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Jun 23

Le Mans 24 Hours: A twelfth win by Audi!

Audi adds a new victory to its impressive record, and Tom Kristensen scores his 9th victory.

Audi R18 e-tron photo © Audi CommunicationThe Dane remains more than ever the victory record holder at Le Mans, while Allan McNish scores his third victory in La Sarthe in fifteen years. Their French team mate Loïc Duval,who took the pole, adds the Le Mans 24 Hours to the Sebring 12 Hours and Tourist Trophy.

 Final results:

 

 
Pos.
Cat.
Drivers
Team
Pit Stops
Diff.
01 LMP1 T. Kristensen
L. Duval
A. McNish
#2 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro
Audi Sport team Joest
34 348 tours
02 LMP1 A. Davidson
S. Buemi
S. Sarrazin
#8 Toyota TS030 – Hybrid
Toyota Racing
30 + 1 tour
03 LMP1 M. Gené
L. Di Grassi
O. Jarvis
#3 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro
Audi Sport team Joest
30 + 1 tour
04 LMP1 A. Wurz
N. Lapierre
K. Nakajima
#7 Toyota TS030 – Hybrid
Toyota Racing
29 + 7 tours
05 LMP1
A. Lotterer
M. Fässler
B. Treluyer
#1 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro
Audi Sport team Joest
32 + 10 tours
06 LMP1 N. Leventis
D. Watts
J. Kane
#21 HDP ARX 03c Honda
Strakka Racing
29 + 16 tours
07 LMP2 B. Baguette
R. Gonzalez
M. Plowman
#35 Morgan Nissan
OAK Racing
30 + 19 tours
08 LMP2 O.Pla
D. Heinemeier-Hansson
A. Brundle
#24 Morgan Nissan
OAK Racing
31 + 20 tours
09 LMP2 R. Rusinov
J. Martin
M. Conway
#26 Oreca 03 Nissan
G-Drive Racing
32 + 21 tours
10 LMP2 L. Ordonez
J. Mardenborough
M. Krumm
#42 Zytek S11SN Nissan
Greaves Motorsport
28 + 21 tours
11 LMP2 L. Perez-Companc
P. Kaffer
N. Minassian
#49 Oreca 03 Nissan
Pecom Racing
29 + 23 tours
12 LMP2 N. Gachnang
F. Mailleux
O. Lombard
#43 Morgan Judd
Morand Racing
28 + 28 tours
13 LMP2 B. Hartley
M. Patterson
K. Chandhok
#48 Oreca 03 Nissan
Murphy Prototypes
29 + 29 tours
14 LMP2 S. Dolan
O. Turvey
L. Luhr
#38 Zytek S11SN Nissan
Jota Sport
29 + 29 tours
15 LMP2 N. Panciatici
P. Ragues
T. Gommendy
#36 Alpine Nissan
Signatech Alpine
32 + 31 tours
16 GTEpro M. Lieb
R. Lietz
R. Dumas
#92 Porsche 911 RSR
Porsche AG team Manthey
22 + 33 tours
17 GTEpro J. Bergmeister
T. Bernhard
P. Pilet
#91 Porsche 911 RSR
Porsche AG team Manthey
24 + 33 tours
18 GTEpro P. Dumbreck
S. Mücke
D. Turner
#97 Aston Martin Vantage V8
Aston Martin Racing
24 + 34 tours
19 LMP2 M. Frey
P. Niederhauser
J. Bleekemolen
#34 Oreca 03 Judd
Race Performance
32 + 34 tours
20 GTEpro A. Garcia
J. Magnussen
J. Taylor
#73 Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1
Corvette Racing
23 + 36 tours
21 GTEpro O. Gavin
T. Milner
R. Westbrook
#74 Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1
Corvette Racing
23 + 36 tours
22 GTEpro O. Beretta
K. Kobayashi
T. Vilander
#71 Ferrari 458 Italia
AF Corse
23 + 37 tours
23 GTEpro G. Bruni
G. Fisichella
M Malucelli
#51 Ferrari 458 Italia
AF Corse
25 + 39 tours
24 LMP2 A. Rossi
E. Lux
T. Kimber-Smith
#41 Zytek S11SN Nissan
Greaves Motorsport
31 + 41 tours
25 GTEpro R. Dalziel
D. Farnbacher
M. Goossens
#53 Viper GTS-R
SRT Motorsports
28 + 42 tours
26 GTEam R. Narac
C. Bourret
J. Vernay
#76 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
IMSA Performance Matmut
23 + 42 tours
27 GTEam P. Perazzini
L. Case
D. O’Young
#55 Ferrari 458 Italia
AF Corse
24 + 43 tours
28 GTEam J. Gerber
M. Cioci
M. Griffin
#61 Ferrari 458 Italia
AF Corse
23 + 43 tours
29 GTEam P. Dempsey
J. Foster
P. Long
#77 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Dempsey Del Piero Proton
24 + 43 tours
30 GTEam P. Bornhauser
J. Canal
R. Taylor
#50 Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1
Larbre Compétition
25 + 46 tours
31 GTEam J. Campbell-Walter
R. Goethe
S. Hall
#96 Aston Martin Vantage V8
Aston Martin Racing
26 + 47 tours
32 GTEpro J. Bombarito
T. Kendall
K. Wittmer
#93 Viper GTS-R
SRT Motorsports
26 + 47 tours
33 LMP2 T. Dagoneau
M. Downs
R. Younessi
#40 Oreca 03 Nissan
Boutsen Ginion Racing
29 + 48 tours
34 GTEam P. Milesi
P. Gibon
W. Henzler
#67 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
IMSA Performance Matmut
22 + 48 tours
35 GTEpro A. Bertolini
A. Turki Alfaisal
K. Al Qubaisi
#66 Ferrari 458 Italia
JMW Motorsport
26 + 48 tours
36 GTEam C. Ried
G. Roda
P. Ruberti
#88 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Proton Competition
23 + 48 tours
37 GTEam E. Collard
F. Perrodo
S. Crubile
#75 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
Prospeed Racing
23 + 50 tours
38 GTEam V. Potolicchio
R. Aguas
J. Bright
#81 Ferrari 458 Italia
8 Star Motorsports
25 + 54 tours
39 LMP2 O. Porta
S. Raffin
R. Brandela
#39 Lola B11/40 Judd
DKR Engineering
31 + 68 tours
40 LMP1 N. Prost
N. Jani
N. Heidfeld
#12 Lola B12/60 Coupe Toyota
Rebellion Racing
26 + 73 tours
41 LMP1 A. Belicchi
M. Beche
C. Cheng
#13 Lola B12/60 Coupe Toyota
Rebellion Racing
29 + 73 tours
42 GTEam P. Dumas
M. Rodriguez
C. Mac Neil
#70 Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1
Larbre Compétition
21 + 80 tours
43 LMP2 S. Tucker
M. Franchitti
R. Briscoe
#33 HDP ARX 03b Honda
Level 5 Motorsports
24 + 106 tours
44 LMP2 P. Thiriet
L. Badey
M. Martin
#46 Oreca 03 Nissan
Thiriet by TDS Racing
28 + 38 tours
abandon
45 GTEpro R. Bell
F. Makowiecki
B. Senna
#99 Aston Martin Vantage V8
Aston Martin Racing
19 + 100 tours
abandon
46 LMP2 J. Nicolet
J. Merlin
P. Mondolot
#45 Morgan Nissan
OAK Racing
25 + 102 tours
abandon
47 LMP2 A. Imperatori
H. Tung
M. Howson
#47 Morgan Nissan
KCMG
25 + 107 tours
abandon
48 GTEpro B. Auberlen
P. Dalla Lana
P. Lamy
#98 Aston Martin Vantage V8
Aston Martin Racing
18 + 127 tours
abandon
49 LMP2 T. Holzer
D. Kraihamer
J. Charouz
#32 Lotus T128
Lotus
22 + 129 tours
abandon
50 LMP2 J. Mowlem
A. Burgess
J. Hirschi
#30 Lola B12/80 Coupe Judd
HVM Status GP
16 + 195 tours
abandon
51 GTEam Y. Mallegol
J. Bachelier
H. Blank
#54 Ferrari 458 Italia
AF Corse
11 + 201 tours
abandon
52 GTEam T. Krohn
M. Mediani
N. Jönsson
#57 Ferrari 458 Italia
Krohn Racing
9 + 237 tours
abandon
53 LMP2 T. Graves
S. Nakano
A. Hamilton
#25 Oreca 03 Nissan
Delta ADR
9 + 247 tours
abandon
54 LMP2 F. Giroix
P. Haezebrouck
K. Ihara
#28 Lola B12/80 Coupe Nissan
Gulf Racing Middle East
9 + 326 tours
abandon
55 LMP2 K. Weeda
J. Rossiter
C. Bouchut
#31 Lotus T128
Lotus
2 + 331 tours
abandon
56 GTEam C. Nygaard
K. Poulsen
A. Simonsen
#95 Aston Martin Vantage V8
Aston Martin Racing
0 + 346 tours
abandon

 

 

 SRT Motorsports: Le Mans 24 Hours Post-Race Quotes Package 

  • SRT® Motorsports
  • SRT Viper GTS-R Racing Team
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Circuit de la Sarthe
  • Final Post-Race Quotes

Ralph Gilles, President & CEO, SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Brand and Motorsports

“What an unbelievable race. To get both cars back in one piece shows that everyone over-performed in my book. We were hoping for a strong finish and we got that. No one on the team ever got frazzled or lost focus even with all the challenges we faced over the 24 hours. Most of the pit stops we saw looked to me like we’ve been doing them together for 10 years. The entire team stepped it up and everybody feels so proud of the effort. Le Mans is amazing – and the 24 hours feels like an entire race season squeezed into one day. To have both cars finish the race makes me feel extremely proud and also shows the future promise of this team.

“The reception that our SRT (Street and Racing Technology) Motorsports team received here in France over the last month has been phenomenal and I think people believe that we belong on this world stage of sports car racing.”

Russ Ruedisueli – Head of Engineering, SRT Brand and Motorsports

“Our big goal for this race was to finish. You know some people took that for granted. We respect this place and the high level of competition. So to finish both cars is fantastic. We worked through a lot of issues. The guys never gave up; I think that’s a testament to what this team is all about. It’s a very young team. A lot of these folks have never been to this place before let alone done a 24-hour race. Just a really, really big day for us. I’m really proud of the whole team.”

HOW BIG OF AN ENGINEERING ACCOMPLISHMENT IS IT FOR BOTH CARS TO FINISH THIS RACE? “We always think that we’ve done all our homework and we’ve got everything ready but this place is the ultimate test. We did a bunch of 24-hour dyno testing on the motors, we’ve got lots of reliability data on the frames and the bodies and the subsystems. But this is a real test so to come out of here with two cars in one piece is a really, really good deal.”

