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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Pre-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ pre-race notebook for the 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours…

Photo: NISMO

Photo: NISMO

***The Nissan ZEOD RC has completed its goal of the first all-electric lap at Le Mans during morning warmup, only a couple days after it hit 300 km/h on all-electric power for the first time. Wolfgang Reip was at the wheel of this year’s Garage 56 entry, which he’ll share with Satoshi Motoyama and Lucas Ordonez. Reip will start the race from 27th overall; the car qualified at a best time of 3:50.185.

***James Calado has sent several tweets from the hospital following his Thursday accident in the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia. The Englishman wrote on Friday he had a brain hemorrhage, but clarified Saturday to write “As bad as it sounds I feel fine. The French doctors are doing a great job in managing my condition… Already want to get back in the car!!” Pierre Kaffer replaces him this race alongside Olivier Beretta and Davide Rigon. 

***The No. 79 Prospeed Competition Porsche will run with only two drivers in the race, despite having an option to place Darryl O’Young alongside Cooper MacNeil and Jeroen Bleekemolen. Gold-rated O’Young, who was part of the Craft-Bamboo/AMR effort that withdrew due to chassis damage, would have been eligible since the team was unable to find a qualified replacement for Bronze-rated Bret Curtis. Two-time ALMS GTC champion MacNeil made the decision for the two-driver lineup in a team meeting this morning.

***Frederic Sausset, a quadruple amputee, is aiming to race in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours as a Garage 56 entry sporting revolutionary driver control technology. Sausset, who lost all four limbs due to a bacterial infection two years ago, has teamed up with Onroak Automotive, which pending entry, will build a specially designed Morgan LMP2 for he, Christophe Tinseau and a to-be-determined third driver. The Frenchman has already turned laps in a Pescarolo track day car.

***Le Mans will mark the final race for Jordan Taylor’s signature mullet, as the GM factory driver cuts it off for charity during the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen TUDOR United SportsCar Championship round in two weeks’ time. “When I started thinking about cutting it off, I knew I wanted to get to Le Mans, the word’s stage of sports car racing, with a mullet,” he said. Fans can purchase raffle tickets for a chance to help cut off the mullet, along with other prizes.

***Michelin has seven of its tire engineers from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on hand this weekend, working primarily with the American-entered teams in the race. Overall, Michelin is tire partner to 43 of the 55 cars entered for this year’s race; Dunlop’s remaining 12 cars make up the majority of the 17-car LMP2 class.

***Sixteen-year-old Matt McMurry will set a record as the youngest ever starter at Le Mans on Saturday, which leaves fellow teenaged rookies Alessandro Latif and Leo Roussel, both 18, relative “old dogs” by comparison. All three race in LMP2; this could be the first time there are three teenagers racing in the same Le Mans.

***Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson will test a Ligier JS P2 at Magny-Cours on Tuesday, as Krohn Racing continues its evaluation of a LMP2 program for 2015. The tall Texan turned laps in a Lotus T128 following the FIA WEC season finale in Bahrain late last year. Krohn team manager Gary Holland and race engineer Hayden Burvill will also be in attendance for the test.

***The third driver for OAK Racing Team Asia’s Asian Le Mans Series program has yet to be decided, according to team principal Remy Brouard. Adderly Fong, who joins the already confirmed David Cheng and Ho-Pin Tung in the No. 33 Ligier JS P2 HPD today, said he is unlikely to be part of the Asian LMS lineup due to his commitments in GP3. The team, fielding the first-ever all-Chinese driver lineup at Le Mans, held a press conference this morning.

***Look for the new-for-2015 LMP3 class to be formally launched next month, likely during the European Le Mans Series round at Red Bull Ring on July 19-20. As many as five constructors have expressed interest in the new junior prototype platform, including Onroak Automotive, Sora Racing (Pescarolo) and Riley Technologies.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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