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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***In what’s typically considered a rest day, teams were busy at work Friday, including the majority of the GTE-Pro field, which has been given post-qualifying Balance of Performance Changes. A final technical bulletin was issued Friday evening, confirming revised refueling restrictor numbers.

***In addition to the weight and restrictor changes, the Porsche 911 RSR gains 3 liters of fuel capacity, with the Corvette C7.R and Ferrari 488 GTE both getting a two-liter increase. The changes are aimed to bring all five GTE-Pro manufacturers within the same 14-lap fuel stints.

***Ford’s Raj Nair has hit back at claims that the Ford GTs had been sandbagging, particularly at the Le Mans test day. “Test days are test days. I think you can ask the FIA how we performed. We feel good about how we performed. I think the FIA probably, from what we ran in practice and in qualifying, knows we ran flat out. That’s what we ran,” Nair told Sportscar365.

***Pu JunJin is hoping to race after injuring his foot in an accident in Wednesday practice. The Chinese driver has a final exam at the track medical facility scheduled for Saturday morning at 8 a.m. where he hopes to be cleared to race. The Eurasia Motorsport driver told Sportscar365 Friday that he has improved significantly overnight and that two x-rays have revealed no broken bones.

***Aston Martin Racing completed a routine engine change of all four cars ahead of the second qualifying session, Thursday. This included the Beechdean Aston Martin of Liam Griffin, Andrew Howard and Gary Hirsch, a full-season entrant in the European Le Mans Series.

***While the Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda will have to serve a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty during the first half of the race after changing its engine, Beechdean is exempt from the same fate, as full-season ELMS competitors in GTE-Am are allowed the use of three engines for the season. Non-WEC LMP2 competitors are only allowed one engine for the entire race week at Le Mans.

***Progress continues on the new Riley Mk. XXX, with further details on the 2017-spec LMP2 car expected to be released in the coming weeks, according to Multimatic Motorsports business manager Stephen Charsley. Charlsey told Sportscar365 that they expect 10 cars to be built by January, and more than half of them racing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

***All 2017 LMP2 cars are being built around the current LMP1-style tub and survival cell, although a new survival cell is set to be introduced in the top prototype class in 2018, with a revised seating position. It comes after lengthy analysis from the FIA that shows the current seating position could be prone to increased spinal injuries.

***ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365 that the new LMP2 regulations will be locked in for the next four years. “The logic is that we test all of the improvements in LMP1 and we introduce them in further step in other categories. So in ’18 it will only be LMP1 [hybrid],” he said.

***Krohn Racing co-drivers Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson will race together at Le Mans for the 11th consecutive time this weekend, an all-time record for the 24-hour race. Last year, Krohn and Jonsson tied the Corvette Racing duo of Ron Fellows and Johnny O’Connell who co-drove 10 straight times together at Le Mans from 2001 through 2010.

***Fellows and O’Connell were well along with their record before Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen did their eight in a row from 2006 to 2013, so they didn’t break their record.

***A number of drivers and U.S.-based teams are sporting special logos, paying tribute to the victims of last weekend’s mass shooting in Orlando. It includes the No. 89 WeatherTech-backed Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR and pair of Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2 Nissans, a team that is based in Florida, along with driver Ryan Dalziel.

***With the Euro 2016 soccer tournament now in full swing, Aston Martin Racing was engrossed by the crucial match between England and Wales. But as the only member of the Home Nations not to qualify, Scotland’s Jonny Adam was sitting on the fence. “I’m trying to avoid it if I’m honest because as soon as I get near a TV they ask me, ‘How are you getting on?’”

James Newbold & Adam Saal contributed to this report

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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