Beth Paretta – Director of Marketing and Operations, SRT Brand and Motorsports

“This is an international platform that puts SRT on display in front of the entire world. SRT is the best that Chrysler LLC has to offer and to compete on such a global stage is important to showcase the brand and its products. To survive Le Mans for 24 hours in our first trip here as a brand is almost near impossible. I think we showed the world our world-class race team and world-class race cars.”

Matt Bejnarowicz – Lead Engineer, SRT Motorsports

“I’m speechless. It’s very emotional. To be a part of this race has been a life-long dream of mine and to share it with this race team is very special. It has been such a team effort. We have had to overcome a lot of odds to even get to Le Mans. This team took on a great challenge and did everything we needed to make this possible. Coming to compete at Le Mans for the first time as a team is no easy feat. I’m proud of every person who set finger on any part of this program. What an honor to come to Le Mans and compete with two SRT Viper GTS-Rs.”

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“It’s a great team effort. The guys all worked so hard to get here. We had a great show. For both cars to finish, especially with all the conditions, shows how strong the drivers and the team designing the cars were and how great the crew was servicing ‘em. Overall, a great experience.

“I think just knowing we can get here and do this is going to be a great feather in our cap. I think the ALMS program is going to be all that much more to us; I think we’ll have a good chance of doing really well there. We’ve got a race in 13 days so we’ve got to get back home and get the cars back together. It should be a great season.”

Bill Riley, VP and Chief Engineer, Riley Technologies

WHAT A GREAT JOURNEY FOR YOUR COMPANY AND THE SRT TEAM. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COME TO LE MANS AND COMPETE THE WAY THAT YOUR TEAM DID? “It’s very special. It’s such tough competition. To compete and finish with both cars in our first race at Le Mans is very special. I wish there would have been a better result but I’m not going to focus too much on that right now. Everybody worked hard and worked together as a team. We learned a lot this week and the weeks leading up to the 24 (Hours of Le Mans). This experience is going to make us stronger and will be a great stepping stone for everyone associated with the SRT program.

“It’s a pretty good day. It’s a big day for the team. I think the team is going to grow a lot from this. I think it’s going to get stronger; I think we’re going to have a pretty strong effort moving forward because of this. I wished we would have had a better day but I didn’t want to be greedy.”

HOW DOES COMPETING AT LE MAN THIS SEASON HELP FOR NEXT YEAR? “It’s huge. I’ve been here before, guys on the team had been here before, but now we’ve got a real solid place to go from.”

HOW SPECIAL WAS TODAY FOR BILL RILEY? “It’s big. I don’t think it will be the biggest racing day of my life until I win it but it’s big. It’s definitely up there.”

Dominik Farnbacher – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

TALK ABOUT THE PERFORMANCES OF THIS SRT TEAM AT THE 24 HOUR OF LE MANS THIS WEEKEND? “The Viper ran great. No big problems. The car ran great without any incidences. I could go exactly the same speed as the Corvette, even a bit quicker. During my last stint I caught the car ahead of me and I tried to get the rivalry on TV (laughs) but my stint was too short. My Michelin tires were fantastic all week. Thanks to all of our partners who helped make this program work. I think for our first 24 hour race with a new car, it’s a great accomplishment.”

HOW WAS THE RACING? “It was very tough, very difficult situations all race. It was dropping rain in some corners and in other corners it was dry. It was very hard mentally because you never knew what the next corner was going to be like. Would it be quicker? Would it be slower? Is there rain? You only see a little bit of sprinkle on the windshield and then the next turn it’s dry. Very challenging racing conditions; it was always a gamble. Tire choice was key and our team did a great job giving us the right tire. We never went off course and the tire was great. It was one of the toughest races that I’ve ever competed in. The car was fantastic.”

YOUR TEAM DIDN’T HAVE A LOT OF ON-TRACK PRACTICE TIME THIS WEEK BUT MANAGED TO RUN ALL 24 HOURS WITHOUT A MAJOR INCIDENT: “For sure. Our team was fantastic all week. It was very difficult. My team colleagues Marc (Goossens) and Ryan (Dalziel) are just stunning race car drivers. They’re world-class racers. They never make mistakes and run with great pace. It was a difficult day for me personally and my teammates were there for me all day. My team, the engineers, everybody was there for me. I’m so proud to be a part of this SRT team.”

Tommy Kendall – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

FOR A RACE TEAM THAT HAS ONLY SEVEN EVENTS UNDER ITS BELT, WHAT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT THIS WEEK AT LE MANS: “Incredible. A year ago this team was put together and the car ran for the first time. It’s a huge undertaking. For a new enterprise to accomplish competing the way that we have at Le Mans is amazing. This team has worked so hard to get to this race and be competitive. Everyone reacted to a new experience on the world’s biggest endurance race stage and performed flawlessly. It’s really encouraging.”

WHAT DID RACING AT LE MANS THIS YEAR MEAN TO YOU? “To come here with this team and race the way that we did is just amazing. The changing conditions really made it difficult; I can’t ever remember a race that was as challenging as Le Mans this year. Our team took on the challenge and performed great. To be able to run as long as we did and bring home a very respectful finish with such a young team is a major bucket list item checked off.”

TALK ABOUT YOUR PERFORMANCE AT LE MANS? “I wasn’t really happy with my first stint. In reflection, I think a major part of that was because we were on the mediums (tires) and they

weren’t in the temperature range. I struggled. The next stint I had to run in the rain with slicks on and I just did everything I could to keep it pointed straight. I had a decent stint after that, but a scary moment when the tire went down. Finally this morning I got a solid stint, the right tires, clean track and was able to string a bunch of laps together. It’s a nice final taste in my mouth.”

TALK ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SRT VIPER GTS-R AND HOW IT WAS ABLE TO COME TO LE MANS AND COMPETE FOR 24 HOURS: “Incredible. There are a lot of things going on in these cars, a lot of systems. Everybody looks at that big V-10, but there are a lot of pieces moving around. The pace of this race – at all levels – is just so fast. We’re 10-tense all the time. For a car to stand up to 24 hours here like the Viper did is really impressive.”

4:00.00 In-Race Quotes #5

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Jonathan Bomarito comment on the first 20 hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“I think the team is doing really well. We’ve accomplished a lot by going this far. Pit stops have been really good and the drivers are putting in some great laps. We’ll go on from here and hopefully finish well in this race.”

Jonathan Bomarito – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

HOW WAS YOUR FIRST RACE AT LE MANS? “It’s been awesome. It’s been a tough year for Le Mans with everything that happened this morning. But you set all that aside and my driving experience has been good. It’s an amazing place with a lot of history. It’s a dream come true to be a part of it and get to compete here.”

WHAT IS THE MAIN THING THAT YOU LEARNED THIS YEAR THAT WILL HELP YOU HERE IN THE FUTURE? “Just comfort. Getting some extended stints, what it takes with a three-driver routine. This is the first 24-hour I’ve done with three drivers. Driving at night here and in the rain, we got the whole gamut of it. I feel pretty confident that I’ve kind of seen everything this place has to offer so I’ll come back with a lot more confidence.”

HOW FRUSTRATING TO YOU ARE THE CAUTIONS AND DELAYS? “It’s hard to get in a rhythm, especially with those long guardrail fixes, the rain and switching tires back and forth. It’s just hard to get in a rhythm but you have to keep marching on; Mother Nature you can’t control.”

“I think everybody would like to have finished a little higher up but the race isn’t over yet though. We still have four more hours. Everybody at SRT has worked incredibly hard and I want to thank everyone. It takes an incredible effort to get the cars here and do the job that they’ve done.”

8:00.00 In-Race Quotes #4

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Tommy Kendall comment on the first 16 hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“The 53 car came in for a quick stop since the last time we talked and everything went fine with that; they’re back out on the track. The 93 had problems with a tire going down and getting stuck in the gravel trap, then coming back and having to get it cleaned up and have the bodywork repaired. He had a long way to get back because he was under pretty slow power because he had the tire down. He made it back and we patched it up. We should be good to go; we’ll continue on.”

Tommy Kendall – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra Viper GTS-R

“Wow that was wild. I got in the car and the yellow came out right away and there was a long, long yellow. Then it started to rain. The reason for the lengthy yellow was they had to fix the guardrail again. Pretty soon the whole track was wet and everybody peeled in; I was the only car behind my pace car. We don’t have any intermediate tires so they said if you can stay out, stay out; just be really careful.

“When it went green, it was treacherous. I said I can keep it on the road but we I’ll have to be careful. Most of that stint, it was wet or with cold tires. The track finally started to dry when I came in and fueled up. From that point on it was pretty good. I actually had fun. The soft tires were the right tires. I now realize part of why I struggled so bad in the first stint was being on the mediums when it got cold.

“We had about four or five laps to go and then, going into Mulsanne, I had a left-rear go down on me right as I hit the brakes – which got my attention – and did a tank-slapper but kept it pointed straight. I almost got it slowed down but I didn’t and it ended up in the gravel. They pulled me out really quickly and then limping back at 20 miles an hour when those guys are sailing by you. I know the radios are telling ‘em they do a great job flagging but it’s just a little bit nerve-racking.

“But we got it back. Not quite sure why the tire went down. It must have been a puncture. There was no warning whatsoever. That was our first real glitch of the day.”

12:00.00 In-Race Quotes #3

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Kuno Wittmer comment on the first 12 hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the midway point of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R is P10 and the No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R is P11 in LM GTE Pro Class.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“Well we’re doing great so far tonight. The weather has gotten a little cooler and the cars are really moving well. We’re triple-stinting some of the tires and the drivers so we’re making up time that way, too. We have to watch certain things, especially the engine temperature, make sure it isn’t too cool so we’ve been taping up some of the grills to take care of that.”

Kuno Wittmer – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

“Definitely a good last three stints for the SRT team and the Viper. You know usually when you do three stints in any other car you get pretty wiped out but in a Viper you don’t. Luckily we have a good car, comfortable driving it and go fast in it. We didn’t quite have the start that we wanted to the race but I think it’s slowly changing into our direction and the car’s really favoring these temperatures and the tire selections and the chassis adjustments we’ve been doing. So we’re going to keep cracking off some laps, keep running fast, keep running hard and let’s see where it takes us at 3 p.m. on Sunday.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN THIS RACE THAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN COMING INTO IT BECAUSE YOU JUST DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH DATA? “We come back here again it’s going to be a different story, a totally different circus. It is so valuable to run here previously in a race and you learn so much: temperature change, rain, everything. Everything plays into the effect of a car and I think we’re lacking a little bit straight-line speed right now compared to the other competitors. But you know when I was running with the front runners, the top three cars before, I would catch them everywhere in the brakes and everywhere in the corners so we’re dominating them everywhere in the handling department and braking. It’s just that we need some straight line speed.”

16:00.00 In-Race Quotes #2

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Tommy Kendall and No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Ryan Dalziel comment on the first nine hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“We had a tough couple of hours right there, a couple of miscues and it put us down a couple of laps. But it’s a long race and we’ll keep plugging away. The 53 car went off into a gravel trap coming into the pit area. We came in, finished off the pit stop, went back out and realized that the alternator pulley belt was cut. A rock got between the pulley and the belt. We had to come back in and change the belt. The car was actually brought back into the garage. Then, we had a problem with the door not getting closed all the way, so we had to come in again.”

