JHS18

80Th Running Of The Grand Prix D'endurance

332 posts in this topic

Otherwise known as Le Mans 24 hours to most people.

Seeing as it isn't long till the race, and even less time till the official test day (3rd of June) I thought now would be a good time to start a thread.

For the first time since 2007, there will be no Peugeot. Due to their current financial difficulties, Peugeot Sport quit all Endurance Racing activities only a few weeks before Sebring. So technically, you might think that hands the race to Audi on a plate.

Well, fortunately, there's some much needed added interest in LMP1 thanks to Toyota's return, their first visit at La Sarthe since 1999. After one of their cars was written off in a testing accident, they arrive at Le Mans considerably on the back foot, with no race experience at all with a two car entry. They could challenge Audi over one lap pace, but don't expect them to be in contention for victory as the race goes on. Getting both cars to the finish will be their target.

At Audi, there's a new mix. The German manufacturer expands to run four cars this season, but with two very different types of car. The #3 and #4 cars will be traditional diesel powered cars that we saw last season, otherwise known as "Ultras". However, the defending champions of Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer, and the experienced line up in #2 of McNish/Kristensen/Capello will drive new "E-tron Quattros", essentially four-wheel drive hybrids.

Last weekend at Spa, the first blood went to the traditional #3 Ultra of Dumas/Duval who should be joined by Timo Bernhard should he recover from injuries sustained in a testing accident the day after Sebring. It was clear though that in the initial wet running of the race that the E-Tron Quattro cars held the advantage, and with rain an ever present threat at Le Mans, that is something to look for.

A full entry list for this year's race can be found here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_24_Hours_of_Le_Mans

I'll continually keep updating this thread with information about other classes and what to expect as the race draws nearer.

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No Dyson = no Eric. I wish the DeltaWing very, very well. I know it won't but if it won overall I would absolutely die laughing at everyone and everything on Internet.

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No Dyson = no Eric. I wish the DeltaWing very, very well. I know it won't but if it won overall I would absolutely die laughing at everyone and everything on Internet.

Yeah, it SUCKS that Dyson won't be there (terrible pun I know - don't know if you'll get it though...)

Well, you know, you can always support Rebellion - the team with the best looking cars on the grid. :P

It'll certainly be interesting to see what DeltaWing does, but whatever, it is pretty meaningless. It's like watching an F1 car race a touring car, one will win, but it is pretty pointless really, seeing as they're two completely different things.

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It's a car, on a track, in a race, with other cars. Beating some isn't meaningless.

In fact, it means a lot more for racing if aspects of this project are a success than it does for any of the other cars to beat each other. Yeah, one counts for a championship or something, but DeltaWing counts for figuring out the next generation of racing cars and what we can take from DeltaWing and apply to them.

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I know what you mean, but when a car that is built to one set of regulations beats a car set to a completely different set of regulations, particularly when those regulations matter to determine what category you're in in a race like Le Mans in the first place, it is pointless.

Yes, it might be similar to LMP2 or even LMP1 pace. But even if it is in front of them at the time of the checkered flag, it doesn't really mean anything when they're built to different regs. They could power it with jet engines and it could win by fifteen laps, but seeing as it doesn't actually meet LMP1 specifications, it wouldn't really be the winner.

That's what I meant.

Yes, it will be interesting to see how it gets on, and yes, it is an interesting project. But it will be impossible to take away any meaningful information about it with that in mind if it does manage to finish, which the team admits themselves will be a struggle.

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I'm just excited to see the Toyota LMP1 and the HPD ARX LMP1 try to take the fight to the Audis. We all sort of know how that is going to end in a way, but still- this is Le Mans.

Still missing Peugeot. Man, those French cars on the limit at the Porsche curves were a sight to behold. (as with their fiery exits in 2010 shock2.gif). I keep wishing for Pescarolo to run those cars with background factory support, though I guess some of the drivers have moved on to other teams.

I think very highly of Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich and his team, but I hope Audi don't win another one this year. Its just getting tiresome when you wait all year for your favourite motorsport event and the end result is the same almost all the time.

DeltaWing would be so fascinating to watch. I really hope those guys get to finish all 24hrs.

And I wish Eurosport will broadcast the whole 24 hrs+ this year. That way I don't need to sleep for my yearly telly-pilgrimage.

I am looking forward to Le Mans 24 2012, as evident. banana.gif

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I'm not sure what everyone's TV situation is with Le Mans, but I can help you guys out if there are some hours not being shown where you are that are being shown in the United States. I can't confirm, but I've heard rumors that SPEED will stream online what they don't show on TV (they only show about nine hours on TV so that would be a lot of streaming). The stuff that SPEED is showing on TV will likely be streamed (not legally, though) as well, and I can provide a link to that over PM when it gets closer. Just let me know around race time and we can compare SPEED's schedule to your schedule and see if there's anything SPEED is showing that isn't being shown elsewhere.

