In our final ‘cars of Le Man’ post we look at the GT2 class with the help of Photos from our trackside Photographer, John Brooks.
Although this class is at the rear of the field it is very competitive and almost any of the entries could take honours. GT2 cars are less powerful than GT1 (with around 450-500bhp) and are closer to production cars with their bodywork. Unlike GT1, Carbon brakes are not allowed. GT2 is a Ferrari v Porsche duel with a couple of Spykers trying to get into the act.
Porsche 997 GT3 RSR
The GT3 runs in the GT2 class! Always a popular choice, a little surprising there are only three Porsche’s in the class this year. Pre-season a number of teams in LMS and ALMS moved to Ferrari as that appeared to be favourite. In reality its been much closer and its hard to choose which car will succeed.
The most recognisable Porsche 997 at Le Mans is the Flying Lizard entry (above), which normally competes in the ALMS. Still looking for a class win at Le Mans, one of the most professional teams out there. They will be disappointed if they are not the lead Porsche.
The IMSA Performance Porsche has been very competitive this season and have GT2 Pole for the event after a great qualifying effort from Patrick Long. IMSA won GT2 last year.
The third Porsche is the German Felbermayr Proton entry and has been, for me, a bit of a surprise in qualifying yesterday, trading times with the IMSA Performance car. Either three could take honours.
Ferrari F430 GT
Very popular choice this year but a few teams have been struggling to get to grips with the car on both sides of the Atlantic. My choice of lead Ferrari, will be a surprise to some, but I think the Virgo Motorsport team (above) have the best chance with a strong British line up and Dunlop tyres. They were the fastest Ferrari in qualifying, 3rd in class.
ALMS team, Risi Competizione have two entries, one in traditional Ferrari red and the other in the bright green and blue Krohn Racing colours seen in Grand-Am and ALMS. The team are on the back foot after a big testing accident with the Krohn car a couple of weeks ago. One of the strongest teams in the ALMS with ex F1 driver, Mika Salo in the red ’82’ car, they have had a season of bad luck in the ALMS this year. One of there best assets is Team Manager, Jeff Hazell, who spearheaded McLaren’s overall win in 1995. They should be going for the win.
Farnbacher Racing (above) are unusual in that they are running Ferrari and Porsche this season, but for Le Mans, they are running a Ferrari F430. Quite competitive, the team admitted on Radio Le Mans that they are still learning about the Dunlop tyres, so they wont be as strong as the other Ferraris.
BMS Scuderia Italia have a long history with Ferrari and GT racing (and a stint in F1 with Dallara). Last year they ran an Aston Martin in GT1, but its now back to Ferrari, the sole car on Pirelli tyres, its hard to make a call on this team. The tyres could prove an advantage or disadvantage. They were 7th in GT2 qualifying.
The AF Corse entry (above) has a good driver line up and should be up with Risi and Virgo. Vilander is current GT2 champion while Biaggi is GT1 champion, but they were slowest of the Ferrari’s in qualifying.
The JMB racing Ferrari is a ‘may-be’ for the race after a qualifying accident. JMB actually ran the AF Corse entry at Le Mans next year, so they have experience. However, they aren’t very likely to challenge for the Podium, unlike all the other cars mentioned above. Its that close, any of 9 cars could win.
Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2R
A fan favourite, two Spykers bring up the rear. The LMS season hasnt gone well so far, although the cars seem to be near the pace. The lead car (above) is run under the ‘Spyker Squadron’ banner and has the best chance to upset the German and Italian marks. The second car (below) is enteredn by ‘Speedy Racing’, although its run by Spyker. They have a disadvantage after car problems on the test day limited there running, but Andrea Chiesa is quick, so you never know.
GT2 is really too close to call. I’m going to stick with the Virgo car, but any of the GT2’s could take the honours.