixth on the grid is no handicap.
The Lister 'kept'
the development engine, the V8 having run so well on Thursday it
was deemed ready to start the race.
The RML Lola
had slight starternator problems this morning, 'natoring' OK, but
not 'startering' very well.
Three of the 48 cars
did not join the grid lineup:
was simply recovered too late from the circuit after its fuel consumption
test and was not allowed out of the pitlane to join the lineup.
John McNeill though is confident that the car is looking good for
the race itself. The initial strategy is likely to be conservative,
with shorter stints than the maximum the car is able to achieve.
Expect to see this car making an early routine stop.
#10 Lola Caterpillar has had its clutch repaired and is ready to
make the start. Ian Dawson is smiling through the difficulties of
the week: “We know the next step we have to take to move onwards,
the car's traction is putting different stresses on some components
than a conventional drivetrain.” Congratulations for getting
this car here Taurus.
The engine change
on the #61 Barron Conn0r Ferrari 575 has been successfully achieved
and the car is sitting in the pit lane ready to take to the track.
So it's 48 to
start the 72nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. A big thanks to
all of the teams that are carrying vinyls from dailysportscar
a Le Mans record for dsc or its predecessors – 14 cars will
be flying the dsc flag.
Team NASAMAX (#14)
Zytek Engineering (#22)
Racing For Holland (#15)
Taurus Sports (#4 and #10)
Intersport (#27 and #32) PK Sport (#78)
The Racers Group (#81)
Chamberlain Synergy Racing (#89 and #96)
Morgan Works (#80).
Junior enjoying his second Le Mans, with Mum and Dad.
The JMB Ferrari
has been pushed off the grid, and Pippa at Dunlop passes on the
information that the track temperature is a modest 28 degrees, the
air temperature a pleasant 25. We're ready to go.
McNish brave it out into Dunlop, but the man from Yeovil holds off
the ex-F1 Scot, and hangs on to the lead to bring them across the
line in the lead after lap 1.
slips from third to sixth by the end of the lap, losing out on every
straight to the bigger cars - and it's all four Audis filling the
top spots by the first Mulsanne Chicane on lap 1, Lehto passing
Cappello at the second chicane.
is up to eleventh at the end of the first lap, ahead of RML, 18
Pescarolo and Gounon.
JMB's 360 starts
well over a lap down after its pre-race drama, and goes two laps
down on Davies on lap 3.
The four Audis
look remarkably well matched, lapping in 36s and 37s, two seconds
quicker than Lammers in fifth.
The 96 TVR pits
after two laps, going very slowly. Greensall is pushed up the pit
Kox is leading
GTS, three-tenths ahead of Turner. The top five GTS cars are
all together, running nose to tail - two 550s, two C5-Rs, one
550. Maassen and Lieb lead GT, a three second gap between them.
Caffi is third for Seikel.
The 15 Lammers
Dome has stopped (?) on Mulsanne, on lap 4. It might be rolling
again. Yes it is, 24th place, behind the GTS leaders. Dunlop tells
us that it was a throttle sensor problem.
Wallace -24.8. Katoh then passes Wallace.
If the top LMP1s
are neatly spaced, GTS is a war, Gavin threatening Turner as the
five cars thunder round together.
"The engine (of the 96 TVR) cut completely, then mended itself,
then cut out again. It's fired once and then cut out again."
Thanks Radio Le Mans.
Tim Sugden is
third in GT. JMB's delayed 360 is ten seconds off lead-GT (Maassen)
pace, lapping in 4:19.
Morgan and RML Lola both pit.
Lap 8, Capello
has stopped at Dunlop, in the gravel - but has carried on. He's
in 24th place.
now fourth, from Katoh, Coronel, Wallace and Barbosa. The Advan
Dome and Ayari's slower Pescarolo stop after 8 laps, along with
several other cars, Nasamax included.
Lehto is all
over McNish starting lap 10, these two six seconds behind Davies.
JJ clearly wants to find some clear track to compete with the race-leading
88 Audi. Bourdais in fourth is 56 seconds behind Davies.
after 10 laps, fuel only. He hares out of the pits, on the same
rubber. Zytek and Rollcentre pit together, Barbosa gets out first.
11 laps, McNish
and JJ pit together, before that point Gounon was fourth overall,
but also pitted. Davies leads again, then McNish (-14) and Lehto
(-18 - gaps after 12 laps).
GTS cars begin
to pit (63) after 11 laps, Prodrive waits until 12 laps, joined
by Gavin. Gavin gets out ahead of both 550s - and Fellows passed
by before they got out too, and leads. Capello pits after 11 laps
and goes a lap down after a slow visit, the car reluctant to fire
(ECU changed). Two dramas for this Audi already.
the tyre wall at Arnage, and pits with front end damage. Gavin leads
GTS. Sugden has a puncture and endures an eight minute lap to bring
the Perspective Porsche back to the pits. There's debris within
the body of the tyre - bad luck Tim Sugden.
There's a great
battle developing in LMP1from fourth through to 8th. Just six seconds
separates this group albeit that they are over a minute behind the
third placed Audi. Soheil Ayari is closing on Tom Coronel, Ayari
is being tracked closely by Barbosa and Wallace in the Zytek is
just a few tenths behind the Dallara.
the 18 Pescarolo by the 16 Dome and now its Barbosa's turn to challenge
the RfH car. Bourdais passes Wallace and Barbosa (just after the
tells dsc that Jamie Davies is reporting that something is touching
his ankle in the footwell of the leading 88 Audi. A longer stop
may be needed next time around to deal with what may be a loose
component from the on-board camera.
At 1 Hour (and best laps) - 16 laps
8 -23 (3:37.1)
2 -28 (3:37.1)
18 -1min 41 (3:41.9)
16 -1min 44 (3:31.9)
6 -1min 45 (3:41.3)
22 -1min 46 (3:40.5)
17 -1min 46 (3:41.4)
9 -2min 03 (3:41.1)
15 -2min 44 (3:39.3)
31 -3min 20 (3:47.9)
20 -3min 25 (3:47.7)
5 -1 lap (3:36.9)
66 -8 secs
65 -11 secs
87, 90, 84.
So the rest
are having a great scrap for fourth to eighth, but the three untroubled
Audis (and the Goh car) have a clear advantage on race pace. Lammers
is currently lapping as quickly as anyone, and catching Katoh and
the Ayarai to Wallace group. That becomes Coronel to Wallace as
the Dutchman goes fourth, 100 secs behind Davies after 20 laps.
Slinger’s Pit Lane Update
The Morgan is running
a new engine today and after warm-up Mader asked Morgan to bring
it in after three race laps to download some data, which they duly
The Greensall TVR that
limped home initially puzzled Hugh Chamberlain but a new ECU seems
to have fixed the problem and the car is starting to put some good
times in now.
Nasamax also stopped
early to download data after Werner Lupberger suspected a misfire.
The team changed tyres whilst it was hooked up to the laptop but
bad luck saw them pick up a puncture on the outlap. A third unscheduled
stop followed due to the misfire, to download more data, check the
plugs and change the coils. The car is not lapping too far off its
natural pace and the team do not think it is causing any damage
to the engine, but once the fault is diagnosed expect the Nasamax
back in the pits.