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Le Mans Monday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Monday notebook from the final day of scrutineering at Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

***Rain impacted Monday’s second and final day of scrutineering in the Place de la Republique, with intermittent showers creating challenging conditions for teams as the cars and drivers went through the traditional pre-event administrative checks.

***Several drivers who came from Sunday’s Zurich E-Prix that missed their team’s scheduled scrutineering, including Stephane Sarrazin and Ho-Pin Tung, went through this morning, with Oliver Turvey showing up in the early afternoon.

***Paul Di Resta missed United Autosport’s scrutineering appointment today after his flight from Montreal was diverted due to poor weather. The Scot was at the Canadian Grand Prix on commentary duty.

***JMW Motorsport’s Cooper MacNeil and Jeff Segal, who also came from Montreal, but for Ferrari Challenge, nearly missed the day’s activities as well, with their plane diverted to Nantes after two failed attempts to land in Angers.

***Balance of Performance adjustments to the GTE-Pro class are expected to be released within the next 24 hours, with LMP1 teams still also awaiting the final Equivalence of Technology numbers ahead of the start of on-track activity on Wednesday.

***ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil gave little hints on when to expect the BoP or EoT. “If we have to decide something, it will be before the race,” he told Sportscar365. “I don’t put pressure on the people who are making the work.”

***Toni Vilander has been impressed with the pace of his new co-drivers in the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE. The Finn, who is gearing up for his 10th appearance at the race, is sharing the car with AF Corse debutants Pipo Derani and Antonio Giovinazzi. “With the new generations of drivers, they are more ready after their first year than I was after three years,” Vilander told Sportscar365.

***Derani told Sportscar365 that he’s fulfilling a lifelong goal driving in a Ferrari factory effort. The Brazilian was part of Ford’s Le Mans lineup last year.

***DragonSpeed team principal Elton Julian said that Pastor Maldonado has “learned his lesson” after the ex-Formula 1 driver’s accident at the Test Day. Maldonado lost control of the No. 31 Oreca 07 Gibson heading through the kink before Indianapolis and hit the right-side barriers in the closing minutes of the session.

***Renger van der Zande is making his Le Mans debut this week as part of Dragonspeed’s LMP1 lineup. The Dutchman said the famous circuit made an impression on him during the test day. “I always like to go out on new tracks and push really, really hard, but this track you can’t do that,” he told Sportscar365. “I have too much respect for the track.”

***Van der Zande has decided to fully embrace his first Le Mans experience, choosing to stay at the track overnight in a camper van in the paddock.

***Tony Kanaan is in the unique position of driving for two rival American automakers in the span of one week. Kanaan’s full-time ride is a Chevrolet-powered IndyCar for AJ Foyt Racing, but he will be representing Ford Chip Ganassi Racing at Le Mans.

***The Brazilian thanked both manufacturers and teams for allowing him to make his Le Mans return and noted an interesting coincidence. “Funnily enough, right before I came here, I got delivery of my new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 which is the same car I’m racing against,” Kanaan said. “It’s even yellow, the same color.”

***Bill Riley arrived in Le Mans fresh off last weekend’s NASCAR Whelen Euro Series round at Brands Hatch, where he works with longtime driver Marc Goossens, who finished second in the race. Riley will be assisting with spotting duties with the Keating Motorsports Ferrari.

***G-Drive Racing has yet to confirm additional FIA World Endurance Championship races post-Le Mans, with a decision to likely come post-race, according to Roman Rusinov. The Russian, who is entered full-time in the European Le Mans Series, has targeted potentially completing the remainder of the calendar year on a race-by-race entry in LMP2.

***Jonathan Hirschi says that European Le Mans Series regular Graff is currently unlikely to follow in the footsteps of the likes of TDS Racing, Racing Team Nederland and DragonSpeed by entering the FIA World Endurance Championship next season. “To move one step up, it needs to improve a little bit. We need to [get] results and win or podiums often,” he told Sportscar365.

***TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier says he will “100 percent” purchase the new Aston Martin Vantages in all three versions: GTE, GT3 and GT4. He said he is aiming to remain in WEC for 2019-20 with the new GTE model while an expanded GT3 program is also planned with the new car in 2019.

Ryan Myrehn, Jake Kilshaw and Daniel Lloyd 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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