Saturday, 21 February 2015

Club Arnage preview of 2015

The 83rd LE MANS 24 HOURS


Another vintage 24 hours in prospect for 2015.


With Le Mans now firmly set as the centrepiece of the FIA/WEC calendar, in the month of June, the Sarthe region of France will host its 83rd celebration of endurance racing. If you are new to this form of racing or new to Le Mans, you might find this preview a little daunting, but fear not, help is at hand in the form of the Club Arnage Guide to the 24h of Le Mans which is packed with useful stuff about the race and how to make the most of it. In this preview we cover what has been happening over the winter and take a first look at the entry list.

Entries must be with the ACO by April 1st and up to 60 cars will be accepted for Test Day, where there can be up to 5 drivers that may drive in each car, however it is customary to have only three named drivers for race week. All new drivers to Le Mans and drivers who haven’t raced at the track for over 5 years must complete a one day simulator test before driving on the circuit. Various  'F1 style' regulations are planned for the 2015 season of the WEC, restricting things such as the amount of testing and number of engines and gearboxes. These will be confirmed in March.  The average weight of a crew must be 80 kgs (weight including race wear, etc.) and if the average is less then ballast must be carried.

Daniel Poissenot is retiring after 14 years as Le Mans 24 Hours Race Director. His colleague Eduardo Freitas will now perform that function, as he does for the rest of the FIA/WEC season and ELMS.

Circuit changes.


Work to stabilise the sides of the track between Mulsanne Corner and the entrance to the Porsche curves by putting tarmac over some of the grass verges was completed before Christmas at a cost of €425,000.

At the Porsche curves, work has started which will be ongoing for about 3 years. At the first right hand corner the existing gravel trap will be replaced by an abrasive bitumen surface and new tyre barriers. The width of the second left hand part will be expanded by about 3 metres and again grass will be replaced by bitumen. SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers will be installed over a distance of about 220 metres. This work started in Feb 2015 and should be completed by mid May.

The new public road branching left before Indianapolis corner will not be started until winter 2015/16. This will mean the stretch from Indy to Arnage will be closed to the public during the rest of the year.



Overall timetable for race fortnight.


09.00-18.00 Friday May 29th     Test Day Scrutineering @ the Circuit
08.30-15.00 Saturday May 30th   Test Day Scrutineering @ the Circuit
09.00-13.00 Sunday May 31st     Test Day Session 1
14.00-18.00                     Test Day Session 2

14.30-19.00 Sunday June 7th     Scrutineering in the Place de la Republique
10.00-18.00 Monday June 8th                 “                        “
17.00       Tuesday June 9th    Drivers’ Autograph Session at the Circuit
16.00-20.00 Wednesday June 10th Free Practice Session
22.00-24.00                     Qualifying Session 1
19.00-21.00 Thursday June 11th  Qualifying Session 2
22.00-24.00                     Qualifying Session 3
17.30-19.00 Friday June 12th    Drivers’ Parade in the City Centre
09.00-09.45 Saturday June 13th  Warm Up
10.00-12.00                     Support Races
14.22                           Beginning of starting procedure
15.00                           Start of the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours by Grand Marshal Tom Kristensen
15.00       Sunday June 14th    Chequered Flag



Cars and Drivers

Confirmed drivers in white, drivers unconfirmed at this time in red. Notes in italics.



LM P1 ( 14 CARS ) – ( Red number panels and white headlamps. 'HY' on engine cover indicates a hybrid energy system being used. No Bronze rated drivers allowed. All cars are on Michelin tyres.)

#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid driven by Sebastien Buemi/ Anthony Davidson/ Kazuki Nakajima
The reigning FIA WEC Champions Buemi and Davidson are joined by Nakajima from last year’s other Toyota. The Toyota is likely to continue running in the 6MJ energy recovery category.

#2 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid driven by Alexander Wurz/ Stephane Sarrazin/ Mike Conway

Conway replaces Nicolas Lapierre for this season having made occasional appearances in 2014.

#4 Team ByKolles CLM P1/01 – AER driven by Simon Trummer/ Pierre Kaffer/ James Rossiter

All references to “Lotus” now appear to be gone from this team.

