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Le Mans Sunday Notebook

John Dagys’ Sunday notebook from scrutineering at Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

***Sunday kicked off the official start of Le Mans week, with 22 of the 60 cars going through scrutineering in Place de République in the city center. It included heavy hitters such as Porsche LMP Team and Aston Martin Racing, with the majority of the GTE-Pro teams, as well as Toyota Gazoo Racing set for the administrative checks tomorrow.

***The ACO has established fixed slow zones for the first time this year. The defined segments were  communicated to teams earlier this year and used in action for the first time at the Test Day. Previously, the length of the slow zones were determined on the exact location of the incident.

***Officials have penalized the Porsche LMP1 team with a 5,000 Euro fine for obstructing the front of its garage at the test day, marking the German manufacturer’s second infraction for this issue this season. The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid will receive a stop-and-hold penalty of 1 minute in a race if it occurs again before the end of the WEC season.

***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan, along with SMP Racing driver Mikhail Aleshin are expected to arrive in France on tomorrow following Saturday night’s IndyCar race in Texas. Kanaan finished second in that race, while Dixon and Aleshin both were forced to retire due to accidents. Both teams are due to go through scrutineering on Monday.
***NBC Sports IndyCar commentator Townsend Bell, who along with Jeff Segal and Bill Sweedler claimed GTE-Am class honors in the race last year, is also making the Texas-to-France. Bell again teams with Sweedler, with Cooper MacNeil completing the lineup in Scuderia Corsa’s WeatherTech-backed Ferrari 488 GTE car.
***Kanaan, a Le Mans rookie, is scheduled to make a trip to the ACO-approved simulator in Paris on Monday after missing the official test day due to his IndyCar commitments in Detroit. His first laps in the Ford GT at the Circuit de Le Sarthe are expected to come on Wednesday with the beginning of Free Practice.

***Formula E’s contingent of Le Mans drivers will make their way through scrutineering on Monday after being tied up with racing duties in Berlin today. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Sebastien Buemi headed up a 1-2-3 finish for drivers bound France, with Felix Rosenqvist and Lucas di Grassi completing the podium. Nicolas Prost, Jean-Eric Vergne, Jose Maria Lopez, Sam Bird and Stephane Sarrazin were also in action.

***The only Formula E driver who was meant to take part in scrutineering today was Ho-Pin Tung, who was on standby in Berlin as Jaguar’s reserve. The Jackie Chan DC Racing crew improvised and made a cardboard cut-out of Tung to take through scrutineering, which was even made to pose for the official team photo.
***Aston Martin Racing’s Darren Turner and Tockwith Motorsports’ Karun Chandhok carpooled to Le Mans this morning, and while the two arrived in plenty of time to make it through scrutineering, they had to overcome a disagreement over music on the way. This trip has become a familiar one for Chandhok and Turner. The pair, along with Jonny Adam, made the drive to Le Mans from the UK for the test last week.

***Aston Martin drivers Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra were also in action elsewhere on Sunday ahead of their run through scrutineering tomorrow. Adam finished ninth in the British GT race at Silverstone after a power steering failure, while Serra was in Brazilian Stock Car action at Cascavel, leaving him with a long commute to Le Mans.

***Di Grassi, meanwhile, is nursing an injury to his right foot, sustained while playing soccer. Keating Motorsports team owner/driver Ben Keating took part in the test day with a swollen right wrist, after his accident in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Detroit one day earlier.

***Alex Brundle says the chemistry between his co-drivers and Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing team has been strong. The drivers are coming off a team-building exercise near the Pyrenees in France last month run by the team’s physio. Both Brundle and team co-owner/driver David Cheng, meanwhile, have spent a lot of time together in London in recent weeks. “We’re a group of guys that I really look forward to hanging out with,” Brundle told Sportscar365. 

***Romain Dumas has a busy month of June, as the reigning Le Mans winner headed straight from last weekend’s test day to Pikes Peak to take part in a final test in his Norma MXX RD Limited. The Frenchman will return to Colorado immediately following the Le Mans race to take part in the June 25 event, where he will look to defend his overall title.

***Both the OAK Racing’s Morgan-Nissan LMP2 Art Car from 2013 and last year’s Garage 56 prototype, driven by quad-amputee Fred Sausset, have been placed on display in the Le Mans Museum this week. The colorful Art Car features its original un-raced bodywork, designed from actual street signs. 

***The WEC is mourning the loss of Pierre Coiffier, its logistics coordinator, who died suddenly last week at the age of 26, having succumbed to a rapid case of meningitis. Sportscar365 sends its condolences to Pierre’s family, as well as the WEC family at this difficult time.

Luke Smith and Ryan Myrehn 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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