Jun 11

Le Mans 24 hours: Porsche sweeps front of Le Mans grid

Thursday updates

2015-06-14Although the weather forecast called for scattered thunderstorms, the race track remained dry throughout both Qualifying Practice sessions tonight at Le Mans.

Flagworld photo album

Nevertheless, the cars claiming pole positions yesterday during the first Qualifying Practice session kept their spots.

Neel Jani, driving the No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid, secured the pole position yesterday with a lap in 3:16.887, the best lap time ever of an LM P1 car and the best lap time since both chicanes have been added in the Mulsanne Straight.

The Swiss driver and his teammates Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb will start from pole position on Saturday, followed by both sister cars, No. 17 (Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber) and No. 19 (Nico Hülkenberg, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber), resulting in a Porsche sweep of the first three spots on the grid of the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Following the three Porsches, the three Audis, but not in the same order as yesterday as the three-time Le Mans winners (Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer) in the No. 7 R18 e-tron quattro were able to squeeze past the sister car No. 9 of Marco Bonanomi, René Rast and Filipe Albuquerque. The No. 8 Audi, driven by 2013 Le Mans winner Loïc Duval, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi, was the fastest of the four rings brand.

The complete article here on 24h-lemans.com

source: 24h-lemans.com


Porsche 919 Hybrids to start one, two and three

On Saturday at 3pm the Porsche Team will start the 83rd Le Mans 24-Hours from one, two and three on the grid. This is the 17th pole position for Porsche in Le Mans, and prior to this the most recent one dates back to 1997. Furthermore it is the ninth time since 1968 that three Porsche race cars have locked out the front of the grid for the Le Mans 24-Hours with a one-two-three. This happened last in 1988.

Switzerland’s Neel Jani did his fastest lap time during the first qualifying session on Wednesday night and, despite dry conditions in both qualifying sessions on Thursday, it remained unbeaten. With his lap of 3:16.887 minutes, he has set a new qualifying record for the current track length of 13.629 kilometres by beating Peugeot’s pole position time from 2008 (3:18.513 min).

Timo Bernhard (GER) was second fastest on Wednesday and his time of 3:17.767 minutes was also good enough to beat the old record. In the third Porsche LMP1 Nick Tandy (GBR) improved his lap time in Q2 on Thursday to 3:18.862 minutes and claimed P3.

Jani shares the black number 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid with Romain Dumas (FR) and Marc Lieb (GER). Bernhard partners Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) in the red number 17 car. Tandy’s team mates in the white number 19 prototype are Earl Bamber (NZ) and Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg (GER’).

Starting drivers on Saturday will be Timo Bernhard, Neel Jani and Nico Hülkenberg.

The three Porsche 919 Hybrids are the most innovative in the 56 car field and carry future technology for Porsche’s road going sports cars. The revolutionary technical regulations’ focus on efficiency for class 1 Le Mans prototypes (LMP1) attracted Porsche in 2014 to return to top level motorsport. The combination of a two-litre, V4 turbo charged and petrol fuelled engine with two energy recovery systems (brake energy and exhaust energy) produces a power system of around 1000 HP.