#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid driven by Andre Lotterer/Benoit Treluyer/Marcel Fassler

Last year’s winners return having been given an automatic invitation. The team appears to be moving from a 2MJ to a 4MJ energy recovery system.

#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid driven by Oliver Jarvis/Lucas di Grassi/Loic Duval

Oliver Jarvis replaces the retired 9 times winner Tom Kristensen.

#9 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron Quattro Hybrid driven by Marco Bonanomi/Filipe Albuquerque/Rene Rast
Rast joins the Audi team for 2 planned appearances at Le Mans and at Spa. He finished 5th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS. Albuquerque retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours driving a Starworks Oreca FLM09 PC.

#12 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One – AER driven by Nicolas Prost/Nick Heidfeld/Dominik Kraihamer
Rebellion has replaced last year’s Toyota engines with AER engines which ran in last year’s Lotus/CLM. The team will miss the Prologue and the 1st round at Silverstone whilst they complete the car.

#13 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One-AER driven by Mathias Beche/Andrea Belicchi/Fabio Leimer

#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Timo Bernhard/Mark Webber/Brendon Hartley
The Porsche are thought to be moving to an 8MJ energy recovery system this year.Hartley retired from the Daytona 24 hours in a Starworks Riley-BMW DP.

#18 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Romain Dumas/Marc Lieb/Neel Jani
Lieb finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours.

#19 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Nico Hulkenberg/Earl Bamber/Nick Tandy
The Porsche team will run this 3rd car at Spa and at Le Mans. Current Force India F1 driver Hulkenberg is joined by GTE drivers Bamber and Tandy. Tandy finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours.

#21 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Hybrid driven by Tsugio Matsuda/Lucas Ordonez/Ronnie Quintarelli
Nissan re-enter at the top level of Sports Car Racing with a radical front engine and front wheel drive car, which was exclusively previewed in an advertisement during the half time break at this year’s Superbowl in February. It is likely to run a 6MJ energy recovery system. The #21 car will only run at Le Mans, not the remainder of the WEC.

#22 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Hybrid driven by Harry Tincknell/Marc Gene/Jann Mardenborough
Tincknell joins from the winning LMP2 Jota team of last year and joins ex Audi driver and Le Mans winner Gene.

#23 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM Nismo Hybrid driven by Olivier Pla/Michael Krumm/Satoshi Motoyama
Pla joins from LMP2 team G-Drive Racing. Michael Krumm has been undertaking much of the early testing for the team.Pla  retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours in Tracy Krohn’s Ligier P2.


LM P2 ( 20 CARS ) – ( Blue number panels and Yellow headlamps. Teams must include one bronze or silver rated driver. All cars are on Dunlop tyres except #42 on Michelin ).

#26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Roman Rusinov/Julien Canal/Sam Bird

#27 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR01-Nissan Coupe driven by Mikhail Aleshin/Anton Ladygin/Nicolas Minassian

#28 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Gustavo Yacaman/Ricardo Gonzalez/Pipo Derani

#29 Pegasus Racing Morgan LMP2-Nissan driven by Leo Roussel/David Cheng/Adderly Fong
The team are racing the older “non EVO” Morgan.

#30 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-04b-Honda Coupe driven by Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel/David Heinemeier Hansson
The US team enter this year’s WEC after one appearance in China last year. The driving team retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours.

#31 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-04b-Honda Coupe driven by Ed Brown/Johannes van Overbeek/Jon Fogarty
The team retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours.

#34 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Ho-Pin Tung/Keiko Ihara/Yuan Bo
The team received an automatic invitation after winning the LM P2 class in last year’s Asian Le Mans Series.

#35 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Jacques Nicolet/Jean-Marc Merlin/Erik Maris

#36 Signatech Alpine Alpine A450b-Nissan driven by Nelson Panciatici/Paul-Loup Chatin/Vincent Capillaire
The team received an automatic invitation after winning The LMP2 class in last year’s European Le Mans Series.

#37 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR01-Nissan Coupe driven by Maurizio Mediani/Kirill Ladygin/David Markasov

#38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S-Nissan driven by Simon Dolan/Oliver Turvey/?
The team received an automatic invitation after winning LMP2 in last year’s race. The Gibson is an updated version of last year’s Zytek.