THE GOOD PART ABOUT A RACE OF THIS LENGTH IS THAT YOU CAN MAKE UP A GOOD BIT OF DISTANCE. “Well, it’s going to take a while. You don’t want to wish bad luck on anybody but things happen to other cars too. Hopefully, we’ll keep clean and make it to the end without any more incidents.”

Jonathan Bomarito – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

THIS WAS YOUR FIRST STINT EVER AT LE MANS. HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE? “It was amazing and tough all at once. The first stint was hard. There was a constant little mist on the track but just in certain corners. That really messes with your head quite a bit. The car is good. The guys are doing a good job. We just need to keep our heads down and keep pounding away laps.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAKE THAT DECISION TO PUT THE WET TIRES ON? “I think it was right at the end of Kuno’s (Wittmer) stint when it started to get pretty wet and we went to wets (tires). But even when the track looks really wet, it can dry really fast. We went to wets, it dried really fast, we hurt the wet tires and lost too much time right there. That was a learning lesson for Le Mans and this track. We won’t make that mistake again.”

HOW WAS THE CAR ONCE THE TRACK DRIED AND YOU PUT DRY TIRES BACK ON? “The car is good, has a good balance. We just did a triple-stint on a set of tires and it stayed pretty quick the whole time. I’m pretty happy with the car. It’s just a long, long race. We’re just a little over five hours or so into this.”

Tommy Kendall – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

HOW WAS YOUR STINT? “It was alright. It got off to a hurky-jerky start with a couple yellows right in a row and it was tough for me. I struggled getting a rhythm in terms of traffic.

“Traffic affected me a fair amount, so I wasn’t happy with my speed. I just kept telling myself gas and tires, gas and tires; that’s the only reason we want to come into the box. It’s a long way to go to the end. I’m going to get some fluids, food, a rub-down and some sleep.”

Ryan Dalziel – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

“It went pretty well. We’re sticking to our own plan trying to get the two cars to the finish, trying to keep them on pace and see where we end up. The 53 car has just been involved in a couple of different little incidents but we’re going to keep plucking away. To get to the end in these things, you have to fight. We’ve got a group of fighters here at SRT Motorsports. We’ll keep plugging away; a long way to go, obviously. A lot of cars in front and lot of cars behind us so I think we’re pretty proud of the job we’ve done so far.

“That’s the most running I’ve done this week, based on the weather, so it was nice to get a couple of stints under my belt. I’m going to feel much better getting my next stint now. But the car is actually really nice. I guess we’ve been scratching our heads a little bit on where we need to find our biggest gains; I think we have an idea of what we need to work on. The car is nice to drive right now so I don’t think you’re going to see too many mental mistakes from the drivers.”

HOW BIG OF AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IS IT TO SIMPLY FINISH THIS RACE? “Well, I think the first goal for anybody coming to this race is to finish. If we can finish both cars, that’s a double bonus. Anything position-wise is icing on the cake. This is a tough race. You know the weather, everything has kind of gone against us this week.

“But you know the beauty of this program is SRT is in it for the long haul, they’re in it to stay. Let’s hope we get two good results for the 93 and the 53 and we’ll move on to the next one.”

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE HERE AT LE MANS AT NIGHT? “Really, it’s always the Protypes. I’ve been on both ends of the grid here and it’s definitely much tougher when you’re a GT car having to deal with the kind of depth perception of the Audis coming up behind you. We’re not really battling for a podium position right now. We’re definitely going to be on cruise control a little bit just trying to make sure we take care of the equipment and take advantage of anybody else’s misfortune at this point.”

20:00.00 In-Race Quotes #1

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and SRT Viper GTS-R drivers Marc Goossens and Kuno Wittmer comment on the first four hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“We’ve been trying to predict the weather and it’s been difficult to do to say the least. We actually had the 93 car going with intermediate rains (tires) and that wasn’t the right choice so they came in and switched out. Right now it’s raining in Turns 1 and 2, so a lot of cars are going off there. But overall I think the cars have done really well. The 53 car showed that it could get past some of the other competitors. We are playing a little bit of a safe game here, not stretching the range more than we should; just want to get the laps in and whittling away on the other competitors.”

THE CHOICE OF TIRES WHEN SOME OF THE TRACK IS DRY AND OTHER PARTS ARE WET IS A VERY DIFFCULT DECISION. “It is and the drivers give us some feedback but they are not really aware of what’s coming with the next half-hour or hour of weather is going to be. Everybody takes a good guess and sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t.”

OVERALL ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THE START OF THE RACE? “I am. The cars have shown good durability. We are right where we need to be on range and the drivers are doing a fantastic job so I’m real happy.”

Marc Goossens – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

YOU WERE PASSING CARS FOR POSITION WHEN HALF THE TRACK WAS WET AND THE OTHER HALF WAS DRY. “I had a good run. That’s why I asked over the radio what are my lap times compared to somebody else because it feels like it’s that slow and they told me it was way faster than any GT car. But it’s good to have that communication because then you know you can pace yourself at the speed that you’re doing but man the conditions are changing so quickly. It rains a little bit over there and dry over there. I didn’t feel like I was taking any risks.

“I just got into a good flow, into a good rhythm. The car is pretty decent. We just have to look after our tires because we try to triple-stint them right now and you know we have to be cautious. If we get a triple-stint that’s completely dry and no safety car, we may not make it on one set of tires for three stints. It’s something else we’ll probably learn later on in the race because we didn’t have a chance to do that. These guys prepped the car so well it’s running right now like a Swiss clock. It’s not moving at all. Mechanically everything feels fine. So far I’m confident.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAKE THAT DECISION TO CHANGE TIRES UNDER THESE CONDITIONS? “Well there are a lot of things that come into play. I mean, I could see other people struggle as well. I didn’t feel like I was struggling as much at the time so our car seems to like that maybe a little better than the others but it’s so tough to make a decision. I guess experience comes into play at that point but I felt pretty comfortable on those slicks all the time.”

DO THE CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS EQUALIZE EVERYTHING AMONG THE COMPETITORS? “I think a lot of it is to do with the setup that you run. We know we’re a little slower down the straightaways because of the drag that we have but then we make up elsewhere. Hopefully we can keep making the right decisions during the race and throughout the race and just take it from there.”

SRT Motorsports: Tommy Kendall Diary (Final in Series)

Tommy Kendall piloted the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R this weekend in the 24 Hour of Le Mans. He teamed with Kuno Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito to finish ninth in LM GTE Pro Class at the 81st running of the event.

This is the last of a four-part series as Kendall gives a behind-the-scenes look at Le Mans through the driver’s eyes.

We had a lot to learn this year coming to Le Mans with a new car, new team and all that. And I think a lot of us were hoping we would shock ‘em and have a trouble-free run to the podium with both cars (laughs). I guess that’s the eternal optimist in me. It didn’t quite work out like that but we’re going back with an infinite amount of information much more than we arrived with. Every single person in every single role has learned a lot and knows how to do it better next year.

The race itself, there was no major-major problems but lots of little ones. While I was in the car, we had the one issue with the wets (tires) where we didn’t have intermediates so we had to run in the wets or slicks which were treacherous. Then at the end of my stint, we had a tire fail at the end of the backstraight, a puncture I’m assuming, right when I went to the brakes at 170-something miles per hour. The car did a huge tank slapper. My eyes must have been as big as saucers. I got it slowed most of the way down but couldn’t quite make the corner and ended up in the gravel trap. They got me out in a hurry. Almost as scary was limping the car, with a flat tire, along that straight to Indianapolis and through the Porsche curves at 10 miles an hour. It tore up the car a little bit but we were able to (make repairs) and go.

When Kuno (Wittmer) was in the car, some hood latches failed and they had to make a stop because the headlights weren’t connected right. My first two stints were rife with issues and didn’t leave a satisfying taste in my mouth in terms of stringing some laps together. But the last stint was different. You’re on the right tires at the right temps. There was a little bit of rain but mostly dry conditions. I was able to string some laps together that I felt good about so that’s a nice taste to leave with.

Then right at the very end of my stint the electric shifter malfunctioned. So Kuno drove it in override mode, which means you have to lift when you shift and you’ve got to use the clutch on the downshifts.

I’ve got to give Kuno and Jonathan (Bomarito) shouts out. Kuno has been an Iron Man. He’s done triple (shifts) after triple and Jonathan has been running great laps as well. I’m proud to be part of the 93 team and proud to be part of the overall SRT Motorsports team and represent Viper.

There’s a lot of wouldas and couldas but we’ll go back, regroup and set our sights forward 364 days.

What is already one of the most difficult races in the world became impossibly more so when Allan Simonsen was killed in an accident on lap 4. Needless to say, it cast a pall over the entire race and added a layer of intensity to what would turn out to be some of the most challenging conditions some had ever seen. I did not know Allen, but racing is a close knit community in spite of the competitive environment, and this hit everyone very close to home. To be able to focus on the job at hand, required compartmentalizing it until after the race, but when the race ended, I was overcome with sadness thinking about him, his girlfriend and infant child he left behind.

It’s was a tremendous experience to be a part of Viper’s return to Le Mans. Thanks for joining me on this incredible ride.

SRT Motorsports: Le Mans In-Race Quotes

  • SRT Motorsports
  • SRT Viper GTS-R Racing Team
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Circuit de la Sarthe
  • In-Race Quotes #3
  • 12:00.00

12:00.00 In-Race Quotes #3

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Kuno Wittmer comment on the first 12 hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the midway point of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R is P10 and the No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R is P11 in LM GTE Pro Class.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“Well we’re doing great so far tonight. The weather has gotten a little cooler and the cars are really moving well. We’re triple-stinting some of the tires and the drivers, so we’re making up time that way too. We have to watch certain things, especially the engine temperature, make sure it isn’t too cool. We’ve been taping up some of the grills to take care of that.”

Kuno Wittmer – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

“Definitley a good last three stints for the SRT team and the Viper. You know, usually when you do three or stints in any other car you get pretty wiped out but in a Viper you don’t. Luckily we have a good car. It’s comfortable driving it and going fast in it. We didn’t quite have the start to the race that we wanted but I think it’s slowly changing into our direction. The car’s really favoring these temperatures, the tire selections and the chassis adjustments we’ve been doing. So we’re going to keep cracking off some laps, keep running fast, keep running hard and let’s see where it takes us at 3 p.m. on Sunday.”

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED IN THIS RACE THAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE KNOWN COMING INTO IT BECAUSE YOU JUST DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH DATA? “When we come back here again it’s going to be a different story, a totally different circus. It is so valuable to run here previously. You learn so much: temperature change, rain, everything. Everything plays into the effect of a car. I think we’re lacking a little bit of straight line speed right now compared to the other competitors. But you know, when I was running with the front runners, the top three cars before, I would catch them in the braking zones and in the corners. So we’re dominating them everywhere in the handling department and braking. It’s just that we need some straight line speed.”

