Thursday 1 June 2017

Le Mans 2017: Test weekend kicks off with scrutineering today

60 cars will be on track Sunday for the 2017 Le Mans testday ahead of the 24 Hours race in two weeks time. 

Preparations in the paddock have been going on for some time, with the arrival of the teams earlier this week, Le Mans fever now really kicks in. The testday on Sunday will give the teams eight hours of track time ahead of the practice and qualifying sessions during race week. There will be two four hour sessions, the morning session kicks off at 09.00h, the afternoon session at 13.00h.

The testday is mandatory for all new drivers at Le Mans. They will have to complete at least 10 laps of the track, after earlier simulator training. Drivers who have already competed at Le Mans and don't have the status of rookie driver, are not obliged to take part in testday. Apart from a few drivers with other racing commitments, almost all drivers will be present this weekend. 

Scrutineering for the testday started this morning at 09.00h with the #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara P217. Both LMP1 contenders will be undergoing their checks tomorrow morning. Jackie Chan DC Racing's Oreca's will be the last to pass scrutineering late Friday afternoon.

Access to the testday and scrutineering is free for all ticketholders for the race. The pitlane is open for the public on Friday and Saturday, a great opportunity get up close and personal with the cars and watch the teams in their final preparations for Sunday.

Scrutineering schedule

Testday entry list

In LMP1, last years Le Mans winner Marc Lieb is listed as fourth driver for both Porsche 919Hybrid's. Toyota has put Lapierre, Kunimoto, Lopez, Conway and Buemi as fouth and fifth drivers on different cars. 

James Rossiter is still listed as third driver with ByKolles, but he will have to miss Le Mans due to a Super GT test with Toyota in Japan. Marco Bonanomi has tested the ByKolles car last week in Spa, and is expected to be confirmed as third driver for Le Mans.

Seven teams in LMP2 have entered a fourth driver for the testday. Paul-Loup Chatin is on the entry list with IDEC Sport (#17) while Simon Gachet has been selected by Panis-Barthez Competition (#23). G-Drive Racing (#26) has John Martin & Laurens Vanthoor on the entry list as reserve drivers. Laurens Vanthoor also features as fourth driver on both factory Porsches in the GTE-Pro class.

Nicky Catsburg has been appointed as fourth driver on the #28 TDS Racing Oreca. Matthieu Vaxiviere returns to the car for the first time since his training accident ahead of the FIA WEC in Spa.  Vaxiviere and Catsburg will both be behind the wheel of the Oreca. If Vaxiviere isn't recovered enough from his injuries to race in the 24 hours, Catsburg will replace him in two weeks time.

Maurizio Mediani (#27 SMP Racing Dallara),  Nico De Bruijn (#43 Keating Motorsports Riley) and Dean Koutsomidis (#45 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier) complete the list of reserve drivers selected for Sunday in LMP2. 

In GTE-Am, JMW Motorsports which debuts its all new Ferrari F488 GTE at Le Mans, has announced Jonathan Cocker as reserve driver. Proton Competition team owner Christian Ried is reserve driver for both Proton Porsches (#88 and #93).

Download the latest entry list here !

Final drivers announced

© Ford

With the news of Tony Kanaan replacing the unfortunate Sebastien Bourdais in the #68 Ford GT, there was only one vacant seat left for the 24 Hours. The line-up of the #88 Proton Competition Porsche is now also confirmed with Klaus Bachler, Stéphane Lemeret and Khaled Al Qubaisi. No sign anymore of Nick Yelloly who has been replaced by Bachler. Al Qubaisi returns from his sabattical year in the FIA WEC.

Tockwith Motorsports Ligier in iconic Gulf livery

For their debut at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, the Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP2 will feature the iconic blue/orange Gulf colours. 2017 is an important year for Gulf Oil, as this is the 50th anniversary of Gulf's first Le Mans race, but also 50 years since the blue and orange colors made their debut on racecars. 

Gulf Oil international announced the backing of Tockwith Motorsports not only for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team will keep on running this livery for the remainder of the ELMS season and in future FIA WEC rounds they might enter on a race-by-race base.

The second car in Gulf colours is the #86 Gulf UK Racing Porsche 911 in the GTE-Am class which will be driven by Mike Wainwright, Ben Barker and Nick Foster. 

Le Mans Specific BOP

Last week, the FIA Endurance Committee has announced the Le Mans specific balance of performance for the GTE Pro and Am class. This BOP will be introduced at the Test day this weekend, and might see further changes in the run up to raceweek.

Ford "suffers" the most from this BOP, the GT's facing an increased weight of 15 kg (now at 1268 kg, the same as the Ferrari F488 GTE), a reduced turbo boost and losing 4 liters of maximum fuel capacity (now 95 liters).  The Ferrari's - who dominated the class last year together with Ford - also have to give in some turboboost and 4 liters of fuel (now 88 liters).

The Aston Martin Vantage sees its minimum weight reduced by 15 kg (1193 kg), and an increase for their air restictor with 0,2 mm. They also receive an extra fuel capacity of +2 liter (up to 100 l maximum). The Corvette C7R gains 0,7 mm at its engine restrictor diameter, but loses out 4 liter of fuel (down to 94 l).

The new Porsche 911 RSR GTE, which will race at Le Mans for the first time, gains 1 liter of maximum fuel (now 99 l), but sees his restrictors downsized with 0,7 mm. A slight improvement in BOP compared to the car Porsche raced last year at Le Mans.

In GTE AM Ferrari gets a weight reduction of 10 kg (1278 kg), but loses out turbo pressure and 2 liter of maximum fuel (now 86 l). The Aston Martins gain a weight reduction of 5 kg, and a slight increase in their air restrictor (0,1 mm) and fuel capacity (+ 3 liter up to 98 l).

The Larbre Corvette C7R gains the most in this BOP with a weight reduction of 20 kg (1248 kg), +0,3 mm in their air restrictor and 4 liter extra fuel (94 l). The Porsche 911 RSR's (pre 2016 spec) will have to carry 10 kg extra compared to last year's Le Mans, and face a decrease in their air restrictor with 0,4 mm but gain 1 liter in fuel capacity (95 l).

Link to the endurance committee decision

Kristof Vermeulen