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Thanks mate. Over here they showed about 18 hrs last year( interrupted because of the IAAF diamond league). Hours have been decreasing year on year. I suppose thats still pretty good compared to many other places, given that I come from an asian country where motorsport is a pretty new form of sport among the locals.

Much appreciated, Eric. Thanks

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It's normally pretty easy to find a link to a stream during the race on various websites. I normally find one and listen to RLM coverage.

Lola Cars have gone into administration. Won't impact on their customer cars obviously, but still a shame to see. I hope the likes of Rebellion have a really good race for them.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/99638

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There's a 24 hour race this weekend. It's the Nurburgring 24 hours as usual, open to a wide mixture of GT and touring cars.

Definitely an entertaining warm-up for Le Mans, with a lot of great drivers in front running cars. As ever with the weather at Nurburgring, expect everything. It was snowing over there yesterday...

You can find the whole 150+ car entry list here:

http://www.24h-rennen.de/uploads/media/24h_Starterliste_12_05_01.pdf

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It's normally pretty easy to find a link to a stream during the race on various websites. I normally find one and listen to RLM coverage.

Lola Cars have gone into administration. Won't impact on their customer cars obviously, but still a shame to see. I hope the likes of Rebellion have a really good race for them.

http://www.autosport...rt.php/id/99638

Ewghhh... I guess though it is to buy time to get some capital into Lola...as a Lola car driver, I shall watch this space...

(well, not this one, but the other one where the news was...)

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Problem for the Pescarolo Dome in testing. Rear tyre failed at 200mph. Substantial rear end damage:

AtOJsctCAAQ3m84.jpg

Unsure whether they'll get the car out for the official test day, but they'll be there without fail for the main week.

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I believe it is yes. Pescarolo have had a rough time of it lately, so I hope they get if fixed and ready. I'm sure they will, but they're on a tight budget and an even tighter time frame.

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Yeah, with what the guy's been through these past few years I hope he gets a good result. Thats the challenge of Le Mans, in a way. Not only do you have to battle the elements and other teams to make the finish, you also have one heck of a battle to even make the start.

I never liked Toyota road cars, but I'll be hoping for their car to win. In fact, anything but the Audis.

4 weeks to go

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If Toyota bring something good, I'll be happy. I want to see a close fight. I can't stand seeing Audi win, not a fan of the brand, not a fan of predictable winners. But I'd take Audi winning narrowly after scrapping with Toyota the whole race over Toyota somehow dominating and winning by laps and laps and laps and laps. And I'd take both over Audi doing what I think we all expect Audi will do. Still would love to see Dyson...but even moreso, I hope if Pickett Racing win the ALMS this year, they'll show up at Le Mans. That HPD ARX-03a was so potent at Sebring. They were really, really, really close to the Audis and I know the regulations are a little funny in ALMS, but...I'd love to see them try.

Anyway, things I care enough about that I'll probably tune in to some stuff:

  • Seeing what Toyota brought.
  • Bourdais. I think he's fantastic.
  • How close the two HPDs can get. I drive a Honda in real life and Brabham's fun to watch.
  • Which nationality Elton Julian is this month (I think he has citizenship in like five countries or something).
  • Corvette. I don't like GM, and I don't support Corvette in the ALMS, but their drivers are good guys and I can't help it, Corvettes are cool. Even if they're cheap plastic toys.
  • Spencer Pumpelly in LMGTE-Am. Spencer Pumpelly is...every once in a while he has a gem on Twitter...once he asked co-driver Andy Lally if he could suck his DeltaWing. Though DeltaWing wasn't the word he used. Anyway, that brings me to:
  • DeltaWing. The most important racecar in my lifetime. Let's go.

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I wouldn't mind if Audi won, only if it was a new driver line up that did. These last two years it'd be very easy to look at the result, roll your eyes and think "Audi wins again" - but truthfully, 2010 and 2011 were two of the best modern Le Mans races ever. Last year the winning Audi won by just 13 seconds from Peugeot after 24 hours of racing. It went down to the last lap.

I still have memories of seeing nearly everyone at Audi emotional or in tears. I remember the onboard from Lotterer's car as he was wiping the tears away from his eyes on the slowing down lap. Real emotion, real relief, especially after what had happened to the other two Audis, after 24 hours of racing.

Audi have been incredibly loyal to sportscars after all these years when there has always been talk about when they're going to enter F1 or whatever, and although I don't think you ever "deserve" to win a race, it kind of fits with Audi and the loyalty they have shown the sport. Peugeot pulled out at an inconvinent time, yes, but WEC was essentially Peugeot's idea. There's going to be years where the race is close, times when it isn't - there were times in the Audi/Peugeot era when it was like that. But that's the point of endurance racing.