16:00.00 In-Race Quotes #2

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Tommy Kendall and No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Ryan Dalziel comment on the first nine hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“We had a tough couple of hours right there, a couple of miscues and it put us down a couple of laps. But it’s a long race and we’ll keep plugging away. The 53 car went off into a gravel trap coming into the pit area. We came in, finished off the pit stop, went back out and realized that the alternator pulley belt was cut. A rock got between the pulley and the belt. We had to come back in and change the belt. The car was actually brought back into the garage. Then, we had a problem with the door not getting closed all the way, so we had to come in again.”

THE GOOD PART ABOUT A RACE OF THIS LENGTH IS THAT YOU CAN MAKE UP A GOOD BIT OF DISTANCE. “Well, it’s going to take a while. You don’t want to wish bad luck on anybody but things happen to other cars too. Hopefully, we’ll keep clean and make it to the end without any more incidents.”

Jonathan Bomarito – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

THIS WAS YOUR FIRST STINT EVER AT LE MANS. HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE? “It was amazing and tough all at once. The first stint was hard. There was a constant little mist on the track but just in certain corners. That really messes with your head quite a bit. The car is good. The guys are doing a good job. We just need to keep our heads down and keep pounding away laps.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAKE THAT DECISION TO PUT THE WET TIRES ON? “I think it was right at the end of Kuno’s (Wittmer) stint when it started to get pretty wet and we went to wets (tires). But even when the track looks really wet, it can dry really fast. We went to wets, it dried really fast, we hurt the wet tires and lost too much time right there. That was a learning lesson for Le Mans and this track. We won’t make that mistake again.”

HOW WAS THE CAR ONCE THE TRACK DRIED AND YOU PUT DRY TIRES BACK ON? “The car is good, has a good balance. We just did a triple-stint on a set of tires and it stayed pretty quick the whole time. I’m pretty happy with the car. It’s just a long, long race. We’re just a little over five hours or so into this.”

Tommy Kendall – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

HOW WAS YOUR STINT? “It was alright. It got off to a hurky-jerky start with a couple yellows right in a row and it was tough for me. I struggled getting a rhythm in terms of traffic.

“Traffic affected me a fair amount, so I wasn’t happy with my speed. I just kept telling myself gas and tires, gas and tires; that’s the only reason we want to come into the box. It’s a long way to go to the end. I’m going to get some fluids, food, a rub-down and some sleep.”

Ryan Dalziel – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

“It went pretty well. We’re sticking to our own plan trying to get the two cars to the finish, trying to keep them on pace and see where we end up. The 53 car has just been involved in a couple of different little incidents but we’re going to keep plucking away. To get to the end in these things, you have to fight. We’ve got a group of fighters here at SRT Motorsports. We’ll keep plugging away; a long way to go, obviously. A lot of cars in front and lot of cars behind us so I think we’re pretty proud of the job we’ve done so far.

“That’s the most running I’ve done this week, based on the weather, so it was nice to get a couple of stints under my belt. I’m going to feel much better getting my next stint now. But the car is actually really nice. I guess we’ve been scratching our heads a little bit on where we need to find our biggest gains; I think we have an idea of what we need to work on. The car is nice to drive right now so I don’t think you’re going to see too many mental mistakes from the drivers.”

HOW BIG OF AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IS IT TO SIMPLY FINISH THIS RACE? “Well, I think the first goal for anybody coming to this race is to finish. If we can finish both cars, that’s a double bonus. Anything position-wise is icing on the cake. This is a tough race. You know the weather, everything has kind of gone against us this week.

“But you know the beauty of this program is SRT is in it for the long haul, they’re in it to stay. Let’s hope we get two good results for the 93 and the 53 and we’ll move on to the next one.”

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE HERE AT LE MANS AT NIGHT? “Really, it’s always the Protypes. I’ve been on both ends of the grid here and it’s definitely much tougher when you’re a GT car having to deal with the kind of depth perception of the Audis coming up behind you. We’re not really battling for a podium position right now. We’re definitely going to be on cruise control a little bit just trying to make sure we take care of the equipment and take advantage of anybody else’s misfortune at this point.”

20:00.00 In-Race Quotes #1

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and SRT Viper GTS-R drivers Marc Goossens and Kuno Wittmer comment on the first four hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“We’ve been trying to predict the weather and it’s been difficult to do to say the least. We actually had the 93 car going with intermediate rains (tires) and that wasn’t the right choice so they came in and switched out. Right now it’s raining in Turns 1 and 2, so a lot of cars are going off there. But overall I think the cars have done really well. The 53 car showed that it could get past some of the other competitors. We are playing a little bit of a safe game here, not stretching the range more than we should; just want to get the laps in and whittling away on the other competitors.”

THE CHOICE OF TIRES WHEN SOME OF THE TRACK IS DRY AND OTHER PARTS ARE WET IS A VERY DIFFCULT DECISION. “It is and the drivers give us some feedback but they are not really aware of what’s coming with the next half-hour or hour of weather is going to be. Everybody takes a good guess and sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t.”

OVERALL ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THE START OF THE RACE? “I am. The cars have shown good durability. We are right where we need to be on range and the drivers are doing a fantastic job so I’m real happy.”

Marc Goossens – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

YOU WERE PASSING CARS FOR POSITION WHEN HALF THE TRACK WAS WET AND THE OTHER HALF WAS DRY. “I had a good run. That’s why I asked over the radio what are my lap times compared to somebody else because it feels like it’s that slow and they told me it was way faster than any GT car. But it’s good to have that communication because then you know you can pace yourself at the speed that you’re doing but man the conditions are changing so quickly. It rains a little bit over there and dry over there. I didn’t feel like I was taking any risks. I just got into a good flow, into a good rhythm. The car is pretty decent. We just have to look after our tires because we try to triple-stint them right now and you know we have to be cautious. If we get a triple-stint that’s completely dry and no safety car, we may not make it on one set of tires for three stints. It’s something else we’ll probably learn later on in the race because we didn’t have a chance to do that. These guys prepped the car so well it’s running right now like a Swiss clock. It’s not moving at all. Mechanically everything feels fine. So far I’m confident.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAKE THAT DECISION TO CHANGE TIRES UNDER THESE CONDITIONS? “Well there are a lot of things that come into play. I mean, I could see other

people struggle as well. I didn’t feel like I was struggling as much at the time so our car seems to like that maybe a little better than the others but it’s so tough to make a decision. I guess experience comes into play at that point but I felt pretty comfortable on those slicks all the time.”

DO THE CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS EQUALIZE EVERYTHING AMONG THE COMPETITORS? “I think a lot of it is to do with the setup that you run. We know we’re a little slower down the straightaways because of the drag that we have but then we make up elsewhere. Hopefully we can keep making the right decisions during the race and throughout the race and just take it from

SRT Motorsports: Le Mans In-Race Quotes 2

  • SRT® Motorsports
  • SRT Viper GTS-R Racing Team
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Circuit de la Sarthe
  • In-Race Quotes #2
  • 15:00.00

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson, No. 93 SRT Viper GTS-R drivers Jonathan Bomarito and Tommy Kendall and No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R driver Ryan Dalziel comment on the first nine hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“We had a tough couple of hours right there, a couple of miscues and it put us down a couple of laps. But it’s a long race and we’ll keep plugging away. The 53 car went off into a gravel trap coming into the pit area. We came in, finished off the pit stop, went back out and realized that the alternator pulley belt was cut. A rock got between the pulley and the belt. We had to come back in and change the belt. The car was actually brought back into the garage. Then, we had a problem with the door not getting closed all the way, so we had to come in again.”

THE GOOD PART ABOUT A RACE OF THIS LENGTH IS THAT YOU CAN MAKE UP A GOOD BIT OF DISTANCE. “Well, it’s going to take a while. You don’t want to wish bad luck on anybody but things happen to other cars too. Hopefully, we’ll keep clean and make it to the end without any more incidents.”

Jonathan Bomarito – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

THIS WAS YOUR FIRST STINT EVER AT LE MANS. HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE? “It was amazing and tough all at once. The first stint was hard. There was a constant little mist on the track but just in certain corners. That really messes with your head quite a bit. The car is good. The guys are doing a good job. We just need to keep our heads down and keep pounding away laps.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAKE THAT DECISION TO PUT THE WET TIRES ON? “I think it was right at the end of Kuno’s (Wittmer) stint when it started to get pretty wet and we went to wets (tires). But even when the track looks really wet, it can dry really fast. We went to wets, it dried really fast, we hurt the wet tires and lost too much time right there. That was a learning lesson for Le Mans and this track. We won’t make that mistake again.”

HOW WAS THE CAR ONCE THE TRACK DRIED AND YOU PUT DRY TIRES BACK ON? “The car is good, has a good balance. We just did a triple-stint on a set of tires and it stayed pretty quick the whole time. I’m pretty happy with the car. It’s just a long, long race. We’re just a little over five hours or so into this.”

Tommy Kendall – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

HOW WAS YOUR STINT? “It was alright. It got off to a hurky-jerky start with a couple yellows right in a row and it was tough for me. I struggled getting a rhythm in terms of traffic. 

“Traffic affected me a fair amount, so I wasn’t happy with my speed. I just kept telling myself gas and tires, gas and tires; that’s the only reason we want to come into the box. It’s a long way to go to the end. I’m going to get some fluids, food, a rub-down and some sleep.”

Ryan Dalziel – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

“It went pretty well. We’re sticking to our own plan trying to get the two cars to the finish, trying to keep them on pace and see where we end up. The 53 car has just been involved in a couple of different little incidents but we’re going to keep plucking away. To get to the end in these things, you have to fight. We’ve got a group of fighters here at SRT Motorsports. We’ll keep plugging away; a long way to go, obviously. A lot of cars in front and lot of cars behind us so I think we’re pretty proud of the job we’ve done so far.

“That’s the most running I’ve done this week, based on the weather, so it was nice to get a couple of stints under my belt. I’m going to feel much better getting my next stint now. But the car is actually really nice. I guess we’ve been scratching our heads a little bit on where we need to find our biggest gains; I think we have an idea of what we need to work on. The car is nice to drive right now so I don’t think you’re going to see too many mental mistakes from the drivers.”

HOW BIG OF AN ACCOMPLISHMENT IS IT TO SIMPLY FINISH THIS RACE? “Well, I think the first goal for anybody coming to this race is to finish. If we can finish both cars, that’s a double bonus. Anything position-wise is icing on the cake. This is a tough race. You know the weather, everything has kind of gone against us this week.

“But you know the beauty of this program is SRT is in it for the long haul, they’re in it to stay. Let’s hope we get two good results for the 93 and the 53 and we’ll move on to the next one.”

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE HERE AT LE MANS AT NIGHT? “Really, it’s always the Protypes. I’ve been on both ends of the grid here and it’s definitely much tougher when you’re a GT car having to deal with the kind of depth perception of the Audis coming up behind you. We’re not really battling for a podium position right now. We’re definitely going to be on cruise control a little bit just trying to make sure we take care of the equipment and take advantage of anybody else’s misfortune at this point.”

