Wednesday 25 May 2016

24 Hours of Le Mans 2016 : News roundup

Entry list 24 Hours
The official list of the competitors, drivers and cars invited to the administrative checkings and scrutineering has been updated and published. All drivers who will compete in the 24 hours are now announced.

These are the latest additions to the list :  

In LMP1, Pierre Kaffer takes his seat back in the ByKolles CLM P1/01. Kaffer was replaces by James Rossiter in the first WEC races of the season, but was scheduled to race the remainder of the season, starting at Le Mans. 

2 last-minute changes in LMP2 : Manor reshuffled its driver lineup with Matt Rao replacing James Jakes in the #44 Oreca. Rao will join Will Stevens and Tor Graves. Despite their 2 car effort in WEC, the team will only race 1 car at Le Mans because the second car was a late entry in the championship. Shinji Nakano will replace Franck Mailleux in the #34 Race Performance Oreca03 LMP2. Nakano already raced with the team in the Asian Le Mans Series earlier this year, it will be his fifth start at Le Mans. 

AF Corse completed its crews in GTE-Pro : Alessandro Pier Guidi joins James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni in the #51; Andrea Bertolini completes the crew of the #71 car, joining Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.  In the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911, Philip Eng joins season regulars Richard Lietz and Michael Chistensen. Also in GTE-Pro, the team of the #82 Risi Competition Ferrari will be completed with Mattheo Malucelli, joining Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella.

The #57 Team AAI Corvette C7 sees the return of Johnny O'Connell in GTE-Am. O'Connel, long time fan favourite and member of the Corvette hall of fame will make his 15th appearance on the grid. He will share driving duties with Oliver Bryant and Mark Patterson. The #99 Beachdean Aston Martin Vantage V8 will be driven by team owner Andrew Howard, Liam Griffin and 2015 ELMS champion Gary Hirsch. 

Entry list testday

The entry list for next weeks testday has been published by the ACO today.  Alexander Wurz has been listed as fourth driver on both Toyota's TS050-Hybrid. Simon Gachet has been added to the #23 Panis-Barthez Ligier JSP2/Nissan and Dean Koutsoumidis to the #34 Race Performance Oreca03/Judd.

Joao Barbosa (#40 Krohn Ligier), Sebastien Bourdais (#68 Ford GT) and Scott Dixon (#69 Ford GT) won't be able to attend the testday due to other racing commitments in the States. No replacement drivers have been appointed for them. 

Team livery's
Several teams announced their Le Mans livery's in the past days, here's a short overview : 

Taiwanese team AAI made the switch from Porsche to Corvette. The team wil still be run by ProSpeed and race a Corvette C7-R in this years race. The chassis they will be racing won Le Mans in 2015 in GTE-Pro. 

With the restriction of alcohol advertisement in France, ESM will race at Le Mans again in a different livery. This year Paul Mitchell  - a brand of hair care products - will join Tequila Patron ESM as the primary sponsor on both Ligiers. 
Michael Shank Racing presented the livery for their Honda powered Ligier JSP2. John Pew and Ozz Negri will be joined Laurens Vanthoor. The Belgian raced at Le Mans last year in the Honda-Ligier of OAK Racing and won the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring.

KCMG is fully prepared for their Le Mans 24 Hours comeback and have also revealed their new livery for the Oreca05/Nissan. Opting for a more streamlined and traditional look this year, KCMG’s #47 LMP2 will brandish their iconic blue, white and gray scheme that has been used for all of their entries competing in various championships around the globe this season. The car will be shared by 
Tsugio Matsuda, Richard Bradley and Matt Howson.

Pre Le Mans testing

Porsche has rounded up their final test ahead of the 24 Hours at the Motorland track in Aragon, Spain. The team did a 30 hour endurance test with 1 car and covered a total of 8,427 km. All 6 drivers shared driving duties during the test in the 919 Hybrid. 

Busy days at Monza ahead of the testday next week. 7 teams are testing in Italy at the moment : Rebellion, ByKolles, RGR by Morand, Extreme Speeds Motorsport Michael Shank Racing, Panis-Barthez Competition and Aston Martin Racin and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing. Toyota Gazoo Racing and Strakka are completing their final test ahead of Le Mans at Spa.

Algarve Pro Racing completed an 8 hour test "into the night" at Jerez. Chris Hoy had his first experience in double stinting the Ligier JSP2/Nissan and driving in night conditions.


© Andy Blackmore
Good news from Andy Blackmore Design and Spotterguides. Thanks to sponsoring from Dunlop Motorsport there will be a spotterguide at Le Mans. The first pre scrutineering version will be released on June 10th, during race week there will be additional updates with any driver or team/livery changes. is the website to watch for this essential piece of kit.

Ligier JSP217 on schedule

The development of the new Ligier LMP2 for 2017, the JS P217 is right on schedule. Onroak Automotive has finalised the construction of the first monocoque to submit it to the 21 static tests and the 2 crash tests imposed by the regulations. The crash tests are due to take place this week, after which the construction of the first complete car will take place. In August the Gibson engine will be fitted into the car so on-track testing can begin. 

Le "team du coeur" 

Panis-Barthez competition will be the "team du coeur" (team of the heart) for this edition of Le Mans. The team will defend the colors of the "Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque", which has a partnership with the ACO since seven years. The MCC helps children suffering from heart diseases or malfunctions, to be treated and operated in France when this is impossible at home due to a lack of technical or financial means. Since the start of the foundation, almost 2700 children have been helped. 

The French team of Olivier Panis and Fabien Barthez will be the ambassador for the foundation during race week, and the remainder of the ELMS season. Several actions and events will be held during raceweek at the MCC stand in the village of the 24 hours inside the track, some of them in presence of the drivers and Olivier Panis. The public can also show its support with buying badges, hats and other merchandising of the MCC. 

The Virtual Room
Something new in the village this year, the "Virtual Room". Total immersion in one of the most mythical races in the world is the innovative experience offered by the Virtual Room – Feel the experience, at the coming Le Mans 24 Hours. This 300m2 venue will plunge spectators into an unforgettable virtual digital technological experience through different themed zones.

The experience will begin with the innovation zone devoted to the heritage and the progress engendered by this motor racing myth. 93 years of performances, feats, records and innovations will be shown on giant screens providing the opportunity to relive the highlights of the race and learn all about it while having fun at the same time. Second stage of the virtual trip, the gaming zone. The spectator becomes a player and a driver thanks to the latest simulation games. And when there’s a competition there has to a winner. The quickest will be rewarded by numerous prizes throughout the event.

After the virtual aspect it’s time for reality - or almost. Thanks to the revolutionary Oculus Rift technology (virtual reality headset), the spectators can climb aboard an LM P1 and live 3m 20 seconds of intense thrills on the 13,629-km Le Mans 24-Hours circuit in a 360° environment. It’s a unique occasion to learn to appreciate the feats of the drivers, each of whom covers around 130 laps during the race. And why not climb up onto the topmost step of the podium like Hülkenberg, Bamber and Tandy last year?  And finally, the cornerstone of the Virtual Room, an Audi R18 e-tron Quattro aero model used to test aerodynamics in the wind tunnel will be on display in a room in the centre of the venue. This is a unique opportunity to get close to one of the most exciting racing cars that currently exists.

For all the latest news about the 24 Hours of Le Mans, head on to the Club Arnage facebook group, twitter accountjoin the discussion on our forum or stay up to date with our pictures on instagram.  

Kristof Vermeulen