Tuesday was suppose to be an ‘admin’ day here at Le Mans. With the Media centre finally open it was time for John and myself to set up our desks, sort out internet and get ready for the week and prepare.
Tuesday’s highlight for me was the running of the Martini Porsche 917LH, driven by Gérard Larrousse up and down the main straight.
Two time winner, Larrousse originally drove this car with Vic Elford.
This particular car is owned by the ACO, Porsche giving them the machine in the 1970s. This car is normally on show in the museum but a complete restoration took place this year enabling it to return to the track.
Stunning to see this car in action. As a true motor racing fan this, along with briefly meeting Norbert Singer, was something I will never forget.
We also had a chance to see under the engine cover. You can see the massive overhang over the rear wheels from the long tail design. This was a very significant car in the field of aerodynamics.
A Classic livery flowing over the surfaces of the 917. You can just imagine the wind flowing along the same lines as the Martini livery.
Later in the morning, the new Panoz Abrruzzi was announced. This new car mixes styling cues with the original Panoz GT-1, the Delahaye and unofficially the Batmobile!!! Power comes from a 6.2 Litre Corvette unit mounted in the front with radiator and cooling at the rear using air flow through the car.
The plan is to produce 81 of these cars, each one tied to a Le Mans event. The car will eventually go racing in GT2 with PTG Racing. One interesting feature is the R.E.A.M.S composite material. This composite is lighter than carbon fibre, just as strong, dent resistant, and is recyclable.
Clearly a Panoz from the front, but it is an acquired taste…. Its certainly unique….
I also had the opportunity to take a trip around the Group C Paddock with the RadioLeMans guys. I grew up with these cars! Amazing and so cool to see the likes of TWR Jaguar Porsche and Sauber Mercedes. I can’t wait to see them at speed later this week. It will bring back some good memories.
Feature coming later this month!
Early visitors to the circuit had the chance to attend an Autograph session in the pitlane on Tuesday afternoon. No surprise, Peugeot, Audi and Corvette had queues.
Audi Sport won hands down in the Poster-design-stakes.
The teams have been compelling final preparations inclduing set up, pit stop practice and driver changes.
Spare parts are being stickered up in the event of accidents.
Highcroft Racing have come over from the ALMS with David Brabham and Marino Franchitti, joined by Marco Werner. For this race, they have increased their Malaria No More branding, a charity which aims to reduce Child Malaria deaths in Africa.
Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria, but a simple net can save lives by protecting those who sleep under it from malarial mosquitoes that bite at night. Good to see the sport doing this.
Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson working out their seating arrangments with one of their pit crew. Often with the differences in height and build, inserts are required for the seats.
Corvette along with Peugeot were one of the few teams with the cars out in the open, ready to roll.
ORECA have an extra challenge in running two different cars. On the left is their Peugeot 908 HDi FAP, which they say is the same as the works cars….Is it allowed to win?
The car on the right is the older ORECA chassis, powerd by a AIM/Judd engine. To complicate matters, the Peugeot is on Michelin, while their own chassis is on Dunlop.
First practice started a couple of hours ago. Any rookies, or drivers who haven’t raced here in the last five years has to complete 10 laps in order to continue into qualifying. As I write, only the RSR Jaguar hasn’t taken to the track, and they have two drivers which need to complete the task…..Not looking good.
I’m off to watch some Practice. We’ve just had a red flag after one of the Ford GT’s crashed. I’m very impressed by the Fords. Fantastic build quality, nice detailing and a simple clean livery. Just look at that engine bay.
First qualifying from 8pm through to midnight. It may be wet!
You can listen to coverage online at RadioLeMans.com. We will have a report of todays qualifying tomorrow.