SRT Motorsports: Race Quotes from 24 Hours of Le Mans

  • SRT® Motorsports
  • SRT Viper GTS-R Racing Team
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Circuit de la Sarthe
  • In-Race Quotes #1
  • 20:00.00

SRT Motorsports Racing Manager Gary Johnson and SRT Viper GTS-R drivers Marc Goossens and Kuno Wittmer comment on the first four hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Gary Johnson – SRT Motorsports Racing Manager

“We’ve been trying to predict the weather and it’s been difficult to do to say the least. We actually had the 93 car going intermediate rains (tires) and that wasn’t the right choice so they came in and switched out. Right now, it’s raining in Turns 1 and 2 so a lot of cars are going off (track) there. Overall, I think the cars have done really well. The 53 car showed that it could get past some of the other competitors. We are playing a little bit of a safe game here, not stretching the range more than we should. We just want to get the laps in and whittling away on the other competitors.”

THE CHOICE OF TIRES WHEN SOME OF THE TRACK IS DRY AND OTHER PARTS ARE WET IS A VERY DIFFCULT DECISION. “It is and the drivers give us some feedback but they are not really aware of what the next half-hour or hour of weather is going to be. Everybody takes a good guess; sometimes you make it and sometimes you don’t.”

 

OVERALL ARE YOU PLEASED WITH THE START OF THE RACE? “I am. The cars have shown good durability. We are right where we need to be on range and the drivers are doing a fantastic job so I’m real happy.”

Marc Goossens – No. 53 SRT Viper GTS-R

YOU WERE PASSING CARS FOR POSITION WHEN HALF THE TRACK WAS WET AND THE OTHER HALF WAS DRY. “I had a good run. Those conditions, that’s why I asked over the radio what are my lap times compared to somebody else because it feels like it’s that slow. They told me it was way faster than any GT car. It’s good to have that communication because then you know you can pace yourself at the speed that you’re doing but the conditions are changing so quickly. It rains a little bit over there and it is dry over there. I didn’t feel like I was taking any risks. I got into a good flow, into a good rhythm. The car is pretty decent. We just have to look after our tires because we are trying to triple-stint them right now. You know, we have to be cautious. If we get like a triple-stint that’s completely dry and no safety (caution), we may not make it on one set of tires for three stints. It’s something we’ll probably learn later on in the race. These guys prepped the car so well, it’s running right now like a Swiss clock. It’s not moving around on the track at all. Mechanically everything feels fine. So far I’m confident.”

HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO MAKE THAT DECISION TO CHANGE TIRES UNDER THESE CONDITIONS? “Well, there are a lot of things that come into play. I mean, I could see other people struggle as well. I didn’t feel like I was struggling as much at the time. Our car seems to like the conditions a little better than the others. I guess experience comes into play at that point but I felt pretty comfortable on those slicks all the time.”

DO THE CHANGING WEATHER CONDITIONS EQUALIZE EVERYTHING AMONG THE COMPETITORS? “I think a lot of it has to do with the setup that you run. We know we’re a little slower down the straightaways because of the drag that we have but then we make up elsewhere. Hopefully we can keep making the right decisions throughout the race and just take it from there.”

Kuno Wittmer – No. 93 Pennzoil Ultra SRT Viper GTS-R

“The car was working really well in the dry. It was really, really good. I think we nailed a good 24-hour setup. From here on we just have to keep pacing ourselves, a strong pace. A lot of guys are running pretty quick and I don’t think it’s necessary at this point to knock off under four-minute laps. It’s important to keep the wheels straight and the alignment well. That’s basically what I did in the first session – not take unnecessary risks, stay off the curbing and give a clean car off to Jonathan (Bomarito).”

WHEN SOME OF THE PAVEMENT IS DAMP AND OTHER PARTS ARE DRY, HOW DIFFICULT IS IT AS A DRIVER TO MAKE THE CALL ON WHICH TYPE OF TIRE TO RUN? “As a driver, you’re always trying to go faster, right? (smiles). It’s tough. Those are really tricky conditions. It was dry going into corner 1, all the way to four or five, then wet in the two chicanes, dry again and then wet again with a big downpour in Arnage. So it was very tricky to adapt.”

IT SEEMED LIKE THE START OF THE RACE MIRRORED THE PRACTICE SESSIONS WITH A LOT OF CARS SPINNING OFF THE COURSE. WERE YOU CLOSE TO ANY OF THOSE INCIDENTS? “I was behind one of the Ferraris and he seemed to be running a pretty good pace with me. I was catching him in the corners but down the straightaways, we were pretty good together. It actually helped the motor and fuel consumption; I was able to draft him pretty good. I think we may have gained some gallons there in drafting. As soon as the rain come, he went off the track, the guy in front of him went off and another car went off. It was kind of tricky to see everybody go off but again, they were the first ones through the rain.”

source: Denny Darnell, darnellcommunications.net

Zytek Nissan engine wins at Le Mans

Zytek Nissan Wins At Le Mans

Anglo-Japanese engines first and second in LMP2

Zytek Nissan engined cars have finished first and second in the LMP2 class of the 90th anniversary Le Mans 24-hours. The OAK Racing Morgan of Bertrand Baguette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman led home the sister car of Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier both powered by the Zytek developed and serviced VK45DE.

Zytek’s combination of fuel efficiency and highly effective traction control system played to the challenging conditions.

Today’s victory is the second at Le Mans for the 4.5-litre V8 engine, which has been developed and is serviced by Repton-based Zytek. In 2011 an identical power unit powered one of Zytek’s own Z11SN chassis to victory in the LMP2 class.

Zytek engines have now won at Le Mans on three occasions. The first success came in 2007 when the company’s 3.4-litre ZG348 V8 powered a Lola to victory. Second place that year fell to another Zytek engined car, this time in one of its own chassis.

All three of Zytek’s own Z11SN chassis proved rapid during the race with the Greaves car of Michael Krumm and GT Academy winners Jann Mardenborough and Lucas Ordonez finishing a competitive fourth. Eighth in class, following technical issues, was the Jota Sport Z11SN, which had earlier been running in third place. The second Greaves car finished eleventh in class following mechanical problems and an overnight ‘off’.

Morning at Le Mans and Zytek Nissan engines continue to lead

Top two LMP2 places held by the Zytek-developed VK45DE

Morning has come to Le Mans and Zytek Nissan-engined cars continue to lead the LMP2 class. The two OAK Racing Morgans have been battling throughout the night with a pair of Zytek’s own Z11SN chassis in pursuit.

A suspension problem has dropped the rapid Jota Sport Zytek down the field. However, Oliver Turvey is still recording fastest sector times. Following one of the many safety car periods that have been a feature of the race, the Greaves Zytek of Michael Krumm, Jann Mardenborough and Lucas Ordonez has now fallen back to fourth in class.

Heading the field is the Zytek Nissan-engined Morgan of Bertrand Baguette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman. This has now settled into the lead ahead of the sister car of Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier, which led earlier on in the race.

Six of the seven Zytek Nissan-engined cars that started this grueling race are still running.

Zytek Engined Cars Lead At Le Mans

First four positions in LMP2 after eight hours.

After eight hours Zytek Nissan engined cars were leading the LMP2 class of the Le Mans 24-hours. The OAK Racing Morgans and two of Zytek’s own Z11SN chassis occupied the first four places with a third of the race run.

Having moved up the field, the number 35 car of Bertrand Baguette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman led the class ahead of the Morgan of early race leaders Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson.

The two Zyteks, similar to the Z11SN that won at Le Mans in 2011, were close behind. Third was the Greaves Motorsport Zytek of Michael Krumm, Jann Mardenborough and Lucas Ordonez. Jota Sport drivers Oliver Turvey, Lucas Luhr and Simon Dolan have all shown great pace and were fourth.

As the race enters its ninth hour, the Zytek developed and serviced 4.5-litre Nissan VK45DE V8 engines are again showing that they are the class of the LMP2 field.

source: zytek.co.uk

 

Lotus Praga LMP2 Third Day at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

#31 Kevin Weeda (USA) – James Rossiter (GBR) – Christophe Bouchut (FRA)

#32 Thomas Holzer (DEU) – Dominik Kraihamer (AUT) – Jan Charouz (CZE)

Race

#31 retired

#32 retired

Lotus Praga LMP2 was at the start of the 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Christophe Bouchut was the start driver for car #31 and made up some position in the first laps. Thomas Holzer was at the wheel of #32 for the start and was on a good pace.

After about two hours into the race, Kevin Weeda in car #31 spun and had to stop the car at the track. During the night, Dominik Kraihamer (#32) did very good laps and set good and constant lap times after an Audi made contact with him. A failure on the bellhousing consequently caused damages on the fitted auxiliaries and forced the team to retire.

Lotus Praga LMP2 showed a good performance at its only second start at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and with the new Lotus Praga T128 LMP2. The team showed a great effort and was working hard during the whole week.

Christophe Bouchut, Race Driver #31:

“It’s a shame that we had to retire. I would have preferred to finish my 20th race at Le Mans, but that’s racing. We had a good pace during the week and the car has got a lot of potential. I would like to thank the team for their great job.”

Thomas Holzer, Race Driver #32:

“We had to retire this morning. Nevertheless, we had a good car and we were on a good pace. It’s a shame we didn’t cross the finish line. But we will keep on working hard and fight back at the next races.”

source: lotus-lmp2.com

 

2013 Le Mans 24 Hours – Final report

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED FOR THE ALPINE A450

- Thirty-five years after the famous 1978 victory, Alpine has made a successful return to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

- The fervour created by the Alpine A450 project at La Sarthe is testament to the enthusiasm and passion that the legendary Dieppe brand inspires.

- Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues finish ninth in the LMP2 class.

- The Signatech Alpine squad was awarded the 38th ‘Prix ESCRA’ for the best technical performance by a team during the Le Mans 24 Hours.

- Signatech Alpine’s next outing will be in Austria for the third round of the European Le Mans Series (July 19-20).

Alpine has successfully achieved its first objective for its racing return. Launched on March 8, this participation in the LMP2 class of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours has allowed the brand to truly appreciate the unwavering support of its fans.

On the track, Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues made it to the finish of the race. Delayed by a troubled first few hours that necessitated two unscheduled pit visits, the Signatech Alpine trio subsequently fought back from 51st place to take the chequered flag ninth in the LMP2 class and 15th overall.

The efficiency of the Signatech Alpine outfit was underscored when a jury awarded the 38th ‘Prix ESCRA’ (Ecole Supérieure du Commerce des Réseaux de l’Automobile) – for the best technical performance in the Le Mans 24 Hours – to the team’s mechanics Michaël Bimont, Pierre Gaches, Benoît Hamel and car chief Denis Motot.