I'm interested to see how competitive Toyota will be. I think they could be reasonably competitive, they could probably have a shot at pole. I remember in 2007, the very first year Peugeot returned, they took pole. But like that year, I highly doubt Toyota will be able to stay with Audi for the full 24 hours.

This year's race is most likely Audi's to lose. But even if they do start to dominate, as Eric rightly points out, there will be excitement in other classes. Even thought it isn't an official class, it is interesting to see who is ahead in the MLP1 petrol cars, then there's P2 and GTE Pro which is magnificent and always is. I'm personally not so bothered about GTE Am, for reasons clearly evidenced in last year's race.

Overall, sportscars is in a good place. There's plenty of speculation of who could be entering in the next few years, and we know for sure Porsche will be returning to LMP1 in 2014.

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I mentioned the Nurburgring 24 earlier, and whilst it's not technically the right topic I have to write about the end.

With 15 minutes to go (essentially one more lap) the second place #65 Mercedes SLS pulls over with a sudden engine failure. Wow, what scenes of emotion and devastation in the pits...they had for a time been leading the race.

That promoted a battle for fourth to a battle for third with with #11 Manthey Porsche and the #66 Mercedes. The leader slows down on the last lap allowing the two to unlap themselves, meaning another lap of them running nose-to-tail.

But the third place #11 car is in trouble. It stops on the start/finish line waiting for the leader to take the checkered flag - knowing it has an issue, potentially not enough fuel to do another lap - gives up third place. Then, a Renault Clio in another class - obviously not expecting to see it there, crashes into the back of it, taking it out of the classification.

The #66 is also marginal on fuel and creeps around a slow final lap to take third after initially believing the race was over...

Meanwhile, Audi wins the race with the #3 and is backed up by the #26 to make it a one-two in I believe Audi's fourth or fifth attempt of trying to win the race.

But it wasn't a race dominated by one car - a lot of the cars in the leading SP 9 category encountered problems. Put it this way - the leading two when I signed off last night was the #2 Audi and the #19 BMW they finished 4 and 5 laps behind respectively, in 5th and 7th places.

What a race. What a track. I love GT racing.

Full results can be found here:

http://www.24h-renne...IONAL_TOTAL.pdf

But now attention turns to the big one. Le Mans.

Edited by JHS18

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Pescarolo's new cars has had its track debut today. It is based on Aston Martin's AMR-One chassis. I hope for their sake that isn't a bad omen given Aston Martin's dreadful race with that car last year, otherwise they may as well just stop at home.

2012-05-29-test-magny-cours-pescarolo-03_01.jpg

2012-05-29-test-magny-cours-pescarolo-03_27.jpg

2012-05-29-test-magny-cours-pescarolo-03_30.jpg

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It feels almost sacrilege to say this, but, it looks better than the Gulf Racing paint scheme. Hope they do well and achieve their specific goals. Having said that, that car was absolutely dreadful in the past - no pace nor reliability, but I am sure they have had lots of aerodynamic data to improve its performance.

Interesting concepts- this internal aero chassis, DELTAWING!!, Petrol-Hybrid, Diesel-Hybrid..... anything else I missed?

A lot of innovation on the field, also the type of innovation that will shape motorsports, performance motoring and ordinary bog standard vehicles in the near future, now that crude oil prices are sky high.

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I noticed that one of the sponsors for Pescarolo is Delaney. Had a good chuckle

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Haha yeah, I think that's been a bit of a tradition to have that decal somewhere on the car.

You're right. Whilst it may not potentially be the closest race ever for the overall victory, there is still a lot of interesting stuff in the field.

It is the official test day this Sunday. You'll be able to catch the action on www.radiolemans.com.

Not entirely sure what we'll learn. Last year's test times weren't too indicative of what we saw on actual Le Mans week. It'll be a case of teams getting new cars up to speed and running reliably and new drivers learning the circuit before the serious stuff starts. Saying that, I am looking forward to seeing two Toyotas running around....

Re: The Pescarolo, I do like it, up until the fin. Thought I'd have got used to them by now, but nope, they're still ugly. Thankfully the ACO confirmed a few weeks ago they're investigating ways to make them somewhat more discreet.

Edited by JHS18

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The Toyotas have undergone something of a transformation - they've gone from red to blue.

392426_10150876733587912_291763622911_9900711_101766996_n.jpg

Looks like they've secured Total sponsorship too. Sponsorship that was previously Peugeot's, so good job.

A seemingly revised front end too, if you look at how the cars appeared before:

Toyota-2012_Le_Mans-634x422.jpg

Edited by JHS18

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