#39 Team SARD-Morand Morgan LMP2 Evo-SARD (Judd) driven by Christian Klein/Koki Saga/ Reality TV Winner
One driver will be chosen from 24 drivers on a reality TV programme “Raceto24” (www.raceto24.com)

#40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Tracy Krohn/Niclas Jonsson/Ozz Negri
Krohn and Jonsson  (with Alex Brundle and Olivier Pla) retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours.

#41 Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S-Nissan driven by Johnny Mowlem/Alessandro Latif/Tom Kimber-Smith
Mowlem retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours in an Oreca FLM09 PC.

#42 Strakka Racing Strakka Dome S103-Nissan Coupe driven by Nick Leventis/Danny Watts/Jonny Kane
This is the only LMP2 car running on Michelin tyres.

#43 Team SARD-Morand Morgan LMP2 Evo-SARD (Judd) driven by Oliver Webb/Pierre Ragues/Tristan Vautier

#45 Ibanez Racing Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by Jose Ibanez/Pierre Perret/Ivan Bellarosa

#46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05-Nissan Coupe driven by Pierre Thiriet/Ludovic Badey/Tristan Gommendy

#47 KCMG Oreca 05-Nissan Coupe driven by Matthew Howson/Richard Bradley/Alexandre Imperatori

#48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by (Greg Murphy)/Nathaniel Berthon/Rodolfo Gonzalez/Karun Chandhok
Team owner Murphy is almost certainly a “place saver” driver on the original entry list



LM GTE Pro ( 9 CARS ) – ( Green number panels and Yellow headlamps. No restrictions on drivers. All cars are on Michelin tyres ).

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Gianmaria Bruni/Toni Vilander/Giancarlo Fisichella
Almost certainly the last Le Mans for the quasi works 458 before it is replaced by the Ferrari F488 in 2016. The team received an automatic invitation after winning GTE Pro in 2014. Bruni and Vilander retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours.

#63 Corvette Racing-GM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Ryan Briscoe
This driving team finished 3rd overall and won GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours in January.

#64 Corvette Racing-GM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Jordan Taylor
Gavin and Milner with Simon Pagenaud finished 3rd in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours. Taylor retired from this year’s Daytona 24 hours in Corvette DP.

#71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Davide Rigon/James Calado/Olivier Beretta
Rigon retired from this year’s Daytona 24 Hours in a Risi Competizione Ferrari 458.

#91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Richard Lietz/Michael Christensen/Jorg Bergmeister
Christensen with Pilet (with Nick Tandy and Marc Lieb) finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours.

#92 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Patrick Pilet/Frederic Makowiecki/Wolf Henzler
Pilet with Christensen finished 5th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours. Makowiecki with Jorg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber finished 7th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours earlier this year. Henzler retired from the Daytona 24 hours  in a Team Falken Porsche 991.

#95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Nicki Thiim/Christoffer Nygaard/Marco Sorensen
The “Dane Train” moves up to GTE Pro this year. Nygaard finished 13th in GTD at the Daytona 24 Hours earlier this year.

#97 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Darren Turner/Stefan Mucke/Bruno Senna

#99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Fernando Rees/Alex MacDowall/Darryl O’Young



LM GTE Am ( 13 CARS ) – ( Orange number panels and Yellow headlamps. At least one bronze and one bronze or silver rated driver. All cars are on Michelin tyres except #66 Ferrari running on Dunlop ).

#50 Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7.R driven by Gianluca Roda/Paolo Ruberti/Matteo Cressoni

#55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Duncan Cameron/Marco Cioci/Michele Rugalo
The team received an automatic invitation after finishing 2nd in LM GTE in the European Le Mans Series last year.

#61 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Peter Ashley Mann/Lorenzo Case/Stephen Wyatt

#62 Scuderia Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Bill Sweedler/Townsend Bell/Jeff Segal
The team received an automatic invitation after being nominated by the Tudor United Sports Car Championship (the other nominees Wayne Taylor Racing declined their invitation in LM P2). Sweedler and Bell finished 6th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Ferrari 458.

#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by George Richardson/Abdulaziz Al-Faisal/Daniel Zampieri
This is the only GTE Am car running on Dunlop tyres. Al-Faisal won the Dubai 24 hours in January driving a Black Falcon Mercedes.

