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Le Mans Tuesday Notebook

John Dagys’ Tuesday notebook from Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

***While the track was quiet, there was plenty of action in the paddock on Tuesday, as drivers and teams prepare for Free Practice and Qualifying 1 tomorrow. The traditional drivers group photo was taken in the morning, followed by the always-packed autograph session in the afternoon, with a track walk/bike in between. Rain was intermittent throughout the day.

***Aston Martin Racing’s Darren Turner, Richie Stanaway and Mathias Lauda took advantage of the free track for some fun, riding Razor Crazy Carts up and down the front-straight and even all the way down to the Dunlop Bridge.

***Tracy Krohn was the last driver to arrive at Le Mans on Tuesday morning after his fair share of travel delays. On Sunday, after torrential rains back home in Houston, Krohn’s passenger car stalled out an intersection in a foot-and-a-half of water. That delayed his flight to France on his private plane that was plagued by radar system issues. Krohn diverted to New York and completed his trip on a commercial carrier out of JFK airport to Paris.

***LMP1 hybrids went through scrutineering at the track on Tuesday, due to the complexities of its powertrains. Other entries were also seen making trips to the bay as well for additional checks prior to Free Practice tomorrow.

***An American flag has been adorned the podium flag stand at half-mast, in a show of respect to last weekend’s mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub. Both Ricky and Jordan Taylor, as well as Tequila Patron ESM’s Ryan Dalziel, who are driving this weekend, live in the Orlando area.

***Bill Riley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his first Le Mans appearance. Riley made his Le Mans debut in 1996 with Doyle Racing’s Riley & Scott Mk III-Oldsmobile, ironically a program managed at the time by Doug Fehan. Riley is serving as a consultant to Ben Keating’s LMP2 effort with Murphy Prototypes.

***Patrick Long has been a coach and advisor to Abu Dhabi Proton Racing co-driver David Heinemeier Hansson for the last six years, but occasionally the student becomes the teacher. “He is an analytics guy and a numbers guy, and I am the opposite,” Long told Sportscar365. “I am more old school, talking about visual references on track I have used for years, but sometimes he shows me a sector on an in lap where I am giving up a little bit to one of our pros. We have a lot to trade.”

***Long is racing at Le Mans for the 13th consecutive time, scoring class wins in his 2004 debut and again in 2007. It marks his fourth consecutive year with Proton in GTE-Am. “The longer I come here the more I look around and take the time to smell the roses. You can never take a race like this for granted.”

***Brad Kettler will not be making the trip to Le Mans for the first time in 18 years. The longtime Audi Sport engineer and operations director Audi Sport customer racing North America is recovering from a car accident in April, where he sustained a broken sternum.

***Kettler was due to assist the No. 7 car alongside race engineer Leena Gade, who will making her final start with the German manufacturer prior to her new appointment at Bentley in a managerial rule involving customer racing.

***Brendon Hartley is sporting a special helmet this weekend, paying homage to fellow Kiwis Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, on the 50th anniversary of their overall victory in a Ford GT40.

***The pair of Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2 Nissans are sporting new colors from Paul Mitchell, a hair care company owned by Patrón Spirits Company co-founder John Paul DeJoria. The wavy lines resemble hair blowing in the wind.

***This year’s Le Mans is shaping up to feature even more Hollywood stars, with Keanu Reeves and Jason Statham expected to be in attendance alongside honorary starter Brad Pitt and team co-owners Patrick Dempsey and Jackie Chan.

***Robertson Racing’s Ford GT, which makes its return to Le Mans for the first time since its 2011 podium finish in GTE-Am, will lead the drivers’ parade in downtown Le Mans on Friday. Andrea Robertson is scheduled to drive the car. She’s joined this week in Le Mans by husband Dave and their team manager Andrew “H” Smith.

***Laurens Vanthoor, has a big month ahead of him. He will wed his fiancé, Jacqueline, on Sat., July 9, but has three straight races at Le Mans, Paul Ricard (Blancpain Endurance) and the Nurburgring (Blancpain Sprint) in consecutive weekends leading up to the nuptials.

Adam Saal and Laurent Mercier 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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