Its all happening in the world of sports car racing ahead of the world’s greatest endurance racing event, the Le Mans 24-Hour race, now 7 weeks to go….
First up are two competitions worth looking at:
1) Fancy winning a trip to Le Mans in an R8 paid for by Audi? You can enter the competition which incidentally closes on 4 May 2012, by clicking on this link: CLOSED.
2) The second competition is run by Michelin Tyres and you can win tickets to Le Mans. The competition closes at midnight on 29 April 2012. So hurry! To enter click here: CLOSED.
Timo Bernhard was injured in an accident while testing at Sebring last month, and has been withdrawn from the line-up for the 6-Hour race at Spa on May 5. His place in the Spa race will be taken by ex-Peugeot pilot Marc Gené but it is hoped that the rehabilitation programme Bernhard is currently engaged in will render him fit enough for the Le Mans race in June.
Hot on the heels of the news that Toyota was to withdraw their TS030 Hybrid from the Belgian race in May following their earlier accident, comes the news that the Pescarolo 03 will also not make the Spa round of the WEC. Pescarolo’s woes are as a result of some sponsorship money that has been delayed and as a result that French racing car will not be ready for the Spa race, but is expected to be on the grid at Le Mans.
More accustomed to throwing his Citroën WRC rally car around dusty mountain top courses, Sébastien Loeb is to make an appearance on the official test day at Le Mans on 3rd June where he will be behind the wheel of an ORECA Nissan LMP2 car. Loeb is no stranger to Le Mans having driven in the 24-Hour race twice before; in 2005 his Pescarolo did not finish the race but in 2006 he finished second overall in a Pescarolo-Judd, splitting the two works Audis.
Good news for the DeltaWing team is that they now have a complete driver line-up which sees NISMO Japanese Super GT racer Satoshi Motoyama joining the pairing of Marino Franchitti and Michael Krumm. DeltaWing testing is continuing apace in the UK with the team having successfully completed a ‘wet’ test with the new car.
In 2009 the GT class was won by Ferrari, the following year it was Porsche and in 2011 it was the turn of the Corvettes to lift the silverware. This record simply highlights the essence of GT endurance (GTE) racing which remains the preserve of the world’s premier sports car manufacturers. In this category, the link between the road and the track is obvious.
In order to be homologated into the GTE Pro class, the car must be based on a road car with a production of 100 (25 for a ‘small manufacturer’, 300 for a carbon fibre chassis). The race version must retain the shape of the road car on which it is based, while the engine must retain its location and orientation, but it must be derived from cars with a production of at least 2,500 in 12 consecutive months. The suffix ‘Pro’ means the class is reserved for professionals and while no restriction is imposed on drivers, the team may consist of three drivers of ‘Platinum’ (internationally renowned) status. Cars in this class are officially entered or supported by their manufacturers.
It has been reported by Motor Trend that one of the 2007 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1 cars is to go under the hammer. In 2007 the No.7 Peugeot retired after 338 laps while the No.8 Peugeot finished second behind the works Audi. Expect to pay anything up to €1.5-million for this diesel racer, but that is not where the expense will end, as running an LMP1 car privately is not for the fainthearted.
I will be back with more news next Friday, so watch this space as the action unfolds …..