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Alonso Quickest; Aston Crash Brings End to Morning Session

Fernando Alonso tops time charts; accident for Marco Sorensen brings session to early end…

Photo: John Dagys

Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap in a shortened morning test session at Le Mans, due to an accident involving one of the GTE-Pro class Aston Martins.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver, who shared driving duties with Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Toyota reserve Anthony Davidson, clocked in at 3:21.468 to top the LMP1 time sheets.

Alonso’s marker came during the second half of the scheduled four-hour session, which was halted after an incident between the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marco Sorensen and No. 35 SMP Racing Dallara P217 Gibson of Harrison Newey.

Sorensen reportedly crashed near Indianapolis, while Newey managed to bring his car back to the pits.

The Dane was evaluated and released by trackside medical staff, although the impact has required extensive barrier repairs, which brought the session to an end with approximately 50 minutes to go.

A brief 10-minute red flag period also occurred in the first half of the session, to clear up debris from an incident at the second Mulsanne chicane involving the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR that had Joerg Bergmeister at the helm.

In LMP1, Toyota and Rebellion Racing were closely matched during the first bout of on-track activity ahead of the race.

The No. 3 Rebellion R13 Gibson split the Toyotas in the opening half of the session and continued to improve without gaining or losing position until the red flags came out.

Thomas Laurent ultimately lapped 0.380 seconds shy of Alonso, with the No. 7 Toyota running third i n the hands of Mike Conway, who was seven tenths off the pace.

Rebellion’s sister entry was fourth quickest, ahead of the best of the SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AERs, which stopped the clock at 3:25.456.

As Alonso debuted, 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button also got his first taste of the Le Mans circuit in the morning, setting the sixth-best time overall in the No. 11 SMP BR1.

1-2-3-4 Sweep for Ford in GTE-Pro

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing set the pace in GTE-Pro with the quartet of Ford GTs running at the head of the class pack.

Andy Priaulx, who did most of the driving in the No. 67 machine, set the best time of 3:53.008.

Ford’s closest challenge came from Porsche, which had its Rothmans-liveried No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR lapping fifth on a 3:54.713.

Alexandre Imperatori led an Oreca top-four lockout in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson with a  time of 3:30.176, while Keita Sawa paced GTE-Am in the Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE.

Officials are working to start the afternoon session, originally scheduled to run from 2-6 p.m. local time, 30 minutes early. 

RESULTS: Test Session 1

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.



  1. edo

    June 3, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Ferrari and aston need some bop adjustment, as expected by everyone

  2. bafranksbro

    June 3, 2018 at 8:20 am

    “Andy Priaulx, who did most of the driving in the No. 67 machine, set the best time of 1:53.008.”

    Holy cow what a lap, half a minute faster than lmp1 eh?

    • Monoq

      June 3, 2018 at 8:24 am

      The average speed would be 434 km/h!!

  3. Jack

    June 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

    where are all the DA’s who were saying toyota was handed the win on the EOT article? its like they realized they are dumb and are too scared to comment now.

    • Steven

      June 3, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Other than the #3 Rebellion, the next closest is 2 seconds behind, the others are 4 seconds. I did say 4 seconds. Toyota still has far more speed that they do not need to show yet.

      The EoT will not be close for this race.

      • Jack

        June 3, 2018 at 11:13 am

        Toyota is running a 3 year old car, SMP and oreca are brand spanking new, you expect them to be closer than they already are?

        • Steven

          June 3, 2018 at 12:16 pm

          Thank you for the info, you think I do not know that? the SMP has been in development for well over one year. the r13 is a modified Oreca 07 LMP2 as the base. It was already a quick car but not with a much more powerful engine.

          I’m just saying Toyota is sandbagging its times.

      • stevenisaDA

        June 3, 2018 at 11:03 pm

        Damn Steven, it must be nice to be that much smarter than everyone else……………………just kidding because you aren’t even though you smugly think you are.

        Work for Toyota, mr smug?

        Or, oh wait, lemme guess, you are a greenie who really buys into this phony “global warming”….oh wait, it’s “climate change” now………


    • FlyingLobster27

      June 3, 2018 at 9:56 am

      It’s only testing, and the last test before the BoP and EoT are decided for the big race. Internally, I believe it’s referred to as “Sandbagging Central”.
      But seriously, FP1 at Spa looked exactly like this: Toyota and Rebellion not miles apart, and all the Fords topping GTE.