source: Mark Webber, markwebber.com


KCMG claim commanding LMP2 pole at Le Mans
KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) claimed its and the new-for-2015 ORECA 05–Nissan coupe’s maiden Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 pole position this evening (June 11) after a dominant and record-breaking two days at Circuit de la Sarthe.
The Hong Kong-based squad put on an impressive performance during Wednesday and Thursday’s sessions in the hands of Matt Howson, Nicolas Lapierre and Richard Bradley. The latter’s super-quick lap, set at the start of the opening two-hour segment on Wednesday, ultimately proved enough to secure KCMG’s first pole in its third outing at the world-famous twice-round-the-clock event.
After topping Wednesday’s rain-hit practice session, Britain’s Bradley got behind the wheel of the #47 machine at nightfall in perfect conditions, recording a pole-setting time of 3m38.032s. Indeed, KCMG not only went 0.926s quicker than its nearest rival, the #41 Greaves Motorsport Gibson, but also all three works LMP1-entered Nissans.
Thursday’s incident-affected qualifying runs saw the Dunlop-shod ORECA suffer an early damper issue, but couldn’t hinder the team’s progress as they remained the benchmark throughout both sessions. The trio’s impressive performance also leapfrogs them into joint-second in the overall championship standings, given that one point is awarded to the pole-sitting car in each class.
With double points now up for grabs at round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship, starting at the front of the competitive LMP2 grid gives KCMG the perfect opportunity to make some serious headway in the category’s overall Teams’ championship.
Richard Bradley: “First thing’s first, I’d like to dedicate this pole to my uncle Jimmy who unfortunately passed away this morning in San Francisco. So, Jimmy, this is for you. Thank you for being such a great uncle, and kudos to my mum for staying here and being so strong.
“What can I say? The first pole for the ORECA 05 is at Le Mans! It’s an incredible feeling, the car was great and now we’re looking for the big one. Overall, a great start; couldn’t be better.”
Matt Howson: “We’re absolutely thrilled with pole position, the first for the ORECA 05, and what a place to do it! I think it’s a real reflection of the whole team’s effort to develop the car in quite a short period of time. We’re happy to have controlled qualifying, and hope we can do the same in the race. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone at KCMG and am really looking forward to Saturday.”
Nicolas Lapierre: “Obviously it’s been a very good day for the team, which has done a fantastic job to consistently improve the car over the course of and since Test Day. Despite encountering a few issues during this week’s practice and qualifying sessions we’re still very happy to have a fast car at our disposal. Richard and Matt have performed very well and the car seems competitive in all conditions, which is always important at Le Mans. We’ll savour today and look forward to Saturday.”
Paul Ip, KCMG Managing Director: “It’s been a record-breaking day for us, what with KCMG giving the ORECA 05 its first pole position at Le Mans and also becoming the first Hong Kong team to achieve the feat in any class here. All three drivers have done a fantastic job, but especially Richard whose flying lap put the car on pole. But we’re well aware that there’s still a lot of work to do before Saturday and then during the race itself. This is only the start but hopefully, if we do our best, the team can bring the big one home on Sunday!”
Friday sees the team, Richard, Matt and Nicolas make an appearance at the Drivers’ Parade in Le Mans town centre, while the race itself gets underway on Saturday 13 June at 15:00 local time.
To find out more about the 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit www.24h-lemans.com.

source: kcmg.com.hk


The Alpine A450b will begin the race from fifth in-class

In building upon its performance from the previous day, Signatech-Alpine will line up fifth on the starting grid amongst the LMP2 class contenders for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Paul-Loup Chatin posted the fastest lap time behind the wheel of the team’s Alpine A450b in 3m39.699s.
Chatin, Vincent Capillaire and Nelson Panciatici will compete in the 83rd edition of the legendary round-the-clock race, due to get underway at 3pm on Saturday, June 13.

With all eyes fixed on the sky, there was concern throughout the paddock that the second day’s qualifying would be disrupted by rain, but the track remained dry right the way to the end, with the air temperature still as high as 23°C at midnight.

At 7pm, the Alpine A450b took to the iconic circuit for the second qualifying session and, after completing 20 laps – more than any of its LMP2 rivals, Signatech-Alpine wound up with the third-fastest time in-class.

In the following night-time session, the objective was to secure a strong starting position for the race. Paul-Loup Chatin benefitted from a clear lap to lower his own benchmark from the previous day to 3m39.699s. Nelson Panciatici subsequently posted a 3m39.936s effort before being slowed by yellow flags.

Vincent Capillaire concluded the running, as the team’s Alpine A450b placed fifth-quickest overall in LMP2.

The next on-track action will be at 9am on Saturday with the pre-race warm-up, ahead of the start of the 83rd edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours at 3pm.