#67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) driven by Jun-San Chen/Tatsuya Tanigawa/Carlo van Dam
The team received 2 automatic invitations (see #68 below) after finishing 1st and 2nd in GTC in last year’s Asian Le Mans Series.  The team has sourced their 3 year old 997s from the Belgian Prospeed team.

#68 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) driven by Han-Chen Chen/Marco Seefried/Ryohei Sakaguchi

#72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Viktor Shaitar/Aleksey Basov/Andrea Bertolini
The team received an automatic invitation after winning LM GTE (and GTC) in the European Le Mans Series last year. Bertolini finished 14th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours for Scuderia Corsa.

#77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Patrick Dempsey/Patrick Long/Madison Snow
Dempsey finished 3rd in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Wright Motorsports 911GT America. Long retired from the Daytona 24 hours in a Falken Tire Porsche 991.

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Francois Perrodo/Emmanuel Collard/Rui Aguas
Aguas finished 4th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours  in a Ferrari 458. Perrodo and Collard (with Bruni and Vilander) retired from the race.

#88 Abu Dhabi Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Christian Ried/Klaus Bachler/Khaled Al Qubaisi

#96 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Roald Goethe/Stuart Hall/Christian Poulsen
The team received an automatic invitation after winning the GTE Am class at last year’s Le Mans (although the winning “Dane Train” crew will race this year in GTE Pro). Goethe finished 8th in the Dubai 24 hours in January driving a Gulf Racing Lamborghini Gallardo.

#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda
The driving team finished 6th in GTLM at the Daytona 24 hours (with Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke).

Reserve Entries (in the order that they will be invited to replace drop-outs, if any).

1 LM GTE-Am  
#53 Riley Motorsports-TI Automotive Dodge Viper GTS-R driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen/Ben Keating/Marc Goossens
Bleekemolen finished 9th in GTD at the Daytona 24 hours in a Dodge Viper SRT.

2 LM P2      
#49 KCMG Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by Alexandre Imperatori/?/?

3 LM GTE-Am  
#60 Formula Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Johnny Laursen/Mikkel Mac/Andrea Piccini

4 LM GTE-Am  
#86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Michael Wainwright/Adam Carroll/James Winslow

5 LM P2 
#25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan Coupe driven by Rudolf Munemann/?/?

6 LM GTE-Am
#65 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR (991) driven by Wolf Henzler/?/?

7 LM P2
#44 Ibanez Racing Oreca 03R-Nissan driven by Pierre Perret/?/?

(There is no entry in Garage 56 for Innovative Technologies this year).


FIA WEC & ELMS Events prior to Le Mans 24 Hours:

   March 23rd/24th  ELMS Tests Paul Ricard HTTT
   March 27th/28th  WEC Prologue Paul Ricard HTTT
   April 11th       Silverstone 4 Hours
   April 12th       Silverstone 6 Hours
   May 2nd          Spa 6 Hours
   May 17th         Imola 4 Hours
   May 31st         Le Mans Test Day



Anniversaries this year
10 years ago – Last win for the Audi R8 and Tom Kristensen beats Jacky Ickx’s record of 6 wins.

20 years ago – Last win by a “road-going” car at Le Mans – McLaren F1 GTR.
               Foundation of Club Arnage!

30 years ago – Same Joest Racing Porsche 956 wins for the 2nd year running.

40 years ago – Derek Bell’s first win, driving a Gulf Mirage –Ford with Jacky Ickx.

50 years ago – Ferrari’s last overall win at Le Mans (Jochen Rindt/Masten Gregory in a 250LM).

60 years ago – First Jaguar “D” Type victory (Mike Hawthorn/Ivor Bueb) following Pierre Levegh’s crash resulting in over 80 fatalities.

80 years ago – Lagonda’s only win at Le Mans (John Hindmarsh/Luis Fontes).

90 years ago - First (and last) award of the Rudge-Whitworth Coupe Triennial  to Robert Senechal & Alberic Locqueneux in a Chenard et Walcker (although they finished 13th in that year’s race!).


SUPPORT RACES
There will be two support races on race day morning – one for Aston Martins and the other for “Legends” cars dating from 1949 to 1968 (www.motorracinglegends.com)

Tony Light – Last updated on 13th February 2015
Tel: 07961 331060 email:  antonylight@ntlworld.com

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