      Back to cynic mode, it’s nice to see Toyota’s drivers agreeing that it was in the “best interest of the team” to have Alonso lead his debut session at LM.

      • Jack

        June 3, 2018 at 11:19 am

        Don’t forget, Toyota had 8MJ of hybrid at spa, which is half the distance, double the distance of the track but still required the same amount of hybrid, a lot of toyota’s Advtange at spa is gone, which is why the privateers were slowed. So I think these are fairly representative of where race pace will be, maybe a second or 2 faster. Also, rebellions car is still brand new and the first time ever running this track, and they are within 4 tenths, they have more speed to come.

        • TF110

          June 3, 2018 at 7:39 pm

          Not 8mj, but 6mj. I do think that they can go faster. I think all of them can. Don’t expect any changes imo. The eot for Toyota stays the same, so if they sandbag it’s fruitless. Rebellion being close to them is a reason for them not to change unless that’s all they got, but it isn’t imo. So everyone will speed up, but who and by how much?

          • Andres

            June 4, 2018 at 9:47 pm

            Actually the cap in hybrid power is 8Mj, so Toyota is running at that output for sure

    • Andy Flinn

      June 3, 2018 at 10:49 am

      Jack, even a DA should know this is just a “test session” (first paragraph).

      • Jack

        June 3, 2018 at 11:14 am

        Running the same speeds as the Toyota did in the test last year.

  4. Devon Toms

    June 3, 2018 at 10:46 am

    I can see it now…. another rigged political Le Mans race. Toyota will win unless they have another issue (80% chance lol), and Ford will dominate GTE Pro for the next few years to repeat what they did back in the day (just to sell Le Mans to old Le Mans fans). I’m really starting to give up on Le Mans. Its gonna die out at this rate.. Porsche and Audi leaving Le Mans really killed it from the start.

    • Jack

      June 3, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Wait, you thought a team with a budget of 5 million vs Toyota at over 200 million was going to be close? That’s like saying, hey sauber didn’t win Monaco, it’s rigged, they handed the win to Red Bull.

      • vanillachinchilla

        June 3, 2018 at 6:46 pm

        To be fair the regulations do have to be setup in such a way that actually give the hybrids an advantage, its set up in very arbitrary way if you ask me. Sure Toyota is putting in a monster effort, but these teams were promised a competitive chance. Of course we won’t see how it plays out on pace, let alone luck, until race day. But beyond that, Le Mans is rigged, and quite openly. EOT and BOP, they are “rigged” systems meant to institute artificial competition. Its fun to watch but pretty lame when you think about it and what sports car racing ought to be. Like F1, what things ought to be and whats realistic are often very different, but I don’t blame anyone who’s grown disenchanted with either. Especially given the whimsical and non-transparent nature of how these systems have played out. I’d agree toyota ought to be heavily favored much like your sauber-red bull analogy. But the difference is there is no other reason Sauber is playing catch up, while i think many suspect the non-hybrids and many GTE cars are in-fact being held back by the organizers. The extent to which its corrupt is open to debate, but I wouldn’t put it past the ACO. Toyota and Ford are paying them massive sums.

  5. Andy Flinn

    June 3, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Devon, that didn’t happen LAST year.

    Toyota didn’t win.

    Ford didn’t win.

    So what makes you think it will happen THIS year?

  6. Jaymo

    June 3, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Man ford needs to remove those sandbags this year 😉

    • Bird

      June 3, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      How are they sandbagging if they sweeped the class? The point of sandbagging is to make it seem like your not the faster car. So if they are sandbagging, their doing a really bad job at it.

      • Jaymo

        June 3, 2018 at 6:35 pm

        I figured the winking face would convey the sacasm lol

  7. Amlv20

    June 3, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Exactly what the fia/aco wanted! ALONSO ALONSO ALONSO plastered on every fracking tired of it,lmp1 sucks now,gte-pro and lmp2 will be the show,and hope they get the time they deserve

  8. Av

    June 3, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    It is a transition period. Let’s enjoy it.

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