“The first observation I must make is the calibre of our team,” affirms Signatech Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault. “The work that everybody has carried out in recent weeks – and particularly over the past 24 hours – has been outstanding. It was a tremendous source of pride to see our mechanics’ efforts recognised by a jury. That is significant, because they are very much a part of our future. We were also able to note just how much the sport’s fans want to see the fabulous Alpine story continue. The race was difficult mentally, but I think we demonstrated that we have a great deal of potential and the early frustrations were alleviated by our superb fight back. We needed to show everybody what we are capable of, but ultimately, victory is the only true satisfaction – and we will do everything within our power to reach that new goal as quickly as possible!”

Nelson Panciatici: “I think we showed that we are competitive – our lap times underlined that we were in the ballpark – so I am naturally disappointed with the end result. My final stint was the most difficult one, but by then, there was nothing really left to fight for. This team and the Alpine A450 clearly have potential – we’ve proved that here!”

Tristan Gommendy: “That was a particularly tough race. We made a few small mistakes, which caused us to drop out of the leading pack during the early phase of the race. We pushed flat-out to battle our way back, and it was towards the end of the race that I felt the most comfortable and set some strong lap times. My final stint was really enjoyable – I was in the car for almost three hours. Whatever the result, we will have very good memories of Alpine’s return to Le Mans this year!”

Pierre Ragues: “I think that was the most difficult of the seven races I have driven at Le Mans. I didn’t do a single stint without it raining! The track conditions were constantly changing. For Alpine’s return to Le Mans, the weather could certainly have been kinder to us! We knew we needed to get to the finish, especially after the problems we had at the beginning of the race. On my side, I gave it everything I could, but I am obviously a bit disappointed and frustrated because our pace showed that our podium ambitions were definitely achievable.”

2013 Le Mans 24 Hours – 9:00 – THE ALPINE A450 CONTINUES ITS FIGHT BACK

- The second half of the night-time period saw the three-strong Alpine A450 crew continue to regain ground in the overall classification.

- Tristan Gommendy, Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues now lie 12th in the LMP2 standings.

- There remain just six hours before the race finish. Almost four of the first 18 hours took place behind the safety car.

Maintaining their upward momentum from the first half of the night, the three-strong Alpine A450 crew are continuing their faultless climb up the order.

Tristan Gommendy, Pierre Ragues – who found himself having to contend with a shower when he took over at the wheel at around 04.00 – and Nelson Panciatici have now settled into a solid rhythm that is helping them to continuously regain ground.

Tristan Gommendy remarked: “The most important thing has been to not make any mistakes, and I adopted a solid rhythm to ensure I brought the car back safely in one piece. There was a lot of traffic around during the night, and it was difficult to keep the tyres and brakes at the right temperature. With the rain, there could still be some upsets ahead.”

Pierre Ragues added: “I began my stint when it was raining, with two-thirds of the circuit very wet and the rest almost dry. We had to carefully judge the right window to switch back over to slick tyres when the track began to fully dry. The conditions didn’t make things easy by any means, but I didn’t make any mistakes because I knew how important it was to make it through to sunrise.”

Nelson Panciatici concluded: “I think we had a good rhythm. It’s important to enjoy this race. Now, we will compare our pace in relation to our rivals. We need to stay on-track and demonstrate our full potential.”

2013 Le Mans 24 Hours – 4:00 – THE ALPINE A450 IS LAPPING AS QUICKLY AS THE FASTEST LMP2 RUNNERS

- Since the onset of darkness, the Alpine A450 has climbed 19 places in the overall standings at Le Mans.

- Pierre Ragues, Nelson Panciatici and Tristan Gommendy have been lapping extremely consistently without making any mistakes whatsoever.

- Rain has moved back in over the track, and there are still 11 hours of racing to come before the chequered flag at 3pm.

After a detailed analysis carried out by Signatech Alpine, it transpires that it was a mechanical failure that caused the misfortune suffered by Tristan Gommendy during the sixth hour.

The team worked superbly to repair the Alpine A450 in less than 19 minutes and, since then, the three drivers have produced some consistent stints that have allowed them to move up the order.

“We are at cruising speed,” notes Signatech Alpine’s Team Principal Philippe Sinault. “The aim now is to make sure we reach the finish, but the way the race goes is out of our hands now. We will need to keep a close eye on what our rivals are doing. There have been some long safety car interruptions and the difficulty is remaining focused during that time. We are running consistently and that should enable us to make it safely through the hours of darkness.”

2013 Le Mans 24 Hours – 22:00 ALPINE REVISES ITS OBJECTIVES

- Two enforced pit visits cost the Alpine A450 nine laps during the opening hours of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

- After seven hours of racing, the Signatech Alpine outfit sits 19th in the LMP2 standings, ten laps adrift of the class leaders.

- The Alpine A450 currently holds the best lap time amongst the Michelin-shod LMP2 class competitors.

- A new race now begins to regain ground in the overall classification.

After featuring inside the top three in the LMP2 class at the beginning of the race, the Signatech Alpine-run Alpine A450 lost time with an early pit visit enforced by a trip into the Mulsanne gravel trap. A subsequent delay to change the damaged alternator belt cost the crew almost 14 minutes.

Then, just after 8:00pm, a problem with the left-rear tyre saw the Alpine A450 making another unscheduled return to the pits. In less than 19 minutes, the Signatech Alpine squad worked miracles to change the diffuser, rear wing and a rear half-axle complete with transmission and brake calliper.

The #36 Alpine A450 currently occupies 19th position in the LMP2 class after the first seven hours of racing.

“The ‘off’ cost us almost five laps,” reflects Signatech Alpine team principal Philippe Sinault. “Then, we suffered a problem with the left-rear tyre, which Michelin say was not due to wear. The team worked brilliantly to repair the Alpine A450 in record time, and the race remains long with the night still to come. There will be plenty more to happen between now and the chequered flag!”

Nelson Panciatici said after his stint in the car: “I made a very good start to come out of the first corner in fifth position – and by the end of the first lap, I was up to third. Then, there was a very long safety car period. We subsequently lost time with a puncture, but we’ve had a good rhythm in the dry, lapping amongst the top three or four-fastest LMP2 cars.”

Tristan Gommendy added: “I set out on intermediate tyres whilst the track was still fairly dry. I tried not to lose too much time, but we elected to return to the pits earlier than planned to switch back over to slicks. I had a lot of oversteer, and each lap, it was raining in different places. I spun at Mulsanne and a stone from the gravel trap damaged the alternator belt. I had to return to the pits to get the car repaired, but after that, I settled into a very solid rhythm. Working with our engineer Olivier Bacchis, we stuck to our plan, but then on the second lap after my last refuelling stop and as I was travelling at well in excess of 200kph, the car suddenly snapped away from me just beyond Tertre Rouge. The first thing I knew was when the tyre lost air.”

Pit-stop record

15.34: Fuel and replacement right-rear tyre (puncture) – Panciatici remains on-board

16.40: Fuel – Panciatici stays in the car

17.09: Fuel and change over to intermediate tyres – Gommendy replaces Panciatici

17.35: Fuel and change to slick tyres – Gommendy stays in the car

18.14: Alternator change and switch to slick tyres – Gommendy remains on-board

19.14: Fuel – Gommendy stays in the car

19.58: Fuel – Gommendy remains on-board

20.10: Change of diffuser, wing and left-rear half-axle + Fuel + Slick tyres – Ragues takes over from Gommendy

21.16: Fuel – Ragues stays on-board

21.59: Fuel – Ragues remains at the wheel

source: renault.com

 

 

 

KCMG impresses during historic Le Mans 24 Hours debut

 

After setting a milestone in motorsport history by becoming the first Chinese outfit to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) continued to impress by delivering a promising performance during their maiden appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend.

 

Ultimately however the team’s blue and white #47 Morgan-Nissan LMP2 was forced to retire with a leaking fuel cell after 19 hours and 241 laps of the world-famous French endurance classic.

 

The team, represented by drivers Alexandre Imperatori, Ho-Pin Tung and Matthew Howson, qualified a superb sixth in class before making an assured start to the 24 Hours on Saturday despite the tricky, changeable weather conditions and multiple safety car periods.

 

Unfortunately the first of these cautions was for an incident involving Danish GTE Am driver Allan Simonsen, who sadly succumbed to his injuries soon after. The team wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Allan’s family and Aston Martin Racing for whom he competed.

 

The opening two hours saw Imperatori steadily climb the LMP2 leaderboard and even headed the class for several laps before a brake balance problem dropped the car several places down the field. He was eventually replaced by Tung, who displayed his ability in the drying conditions by regaining the team’s previous position inside the top six. Despite the track being extremely slippery, Howson too was able to demonstrate his talent by utilising a fantastic tyre strategy as well as fuel management during his opening stint.

 

KCMG remained in the hunt as the race passed its half distance mark with first Imperatori and then Tung turning lap times representative of the more experienced frontrunners’ pace. Howson too had been fast before a spin in the tricky conditions and a subsequent vibration stymied his progress.

 

Although the team was able to fix the issue once the car had been handed over to Imperatori, they were left with no choice but to retire just before lunchtime on Sunday as a result of the fuel leak that later developed.

 

Alexandre Imperatori, KCMG driver: “It was such a shame that we weren’t able to finish the race and I feel especially bad for the crew back in the garage as the entire team put a massive amount of effort into this event. The team was able to fix everything and got us back out there in the game before we had no choice but to retire due to the broken fuel cell. It just wasn’t safe to continue once it began to leak. But again, the entire team along with Ho-Pin, Matt and myself made a tremendous effort. It was a really good race and an exceptional experience. I want to say thank you to Paul Ip for putting this together. We have done China very proud today as we lead the race at one point and our goal now is to come back next year and win. I also want to express my deepest condolences to the family of Allan Simonsen who died yesterday. It was unfortunate and shocking news, especially as we raced with him last year in Ordos. It was a sad day for motorsport and I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to all of his loved ones.”

 

Ho-Pin Tung, KCMG driver: “Obviously it was disappointing that we didn’t manage to finish the race but overall I think we can be very proud as a team. It’s been quite a feat to put this programme together two months before its Le Mans debut, and to be competitive is a great achievement for all of us. I think if there had not been issues with the car we definitely would have been at the front. This is a factor of endurance racing and to have some minor technical issues that the team could do nothing about is just bad luck. Of course I am disappointed but also very proud to be here in Le Mans and it has been a great honour to be part of KCMG’s adventure. Also, I extend my sincere condolences to all the family, relatives and friends of Allan Simonsen. I’ve known Allan since 2001 and we’ve always kept in touch. I feel truly saddened as we spent some time together last year. It’s extremely shocking and his death has certainly overshadowed the weekend.”

 

Matthew Howson, KCMG driver: “Overall I think it’s been a great debut for the entire team. We were extremely competitive from the start at the Test Day last week right through until the race itself. The whole team really hasn’t put a foot wrong and have exerted a tremendous effort throughout the entire week. Alex, Ho-Pin and I only made one or two mistakes and if we had not encountered any technical issues with the car could have perhaps fought for the final step on the podium. It’s been a great honour to be part of the first Chinese team ever to compete at Le Mans, and being in podium contention amongst such a strong LMP2 field is a massive tribute to everybody involved.”

