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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from 24H Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans saw a new record attendance of 263,500 spectators, up by 200 from last year and and nearly 20,000 from 2013. The race has continued to grow on an international scale, with Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. serving as this year’s race starter (pictured).

***The No. 4 ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER has been excluded due to a driver weight infraction for Simon Trummer. A new-for-2015 rule mandates ballast to be added to LMP1 cars if the average declared weight of each lineup is under 176 pounds.

***Even before the exclusion, the ByKolles car was not classified at the end of the race anyway, having failed to complete the minimum percentage of laps from the overall race winner, after a troubled run for the Austrian team.

***Both Roald Goethe and Paul Dalla Lana have escaped serious injury following separate accidents for the Aston Martin Racing drivers. Goethe, who crashed heavily at the Porsche Curves, was transferred to a local hospital for x-rays but has since been released, on the advisement of visiting a doctor on his return home.

***Dalla Lana’s crash in the final hour took the No. 98 Aston Martin out of a dominant lead in GTE-Am. It ended an impressive run for the team, which saw lead driver, and class pole-sitter Pedro Lamy battle through Chicken Pox.

***Nissan had a challenging debut race in LMP1, with the GT-R LM NISMOs having spent hours in the garage with suspension, brake and gearbox issues. One of the three cars, however, did manage to take the checkered flag, although not completing enough laps to be classified.

***The No. 21 Nissan was the first to retire when it suffered suspension failure and was stranded on track, while gearbox failure forced the No. 23 car out of the race on Sunday afternoon, leaving the No. 22 car, which also battled issues, to fly the flag.

***It’s understood the Nissans also did not have functional hybrid systems in the race, with the systems having reportedly been disabled to prevent potential reliability issues. The cars were nominated to run in the 2MJ hybrid subclass.

***Overall Le Mans winner Nick Tandy will return to FIA World Endurance Championship competition for the remainder of the season with KCMG, which coincidently claimed LMP2 class honors last weekend with its Oreca 05 Nissan. 

***SMP Racing is the first Russian-entered team, and KCMG is the first Hong Kong-entered team to win at Le Mans. Additionally, Team AAI is the first Taiwanese team to finish at Le Mans; both its No. 67 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and No. 68 Porsche 911 RSR made it home.

***Audi extended its streak to 17 consecutive years with a podium finish at Le Mans, even though this year marked only the third time since 2000 the brand didn’t win (2003, Bentley, 2009, Peugeot).

***There were 27 lead changes overall, split between the Nos. 17 and 19 Porsche 919 Hybrids and Nos. 7 and 9 Audi R18 e-tron quattros. Porsche led 340 of 395 laps, split 243-97 between the race-winning No. 19 car and second-placed No. 17 cars.

***GTE-Pro witnessed 25 lead changes split between six of the eight starters in class. The only manufacturer not to lead in class was Porsche, which had a tough race with the early retirement of the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR due to a fire.

***KCMG led the opening 10 laps, lost the lead for the next nine (split one and eight between Murphy Prototypes and Thiriet by TDS Racing), and held the lead through to the finish for the final 339 laps. All told, they led 349 of 358 laps in LMP2.

***In GTE-Am, the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 (249 laps) and eventual class-winning No. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari F458 Italia (67 laps) led a combined 316 of 332 laps.

***This is Michelin’s 18th straight overall victory at Le Mans, and fifth straight in LMP2 for Dunlop.

***Although the race didn’t seem to have a ton of retirements until the final few hours, the number of retirees was identical to last year. Both in 2014 and 2015, there have been 15 official retirements from the race.

***The ACO/UJSF Communications Prize has gone to Michelin’s communications manager Alessandro Barlozzi for the second consecutive year. The prize, recognizing teams and firms that provide the best communication services during the race week, is voted by a jury of international journalists.

***While the world saw the first 2016 GTE-spec car with the unveiling of the Ford GT, Sportscar365 has learned that Ferrari’s new 488 GTE car is also already testing. All new-for-2016 GTE cars must take part in a Balance of Performance test in Ladoux, France in September.

Tony DiZinno 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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