Fresh from celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its 1966 1-2-3 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 1-3-4 finish in GTE Pro category at the 2016 running of the French classic, Ford Motor Company has announced that the Ford GT program will run for a minimum of three more years.
G-Drive Racing, managed by Kent-based JOTA Sport, has announced that Alex Brundle will join the team to partner Roman Rusinov and René Rast for the remaining rounds of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Currently leading the LMP3 class in the 2016 European Le Mans Series driving for United Autosports, Brundle tested for G-Drive Racing at the Le Mans Test Weekend in June to allow him to be eligible as the team’s official reserve driver for the French classic. Continue reading Alex Brundle Joins G-Drive Racing For WEC→
Treviso-based Scuderia Villorba Corse took many positives and some great experiences away from its two-car entry into the inaugural ‘Road to Le Mans’ race, which was run on the Circuit de la Sarthe on the morning of the 2016 24 Heures du Mans.
The #8 Ferrari F458 Italia GT3, piloted by Cedric Mezard and Steeve Hiesse finished 24th overall and 11th in the GT3 class while the #7 Nissan-powered Ligier JS P3 with Roberto Lacorte and Giorgio Sernagiotto at the wheel finished 34th overall and 17th in class.
“The weekend of this official ‘Road to Le Mans’ served as a Road to Le Mans for the team,” said Team Principal Raimondo Amadio. ”All the work the team did has been a preparation for the future. The team and the drivers used all the miles, as far as possible, that were available to them. Sernagiotto, despite only one lap in free practice, was able to set the fifth fastest time in qualifying and was then fast in the race. The progression in terms of the stop-watch is undoubtedly positive but the important thing is the experience lived by the whole team and the information and data we have been able to gather, even in the wet.”
Although the participation of the LM P3 cars did not count for the overall standings in the 2016 European Le Mans Series, the race for GT3 cars counted as the second round of the inaugural Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup.
The third round of the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 16.
Phillipines-based Eurasia Motorsport has announced that it will partner with Aston Martin Racing to win the GT class of the 2016-2017 Asian Le Mans Series with an Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
The team has previous experience with the marque having run the Aston Martin under the Craft banner in the 2013 Asian Le Mans Series.
“We are really happy to renew our association with Aston Martin, having run the car successfully in GT Asia, achieving a podium finish in the Dubai 24H and gaining an entry for the Le Mans 24H,” explained Team Principal Mark Goddard. “The team knows the car very well, we will receive engineering back-up from Aston Martin Racing and we are confident with the right driver line-up we can win the GT Class.”
The Asian Le Mans Series is equally excited to welcome Aston Martin to the 2016 – 2017 championship.
“I am delighted that Aston Martin will compete in the coming Asian Le Mans Series and officially partner Eurasia Motorsport’” said Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director.
“Not only is it an additional prestigious brand on the field but also a sign of the growing attractiveness of the series. It tells a lot about the level of competition there will be in the GT class next season. Mark Goddard who has always been a strong supporter of the Asian Le Mans Series and the ACO shows once again the ambition and potential of Eurasia Motorsport”.
“Aston Martin Racing are pleased to be working with Eurasia Motorsport again in the prestigious Asian Le Mans Series and look forward to working together to campaign a Vantage GT3 in the region in 2016 and beyond,” said John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal. “The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is proving once again to be a quick and capable machine, with a winning start in a number of events around the globe at the start of 2016.”
The first round of the 2016 – 2017 Asian Le Mans Series will be held at Zhuhai International Circuit in China on October 28 – 30 with subsequent rounds at Fuji International Speedway in Japan and Chang International Circuit in Thailand. The season finale will be held at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on January 20 – 22 2017
When writing the story of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016, one word summarised everybody’s thoughts about the LMP1 class and what the fight would boil down to. That word was – reliability.
As one commentator, when discussing the weather forecasts for race weekend, said:
“I want it to be dry so we can see these things break.”
As race weekend approached these facts were known: Toyota Gazoo Racing had rapidly advanced its development programme to race the 2017 car in 2016. Inevitably this had caused some head-scratching at the early rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship as the TS050 was being sorted. Porsche Team, Audi Sport Team Joest and Toyota Gazoo Racing were all only bringing two cars to Le Mans for financial and political expediency purposes. Audi and Porsche each had one less ‘bullet in the gun’ to fire at the challenge of the world’s greatest motor race. Porsche had changed to the 2015 battery pack for Le Mans. Audi had encountered some damper issues at the Test Weekend that took longer to resolve than we had come to expect from a team that could change a whole back end of a car in less than ten minutes.
As a day has passed since the EnduranceAndGt team sneaked on a ferry before chaos ensued in Calais, I thought I would record some thoughts on the race, and race week, when I could put them in perspective whilst they were still fresh in my mind. Detailed reports on four classes, and race results, will follow shortly. Anyway…
Anybody who has attended a 24 Hours of Le Mans has lived through an experience that few global sporting occasions can match. The Indy 500 possibly matches it. The Monaco Grand Prix as well but in a different way. But the immense challenge of racing a car round the Circuit de la Sarthe for 24 hours in weather that is guaranteed to present extremes is, well, in my opinion, in a class of its own.
This year, however, the experience was off the scale. A number of factors, which included the weather, the build-up in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the expectations of history being made, all conspired to produce something which will live in the minds of all those who were there for a long time. Let’s look at some of those factors in more detail.
The weather this year was biblical in the extremes it threw at all concerned. I have never known a Le Mans where it was either raining, had just rained or was about to rain for the entire week leading up to the race, which curtailed the final qualifying session and which caused the race to start under a safety car.