 

Paul Ip, KCMG Team Owner: “We were all hoping to finish the race and with the progress that we’ve shown throughout the weekend had been in the running for a top position too. The entire team and I were expecting a different result but, nonetheless, we had a good race despite the technical issue encountered that forced us to retire early. I am proud of what we have accomplished here in Le Mans and I want to commend Alex, Ho-Pin, Matt and the entire team for doing an amazing job. It was an honour to represent China here in Le Mans and I am looking forward to returning next year. Thank you to everyone who supported us in our journey to the Le Mans 24 Hours! It has been a great adventure for all of us.”

KCMG Le Mans 24 Hours Midnight Update

KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) has made a solid start to its Le Mans 24 Hours debut and continues to run strongly as Saturday turns to Sunday at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

After qualifying an impressive sixth on Thursday Alexandre Imperatori took the start at 15.00 local time aboard the #47 Morgan-Nissan LMP2 and immediately set about climbing the leaderboard despite the changeable weather conditions and several safety car periods.

The first of these caution periods, after just 10 minutes, was for an incident involving Danish GTE Am driver Allan Simonsen who sadly succumbed to his injuries soon after. The team wishes to extend its sincere condolences to Allan’s family.

After being under safety car conditions for more than an hour, the race restarted with Imperatori keen to make progress and it wasn’t long before the Swiss ace had assumed the LMP2 class lead, only for a technical issue to drop the car down the field.

Ho-Pin Tung demonstrated his prowess in the drying conditions to build on Imperatori’s subsequent fightback, and Matthew Howson continued that good work to haul the car onto the fringes of the top 10.

Imperatori is now back behind the wheel as the team bids to make further inroads during the early hours of the morning.

Ho-Pin Tung, KCMG driver: “It’s a shame that we had some minor issues with the car which caused three unscheduled stops, but apart from that it’s good to see that we have great pace.”.

source: KCMG Press Office

 

Larbre Competition’s Le Mans 24 Hours: Hour 17 Update

Larbre Competition’s pair of Corvette C6.Rs experienced differing fortunes as darkness gave way to light at Le Mans this morning.

The #50 car has seldom had the pace of its GTE Am class rivals at this year’s event following a late change to the Balance of Performance regulations, but continued to lap with metronomic precision through the night and now sits fifth after being unlucky with the timing of several safety car periods. Ricky Taylor is currently at the wheel.

Most importantly however it runs third of the cars contesting this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, with regular drivers Patrick Bornhauser and Julien Canal eyeing a solid result at this double points-paying round.

The #70 sister machine also remains in the race, albeit 36 laps behind their team-mates, after Cooper MacNeil was tagged into a spin by a prototype. A resulting clutch problem saw the car spend a long time in the pits and now lies 11th with Cooper back aboard following stints from Philippe Dumas and Manu Rodrigues.

Jack Leconte, Team Manager: “We were unlucky during the night due to each of the three safety car periods beginning just a lap after we had pitted for fuel, which lost us a lap on each occasion. This, added to our lack of top speed along the straights – which has destroyed our race – has become frustrating.

“Since the shower at the end of the night the drivers have found a good rhythm, especially Ricky Taylor, and we’ve begun to climb back up the order. In the last four hours the #50 car has gained five places, which is good news for the championship as we’re third of the WEC entries. As for #70, we lost a lot of time repairing the clutch before Philippe had a moment.

“Of course we will continue fighting until the chequered flag.”

Le Mans 24 Hours: Hour 8 Update

With a third of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours complete, Larbre Competition has made steady progress through the GTE Am class field to lie sixth and ninth with its pair of Corvette C6.Rs.

However, the final outcome will be overshadowed by the death of fellow Aston Martin GTE Am driver Allan Simonsen who succumbed to injuries resulting from an accident just 10 minutes into this year’s race. Larbre Competition send their sincere condolences to Allan’s family at this difficult time.

Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Ricky Taylor have overcome the fluctuating weather conditions to climb half a dozen positions and occupy sixth aboard the French team’s #50 entry, while Manu Rodrigues, Philippe Dumas and Cooper MacNeil are up two spots after qualifying 11th.

Patrick Bornhauser, #50 Corvette C6.R: “I took over after 60 minutes of racing in difficult conditions. It was raining at certain points around the circuit and dry at others, and I was on slick tyres! So I had to be very focused in order to keep the car on the track.”

Julien Canal, #50 Corvette C6.R: “That was a very good stint and I was feeling fine, but we lack straight-line speed. This is a major frustration as the car is great, better than last year in fact.”

Manu Rodrigues, #70 Corvette C6.R: “I did a double stint and it was a tiring one as the track is tricky. You negotiate one corner that’s dry and the following lap it’s wet. You have no reference points.”

Philippe Dumas, #70 Corvette C6.R: “I had a good stint, the car feels well balanced, I am quick in these conditions and I can triple stint easily enough.”

Cooper MacNeil, #70 Corvette C6.R: “I was focused on running a good pace, trying to do consistent lap times. That was also my first time out on fresh Michelins on a dry track where I could put more than one timed lap together. The Corvette is a lot of fun to drive around this circuit! I am happy with my progress so far today. We need to be there at the end.”

source: Larbre Competition Press Office

 

 

 

PIERRE RAGUES AND SIGNATECH-ALPINE CONCLUDE EPIC COMEBACK AFTER TRICKY LE MANS 24 HOURS

 

Pierre Ragues and the Signatech-Alpine LMP2 squad have completed the gruelling Le Mans 24 Hours race in 15th position overall and ninth in the LMP2 category after a resounding comeback after a difficult first quarter of the race left them languishing in 51st place.

 

It has been one of the most difficult Le Mans races in recent years with persistently inclement weather conditions causing changeable and challenging track conditions. Throughout the 24 hours, an unusually high number of safety car periods were in force, as a result of the conditions, which made for a fragmented race for all teams.

 

The first six hours of the race saw a series of incidents involving the Signatech-Alpine crew with a slow puncture caused by debris, a trip through the gravel, which required repairs in the pits and a sizeable off for Tristan Gommendy, the cause for which is still to be determined. All in all, though, the time delays left the team down the order and in need of a fightback.

 

The team mechanics performed exceptionally to minimise the disruption to the race and managed to carry out significant repairs to the A450 race car in an incredibly short time. So much so, that race organisers gave the team the best technical assistance award at the end of the race.

 

The team’s impressive comeback was in spite of those notable safety car periods and the weather with all three drivers – Ragues, Panciatici and Gommendy completing competitive triple stints. As the morning hours kicked in, the team were closing in on the top 20, something that they achieved by the chequered flag thanks to some dogged, determined performances by the complete team.

 

The final stages of the race became chaotic as rainstorms made for extremely hazardous driving conditions, with a lot of drivers getting caught out in the treacherous weather. The conditions required yet another safety car period but Pierre and the Signatech-Alpine team kept their cool under pressure to bring the car home into a solid race finish.

 

Unfortunately, the event was marred by the death of driver Allan Simonsen in the opening laps of the race, and Pierre Ragues extends his condolences to the driver’s family and friends.

 

Pierre Ragues said: “The Le Mans 24 Hours is always a tough race, always unpredictable and always with its issues. I think that this year’s event is one of the hardest I have been involved in, with challenging conditions and lots of incidents. The team has performed incredibly this week but especially in the past 24 hours to allow us to make up the places we lost in the first quarter of the race. They have been quite rightly awarded with a commendation for their technical work, which is thoroughly deserved. We were right down the order by the time I went out for my first stint in the evening but we were able to get into a rhythm – when there were not safety cars out on track – and to get competitive performance out of the Signatech-Alpine A450 and our Michelin tyres. The conditions were tough for everyone – especially in the final hour when the rain came down hard – but we fought valiantly to come from 51st to 15th at the chequered flag and in the top ten of the very competitive LMP2 category. Thanks again to the team and to my supporters Group Auto for their efforts and backing. It has been a long event with some sad news as well. Finally, I would like to pass my condolences to the family of Allan Simonsen.”

PIERRE RAGUES AND SIGNATECH-ALPINE MAKE UP SUBSTANTIAL GROUND OVERNIGHT

Pierre Ragues and the popular Signatech-Alpine team have made up a significant number of places during the night-time period of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Having handed over the Signatech-Alpine A450 to Nelson Panciatici late last night in 40th place overall, all three drivers, Panciatici, Pierre Ragues and Tristan Gommendy have been in action in the night to bring the A450 race car up into the top 25 overall and 12th in class.

The team had endured a torrid start to the race on Saturday with a number of issues contributing to its position down the order, but some determined driving in difficult conditions overnight has helped the team recover some of the lost places.

A number of lengthy safety car periods have kept the race under control in the night. An on-track collision brought a seventh safety car period out at 3am while Gommendy was at the wheel of the A450. This safety car was extended as rain made conditions tricky with Pierre Ragues resuming at 4am with full wet weather tyres. In the difficult conditions, Pierre had a spin early on in his triple stint but came back to complete his run into the early daylight hours, switching from wets to slicks as the track dried out.

Pierre handed over to Nelson Panciatici shortly before 7am as the team carries on in 24th overall.

Pierre said: “We are still doing all we can to regain the ground and positions we lost in the first part of the race yesterday. The night-time session was controlled for some time as a result of the long safety car period but we have been able to use the racing conditions to make headway even if we are still a long way off where we know we should be competing. Still, there are plenty more hours to run of this race and we know just how difficult these last hours can be, so we will continue to work hard. The Signatech-Alpine mechanics have been fantastic, as always.” 

PIERRE RAGUES ENJOYS COMPETITIVE TRIPLE STINT AS LE MANS 24 HOURS MOVES INTO THE NIGHT

Pierre Ragues has completed his first triple stint for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours, taking to the cockpit of the Signatech-Alpine A450 as the clock approached six hours.

The Frenchman, who is taking part in his seventh Le Mans this weekend, set a competitive pace in the Michelin-shod machine despite the difficult driving conditions with light rain falling intermittently throughout the evening.

Pierre completed a trouble-free triple stint before handing over control to Nelson Panciatici as the race entered the night-time period. A further safety car period was deployed just before midnight as the Signatech-Alpine team continued their recovery following a challenging opening quarter of the race.

As of 00:30, Panciatici had just left the garage for his third stint with the team in 37th place overall and 16th in LMP2 but making up ground as they settle into a good race rhythm.

Pierre said: “It was good to get out on track this evening and to start my contribution to the team’s race. It has been a tough start but I had a competitive triple stint and felt good even if the track conditions were difficult to master. The occasional rain conditions means that the circuit is unpredictable in places and we have had some safety car periods to deal with as well. Overall, the position we are in does not reflect our pace but I am confident that, as a team, during the night-time period, we will make more headway and gain some positions. We have a long way still to go.”

