Wednesday 1 June 2016

24 Hours of Le Mans 2016 : News roundup 2

Just 2 days to go before scrutineering begins for the Le Mans testday next Sunday. Here's a quick round up of some of the latest news. 

© Corvette Motorsport/twitter
Team AAI has gotten delivery of their Corvette C7R yesterday. The car, which will be run by ProSpeed, is currently getting into its Le Mans livery. The 2015 winning GTE-Pro car will be driven by Johnny O'Connel, Oliver Bryant and Mark Patterson. 

Murphy Prototypes has been testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this week. Jeroen Bleekemolen has tested the Murphy Prototypes Oreca03/Nissan before he headed to the Nürburgring for the 24V hours. In the following days Ben Keating got familiarised with the Oreca. Keating will contest his first race in an LMP2 prototype at Le Mans. Marc Goossens, who drove the car already during the prologue has been testing with VisitFlorida Racing in the States.

Toyota did its last preparations at Spa-Francorchamps, where they continued testing their Le Mans specific low-dray aero kit.

Danish ELMS champions Formula Racing have presented the livery for their #60 Ferrari 458 Italia. The team has also been testing at Paul Ricard in preparation for their Le Mans debut next week. Christina Nielsen, Mikkel Mac and Johhny Laursen will drive the #60 Ferrari.

Picture : twitter Gerard Neveu
Pierre Fillion and Gérard Neveu attended the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 which was won by Indycar rookie Alexander Rossi.  The visit feeding more rumours about the search for a new venue to host the WEC race in the USA, as the race in Austin struggles for spectators. 

Panis-Barthez competition has appointed youngster Simon Gachet as 4th driver at the testday on Sunday. Gachet races with the team in their Ligier JSP3 in the European Le Mans Series. He will take part in the testday to drive the mandatory 10 laps for new drivers. If one the teams designated drivers isn't able to compete in the 24 hours, Gachet will be the first reserve driver to take the seat.

© Mercedes-AMG
Lots of WEC and Le Mans drivers were in action at the Nürburgring last weekend, racing in the iconic 24 hours. The "Green Hell" delivered again, with the race stopped due to hail and very tricky conditions throughout the weekend. After 24 hours and a thrilling end, Mercedes smashed the competition. The new AMG GT occupying the whole podium and fourth place.

After a long illness, Sarthe journalist Michel Bonté, who was well known as one of the major Le Mans 24-Hours specialists has passed away recently. The ACO wishes to pay homage to this long-standing expert of the Le Mans history by naming the Media centre at the circuit after him. A ceremony will take place this Saturday dring the test day weekend, led by Pierre Fillion. 

Preparations at the track have been going on for a few weeks now. With the arrival of the teams and the build up of the garages and teams paddock, the track is into its final preparations for the testday and raceweek. All the progress can be followed at the 24 Hours facebook page with pictures and video.

The French Air Force and the ACO join forces at the Le Mans 24 Hours. This partnership is the result of the Le Mans Passion Share operation in February when the drivers in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the fighter pilots from the Air force met up. The first initiative from this partnership will give spectators the opportunity to discover the fascinating world of aviators at the coming Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Air force will be present on a 150m² stand in the heart of the village. A dozen Alphajet simulators will allow people to experience what it feels like to fly, and also discover the responsibilities of pilots at the controls of airliners. This maiden participation by the Air force will give people a glimpse into the universe of the excellence of its airborne skills and the missions it carries out to protect citizens.

Traditionally, the French Patrol will fly over the track just before the start of the 84th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans.

Kristof Vermeulen.