Philippe Sinault, Signatech-Alpine Team Manager: “We are pleased with our performance during this second day of qualifying. We took advantage of the conditions to work on the durability of the tyres, with very encouraging results. Nelson and Paul-Loup both ably demonstrated their pace, and although Vincent’s efforts were interrupted by red flags and slow zones, I’m sure his experience will enable him to hit the ground running when the race comes around. Fifth represents a very solid position from which to start and leaves us in positive mood, and the fact that our drivers are all so evenly-matched and work so well together cannot be underestimated over the course of a race like this.”

Paul-Loup Chatin: “I felt very comfortable in the Alpine A450b. The car is well-balanced and competitive, the outcome of qualifying is positive and I’m satisfied with my own performance. Our opposition has clearly taken a step forward – but so have we!”

Nelson Panciatici: “I was only able to get in one good lap. We had a little more left to come performance-wise, but fifth place is nonetheless promising. The car felt excellent and I was very confident in the dry conditions. We can be very happy with the work we have done today.”

Vincent Capillaire: “My ambition was for us to qualify inside the top five in-class – and that is exactly what we have done! We were able to carry out some more valuable preparation ahead of the race. I had to contend with a series of red flags and slow zones which was a bit frustrating, but that’s all part-and-parcel of the challenge of Le Mans. Now it’s up to us to ensure we perform well all the way through the race, because what really matters is our position come 3pm on Sunday!”

Final Qualifying Classification – LMP2
1 KCMG N°47 (Howson / Lapierre / Bradley) 3m38.032s
2 G-Drive Racing N°26 (Rusinov / Canal / Bird) +0.907s
3 Greaves Motorsport N°41 (Hirsch / Lancaster / Paletou) +0.926s
4 Jota Sport N°38 (Dolan / Evans / Turvey) +0.972s
5 Signatech-Alpine N°36 (Panciatici / Chatin / Capillaire) +1.667s
6 Thiriet by TDS Racing N°46 (Thiriet / Gommendy / Badey) +1.773s
7 OAK Racing N°34 (Cumming / Vanthoor / Estre) +2.026s
19 competitors

Friday, June 12, 17:30 – 19:30 – Drivers’ Parade
Saturday, June 13, 09:00 – 09:45 – Warm-up
Saturday, June 13, 15:00 – Start of the Le Mans 24 Hours

source: renault.com


Race focus for Pierre Ragues on final day of Le Mans wualifying

The final qualifying practice sessions for this weekend’s 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans took place today with Pierre Ragues using the opportunity to finesse his race set-up.

Ragues, along with his TEAM SARD Morand colleagues – and team-mates Oliver Webb and Zoel Amberg, will start Saturday’s race from 24th on the grid – and in the top ten in the LMP2 class – after an interrupted day of qualifying on Thursday.

The first session of the day, the second qualifying practice overall, was hampered by a red flag which prevented the team from getting any running in the #43 Morgan Evo Sard. The team had worked hard to prepare the car for a long run late in the session but the untimely red flag meant a change of strategy was required.

The session was cut short with race organisers opting to add thirty minutes onto the final session, allowing the team to make the most of 2.5hrs of dry track time – a rare situation after the rain-affected test and free practice sessions. All three drivers got time in the cockpit of the car, with the team looking to prioritise race set-up over qualifying laps.

The closely-fought LMP2 grid places a premium on car performance over longer stints, rather than one lap pace, so the team’s decision to concentrate on the race will hopefully pay rewards come Sunday afternoon.

Pierre and the team completed 26 laps today and will now look to make final preparations in Saturday morning’s warm-up. Before that, Pierre will join the traditional drivers’ parade on Friday evening with thousands of fans flocking to cheer on the stars of this year’s 24 Hours.