PIERRE RAGUES AND SIGNATECH-ALPINE AIM FOR IMPROVEMENTS AFTER DRAMATIC START TO LE MANS 24H

Pierre Ragues has just taken to the La Sarthe circuit for his first stints at the wheel of the Signatech-Alpine A450 after a dramatic start to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Pierre’s team-mate Nelson Panciatici got off to a fantastic start, taking the A450 into the top five of the LMP2 category in the opening lap. An unfortunate safety car period soon followed after a tragic accident on the second lap, which required the safety car to remain out for much of the final hour.

Panciatici suffered a rear tyre puncture caused by debris on the track which necessitated a trip back to the pits for a tyre change. He lost one third of a lap in the process to end up in 32nd place overall after 1h15. The Frenchman embarked on a fight-back and made his way up to 13th in LMP2 by the two hour mark when he pitted for fuel.

Having taken the Signature-Alpine A450 into the top ten in LMP2, he handed over to Tristan Gommendy who resumed on intermediate tyres in a bid to battle the tricky track conditions. It was a gamble that didn’t quite pay off so he switched back to slicks and was 12th in category after three hours. Unfortunately, he made a trip through the gravel which required an unscheduled trip to the pits for checks after gravel became lodged in the alternator belt. The mechanics worked wonders to get the car back out quickly but the #36 car was down in 49th place.

A further incident five hours into the race after Tertre Rouge, the cause for which the team will have to investigate, damaged the rear end of the #36 car, which saw Gommendy make a slow trip back to the pits. The Signatech-Alpine crew worked incredibly fast to change the rear end of car and the rear left suspension to minimise the time lost with just 15 minutes in the garage for repairs. Pierre Ragues is now on track, looking to begin a tough fight back up the order but with three-quarters of the race left to run.

Pierre Ragues said: “It has been a really hard start to the 24 Hours with some very difficult conditions and terrible news. From our team performance point of view, we have had a few issues that have required unscheduled time in the pits for repairs. The mechanics have performed exceptionally this evening to minimise our time delay. We are unfortunately down the classification but we have 18 hours left to fight back and we never give up – especially at Le Mans and when we are representing the Signatech-Alpine reputation.”

For more information about Pierre Ragues, please visit www.pierreragues.com or www.quadrasports.com

Pierre Ragues is backed by Group Auto www.groupautointernational.com

source: quadrasports.com

 

FRANCK MAILLEUX AND MORAND RACING CHARGE TO SIXTH IN LMP2 CATEGORY AFTER TOUGH LE MANS 24 HOURS

French racer Franck Mailleux has made a strong finish to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours as the Morand Racing team concluded the gruelling event in a fighting sixth place in class and 12th place overall.

The team made a cracking start to the race and were up into the top three in LMP2 by the second lap but unfortunately the changeable weather conditions, which played such a key role in the development of the race, caused Franck to spin at Tertre Rouge on the second lap and dropped him down into 21st place overall.

A safety car period followed on that second lap after an accident which sadly resulted in the death of driver Allan Simonsen. Under that extended safety car period, Franck pitted to hand over to Natacha Gachnang with the team resuming the race down in 43rd place and in need of a fight back.

The remainder of the 24 hour race was characterised by ever-evolving, changing and unpredictable weather conditions with occasional rain which was particularly heavy in the final hour of the race. There were also an unusually high number of safety car periods because of the tough conditions which created a staggered and interrupted race. This prevented teams from getting into a consistent rhythm.

Morand Racing, thanks to the determined performances of Mailleux, Gachnang and Olivier Lombard, managed to battle hard to continually improve their position right up to the chequered flag.

Triple stints, even if disrupted by numerous safety car conditions, saw the team make up ground, thanks to the performance of the Morand Racing Morgan Judd LMP2 and the individual strengths of the three drivers. From 43rd in the first hour of the race to 12th by the chequered flag – 6th in LMP2 – was quite an achievement. The only difficulty was a fuel pressure problem in the morning which was fixed efficiently and professionally by the mechanics by changing the engine fuel filter to prevent any loss of position.

Franck said: “What a tough race for everyone. The conditions were hard and it was difficult to get into a consistent rhythm because of the changing weather and the number of safety car periods. After a difficult first hour which dropped us down the classification, we fought back hard with the three drivers – Natacha, Olivier and myself – all performing strong triple stints and getting everything we could out of the car and the Dunlop tyres. I was particularly pleased with my own performance in my final triple stint, which was a good pace. The weather was very unpredictable and really caused confusion in the final hour of the race; the heavy rain caught out a lot of people so it was a testament to our approach that we were able to keep the car going and make it to the end in 12th place overall. In the circumstances, that performance was impressive even if the end result is disappointing. I’d like to thank the Morand Racing team and my team-mates for their efforts this week. It’s been hard work but to get the car to the end of the Le Mans 24 Hours is always an achievement in itself. Finally, I would like to say a word of condolence to the family of Allan Simonsen; sad and truly terrible news for everyone involved in our sport.”

FRANCK MAILLEUX TACKLES INTERRUPTED NIGHT-TIME RUNNING TO CONTINUE TOP 15 PACE

It has been a disjointed night for most drivers and teams at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as an extended seventh safety car period and wet weather conditions have put concentration levels at a premium.

Franck Mailleux had a trouble-free night-time run in the Morgan Judd LMP2 car as he took over from team-mate Olivier Lombard under the safety car conditions at around the halfway mark of the race.

With the safety car period being extended due to wet conditions at shortly before 4am, Franck’s pace was controlled. The change of weather conditions meant that as the rain started, Franck pitted under the safety car to change onto intermediate tyres before coming back onto slicks as the track dried up once more.

The team was able to maintain its position in 15th and seventh in category as Franck handed over to Natacha Gachnang as the race entered into the early daylight hours of Sunday morning.

Franck said: “We have had a generally trouble-free night, although the safety car periods have dictated the pace of the race for much of the overnight period. There have been a high number of safety cars which have made the race quite fragmented but in the circumstances, it has been sensible. I had a good run overnight taking from Olivier at 3am and handing over the reins to Natacha as the daylight was resuming. We have been able to keep our place in the top 15 and seventh in LMP2 with one-third of the race still left to run. Lots more can happen as the race comes to its conclusion so we keep pushing as a team in the hope of making up some places.”

 

FRANCK MAILLEUX AND MORAND RACING HEAD INTO THE NIGHT GAINING GROUND IN TOP 15

Franck Mailleux and the Morand Racing team have spent Saturday evening recovering ground after losing out in the opening hours of this weekend’s 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Franck returned to the cockpit of the Morand Racing Morgan Judd LMP2, equipped with Dunlop tyres, at the six hour mark and embarked on a successful triple stint to extend the improvements made by the team throughout the evening.

Franck demonstrated competitive pace in his triple stint and handed over to Natacha Gachnang as the night-time conditions descended on the 13.6km La Sarthe circuit. With two thirds of the 24 hours still left to race, there is all to play for as Franck and the team look to catch the LMP2 cars ahead of them on the classification. As of 00:30, the team was 15th overall and eighth in LMP2.

Franck said: “After a tough start, we have settled into a nice rhythm now with all three drivers, myself, Natacha and Olivier all enjoying positive triple stints. We have had a couple of safety car periods so far, most recently at the turn of midnight, but I am pleased with the pace of our car in these difficult conditions and we are doing all we can to recover the places lost early on. The night-time period is always the toughest but the team is working well and we will continue to push hard.

FRANCK MAILLEUX AND MORAND RACING FIGHTING HARD AS LE MANS REACHES QUARTER DISTANCE

Franck Mailleux and the Morand Racing team are battling back up through the field after difficult, drizzly weather conditions caused the Frenchman to spin on the second lap, dropping the Morgan Judd down the LMP2 order. Franck returned to action at 21:00 picking up from where his team-mates Natacha Gachnang and Olivier Lombard left off.

Conditions in the early stages did not necessitate wet weather tyres but the slippery track surface caught Franck out on the opening lap following a good start to the race. He rejoined the race in 21st overall and 12th in LMP2.

A serious incident on the second lap, which ended with the terribly sad news of the death of the driver involved, brought out the safety car for much of the first hour. Franck was running ninth in class, and reporting flat spots on his tyres as a result of the spin.

At the one hour mark, Franck handed over the reins of the Morgan Judd LMP2 to Natacha Gachnang who resumed the race down in 43rd overall. She made up ground quickly with a solid triple stint that saw her run until after the 3h30 point, when she handed over to Olivier Lombard, who also had a positive triple stint.

The race strategy to triple stint has allowed the team to climb into 19th overall after six hours and in the top ten in LMP2 as they attempt to claw back the lost positions. As the night time conditions set in, the team has lots of work to do but plenty of optimism.

Franck commented: “The conditions were not easy, as they haven’t been all week, with rain in places but not others making it hard to build consistency and rhythm. The slippery track caught me out on the second lap and I lost a lot of places when I spun at Tertre Rouge. There was nothing I could do in the conditions, which were extremely difficult to judge. We have fought back since that early setback but it’s going to require us to dig deep and keep focussed. Natacha and Olivier had a good triple stint and we are in the top 20, so we are making progress but there is a long way still to go.”

For more information about Franck Mailleux, please visit www.franckmailleux.com or www.quadrasports.com

source: quadrasports.com

Media Release: 23rd June 2013

 

Third In Class For Conway At 24 Heures Du Mans

  • Race: 3rd in class (9th overall)
  • Qualifying: 2nd in class (10th overall)

Mike Conway making his debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours race this weekend, finished on the podium in the LMP2 category.

Driving the No. 26 G-Drive Racing ORECA Nissan car, Conway and his teammates John Martin and Roman Rusinov, started the race on the front row in their category. The team got off to a good start but unfortunately as night fell, they were forced to make an emergency stop when two light panels needed repairing. They returned to the race back in 10th, but knowing that they had a fast car, were able to work their way back up the grid, finding third place and their first podium finish of the season.

“That was a great experience,” said Conway. “It’s a real shame that we had those issues at the beginning of the race because we definitely had a shot for the win, we certainly had the quickest car.“

Commenting on the issues, he went on to say “We had two light panels go during the night, which cost us about 10-12 minutes extra. From there we pushed really hard till the end and worked our way up from 10th all the way to 3rd where we remained for the rest of the race. In the end I suppose it was a really good result. I definitely learned a lot with every stint I did. The night runs were pretty crazy and its just a case of getting used to that and the changeable conditions all the time, but it’s been a pretty good weekend overall.”

This podium finish for Conway adds to what’s already been a successful career and his impressive skill that he has in various racing series. Before this weekend, Conway had just returned from the US competing in an IndyCar double header in Detroit. Not only did Conway start on pole for one race and the front row for another, he was the only driver to finish both races on the podium, with one being a victory.

The weekend at Le Mans however has been overshadowed by the fatality of Aston Martin driver, Allan Simonsen and our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Round 5 of the World Endurance Championships will continue on the 1st September, where Conway and his team will head to Sao Paulo, Brazil

source: mikeconway.co.uk



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