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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Pre-Race Notebook

Tony DiZinno’s pre-race notebook from Le Mans…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***There will be increased security for French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Le Mans on Saturday. A similar level of security was present when then-French Prime Minister Francois Fillon made a visit in 2011.

***Two cars returned in time for morning warmup after incidents during the week. The No. 67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3 RSR did an engine installation overnight to return to the track, while the No. 46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05 Nissan changed tubs after Thursday qualifying, as its primary monocoque was damaged by debris.

***The new TDS tub, chassis No. 3, was actually KCMG’s second chassis, but was given to the French squad as it was better prepared than Oreca’s spare fourth tub. It’s undetermined if KCMG will take delivery of another chassis post-race.

***While the No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R crashed during morning warmup, it appears driver error, rather than a similar mechanical issue that affected the No. 63 Corvette C7.R, was the cause of the accident. The team is thrashing to repair the car, but if the No. 50 car does not start, it would leave the grid at 54 cars for today’s race.

***Minimum drive time in the LMP1, LMP2 and GTE-Am classes is four hours. The maximum drive time is no more than four in six hours, or 14 hours in total.

***In case you missed Sportscar365’s pre-race resource guide, filled with TV and stream times, Andy Blackmore’s Spotters Guide and more, it is linked here.

***Full TV cameras will be run overnight for the first time during the race, which marks a change from the usual array of on-boards and start/finish straight shots.

*** will provide a live video stream featuring in-car cameras in the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R race car and the Corvette Racing pit throughout Saturday and Sunday’s race.

***Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor got a surprise visitor during the Le Mans parade on Friday, when a fan brought a plush replica of Taylor’s dog Fonzie. A video of that is linked here, and Taylor and fans’ annual “U.S.A!” chant at the parade followed.

***Michelin serves as tire technical partner for 40 of the 56 cars (14 LMP1, 4 LMP2, 9 GTE-Pro, 13 GTE-Am). In the race, LMP1 cars have 12 sets and all other classes have 16 sets. There are no limits for wet or intermediate tires. Overall, Michelin has 7,000 tires (split 2,500 for LMP1, 700 for LMP2 and 3,800 for GTE, including 250 Hybrid intermediates), 15 trucks, 50 fitters, 25 technical team advisers and 15 engineers on site.

***Dunlop partners with the remaining 16 cars, 15 in LMP2 and the JMW Motorsport/GB Autosport Ferrari F458 Italia in GTE-Am. Both in LMP2 and GTE-Am, teams have 16 sets for the race.

***This year marks Krohn Racing’s tenth year as a team at Le Mans, all featuring Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson behind the wheel. Krohn and Jonsson’s streak of 10 years in a row together eclipses the previous record of nine, held by Allan McNish and Rinaldo Capello!

***AF Corse teammates Emmanuel Collard and Olivier Beretta start their 21st and 20th consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans, respectively, today, as the two most experienced drivers in the field. Collard’s No. 83 Ferrari F458 Italia starts second in GTE-Am with Beretta’s No. 71 Ferrari F458 Italia rolling off fourth in GTE-Pro.

***There are 46 rookies competing at Le Mans for the first time, split between 22 in LMP and 24 in GTE. In LMP1 and LMP2 it includes Simon Trummer, Daniel Abt, Earl Bamber, Nico Hulkenberg, Tsugio Matsuda, Alex Buncombe, Max Chilton, David Markozov, Pipo Derani, Gustavo Yacaman, Ed Brown, Jon Fogarty, Chris Cumming, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor, Mikhail Aleshin, Mitch Evans, Gaetan Paletou, Zoel Amberg, Ivan Bellarosa, Jose Ibanez and Pierre Perret.

***The GTE rookies between GTE-Pro and GTE-Am include James Calado, Michael Christensen, Marco Sorenson, Alex MacDowall, Fernando Rees, Richie Stanaway, Ben Keating, Marc Miller, Duncan Cameron, Alex Mortimer, Matteo Cressoni, Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal, Bill Sweedler, Michael Avenatti, Kuba Giermaziak, Jun-San Chen, Alex Kapadia, Han-Chen Chen, Gilles Vannelet, Mike Parisy, Marco Seefried, Francesco Castellacci and Mathias Lauda.

***Between the 46 rookies, there are five cars, the No. 34 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda, No. 45 Ibanez Racing Oreca 03R Nissan, No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage V8, No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F458 Italia and No. 68 Team AAI Porsche 911 RSR that feature all-rookie lineups.

***Ben Keating, Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall are the three drivers pulling double duty between LM24 and the Aston Martin Festival. Keating is in a TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4, with Goethe in a Gulf Racing for ROFGO Aston Martin Vantage V8, and Hall in an invitational entry, in a glorious Lola Aston Martin V12 LMP1 car.

***Porsche France celebrated the official opening of the Porsche Experience Center Le Mans. The Experience Center is ideally located on the 2.9 kilometer racetrack “Circuit Maison Blanche,” and offers customers and all Porsche enthusiasts an exclusive brand experience.

John Dagys contributed to this report

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony


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