Ragues, who is sponsored by Drivista.com and Sparco for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, commented: “It’s been a day of two halves, really. We had worked towards completing a longer run in the second part of the first session but the red flag put a stop to that, so we decided to move our focus to the final session, which was extended to 90 minutes. We’ve not had much fully dry running this year so it was a useful opportunity for us to concentrate on race set-up with the #43 Morgan Evo Sard and Dunlop tyres. We completed a good number of laps and can be relatively pleased with our pace. We weren’t looking for qualifying times and there’s plenty we can do from tenth in class over a 24-hour race. I can’t wait for Saturday. The next step, however, is the drivers’ parade tomorrow. As a team, we are in good spirits and will fight hard for a good result this weekend.”

source: pierreragues.com



Larbre Competition Qualifies 10th For Le Mans 24 Hours


  • Preparations complete despite set-up delays
  • Consistency, not speed, key come Saturday and Sunday

Larbre Competition’s typically pragmatic approach to Le Mans 24 Hours qualifying was once again in evidence on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (June 10/11) after the French squad set the 10th fastest GTE Am time.

The five-time class winners have seldom prioritised the opening skirmishes of Le Mans week, instead opting to focus all its energies on preparing for Saturday and Sunday’s twice-around-the-clock endurance classic. And drivers Paolo Ruberti, Gianluca Roda and Kristian Poulsen subscribed to that same strategy by setting their fastest lap – a 3m59.522s – early in the first two-hour session on Wednesday night.

Precious time was subsequently lost when the #50 Corvette C7.R developed a transmission issue, leaving the Val de Vienne-based team with little choice but to spend both of Thursday’s dry qualifying segments honing set-up for the unique demands of Circuit de la Sarthe.

This weekend’s third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship is also worth double points, making a consistent and mistake-free race essential if the squad is to claw back ground in this year’s title race.

Friday sees Larbre Competition head to the city centre for the traditional Drivers’ Parade, a comparative calm before Saturday and Sunday’s storm.

Gianluca Roda: “We spent the four practice and qualifying sessions searching for a good set-up, and yesterday evening we were able to find something that will work for us in the race. But qualifying really isn’t that important at Le Mans; it’s all about being there or thereabouts come Sunday afternoon.”

Paolo Ruberti: “It’s been tough because we started out in the wrong direction with the set-up. But we’ve turned it around and the car feels better in race trim. We just need to stay out of trouble and drive a consistent 24 hours if we’re to make our way to the front by the finish. Le Mans is the world’s greatest race and this year is my sixth appearance. I really do love racing here.”

Kristian Poulsen: “Honestly, the past couple of days were tough while we chased set-up but I think we’ve found something now. We don’t have the fastest car here but it feels like the Corvette is heading in the right direction, so I am more confident after Thursday night than I was on Wednesday. The set-up wasn’t there but we’ve changed a lot on the car since. I love Le Mans; I have raced here five times and won twice. In my experience the car should be easy to drive so you’re not fighting it over the 24 hours. I think that’s now the case so let’s see, especially if we can stay out of trouble. I’m looking forward to the Drivers’ Parade later today as there’s always a lot of fans and it’s good fun.”

Jack Leconte, Team Manager: “Wednesday’s transmission problem definitely had a knock-on affect in terms of costing us precious preparation time. It’s not something we’ll be able to make up now. Fortunately it didn’t rain in either of Thursday evening’s qualifying sessions so we had time to work on our dry set-up. That will make a difference this weekend because we’re not expecting a fully wet race. But there’s still no denying that we lack top-end speed, even if we’re ready in terms of systems checks, bedding in the engine, gearbox and brakes, suspension settings and the drivers completing their laps. As always this race will come down to consistency, which is what we’ll be focusing on. We’ve had our issues but there’s no denying that the Aston Martins are untouchable in terms of overall performance, anyway. Another major problem for us is the fuel tank’s lack of capacity, which handicaps us as we will have to do 13-lap stints as opposed to the 14 that our competitors will run, something that’s the responsibility of the organisers. But in adversity, Larbre will prove itself…”

The 83rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours begins at 15:00 local time tomorrow (June 13).


Friday 12 June
17:30 – 19:30: Drivers Parade, Le Mans
Saturday 13 June
09:00 – 09:45: Warm-up
15:00: 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours start
Sunday 14 June
15:00: 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours finish

source: Larbre Competition, polepressoffice.uk.com