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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Wednesday Notebook

Sportscar365’s Wednesday notebook from the 24 Hours of Le Mans paddock…

Photo: MPS Agency

***Algarve Pro Racing has mobilized a new chassis to replace the original that was damaged in an accident for Steven Thomas during Free Practice 1. The Portuguese team’s No. 45 entry missed qualifying as a result.

***Glickenhaus Racing will take its No. 708 car to the 6 Hours of Monza as a single-car entry, while its No. 709 will head to the Goodwood Festival of Speed two weeks prior in June, according to team owner Jim Glickenhaus. Drivers for Monza are to be determined.

***The team’s plans beyond Monza have not been finalized. “We’re taking it a day at a time,” Glickenhaus said. The American company is understood to have held discussions with shareholders about where LMH sits in its roadmap. Glickenhaus hinted at a new investor that could enable the company to allocate more budget to the WEC side of its motorsport program in the future.

***Prema had Mercedes F1 junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli as a guest in the garage on Thursday. The 16-year-old races with the team in the Italian F4 championship.

***FIA World Rally Championship driver Pierre-Louis Loubet is in attendance as a guest of Alpine. The 25-year-old drives an M-Sport Ford in his main career. Eight-time WRC champion Sebastien Ogier is in the same Le Mans garage as a member of Richard Mille Racing, which like Alpine has a program run by Signatech.

***Also spotted in the paddock on Wednesday were Roger Penske, three-time Le Mans overall winner Benoit Treluyer, two-time class winner Joerg Bergmeister, Frederic Sausset who led a team of disabled drivers to the race last year and became the first quadriplegic finisher in 2016, and former McLaren F1 director Eric Boullier, who has been managing director of the French Grand Prix for a couple of years.

***A delegation from Lamborghini Squadra Corse is heading to Le Mans, shortly after the Italian manufacturer announced its LMDh program for 2024 and a chassis partnership with Ligier Automotive.

***Experienced engineer John Dick, who has worked with several teams in North American racing including RLL, is working on the Nielsen Racing Oreca. Nielsen’s usual engineer for the European Le Mans Series simultaneously works on the Glickenhaus Hypercar project, so the British team brought in Dick to assist with its Le Mans bid.

***A transportation delay involving some customs hold-ups resulted in ARC Bratislava only receiving its gearbox last Friday, on day one of scrutineering, according to team owner Miro Konopka. The Slovakian expects this to be his final Le Mans as a driver.

***Tijmen van der Helm is set to drive for ARC at the 6 Hours of Monza, but the final place in the lineup alongside the Dutchman and Konopka is yet to be determined.

***Laurents Hoerr, Mark Kvamme and Matt Bell. are competing in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Road to Le Mans support races. DKR Engineering LMP2 driver Hoerr is piloting a Duqueine D08 Nissan also run by the DKR squad, while JMW Motorsport Ferrari driver Kvamme is in a Ligier JS P320 Nissan run by AF Corse. Matt Bell, who is driving for Nielsen in LMP2, is also representing the team’s LMP3 operation in the Michelin Le Mans Cup races.

***Glickenhaus driver Pipo Derani has a special helmet design for Le Mans, created by French artist Jisbar. Derani is auctioning the helmet after the weekend to raise money for the GRAACC hospital for children and adolescents located in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

***On the auction page, Derani stated: “I have always followed the work of GRAACC. I have visited the hospital and everything they have done over the last 30 years is sublime, helping so many children and adolescents in the fight against cancer. As many people know, my father passed away in 2018 with the disease and I saw in this action a way to honor him.”

***The Ferrari 296 GT3, which is due to debut next year, has conducted tests at Fiorano and Vallelunga so far. “The start has been very consistent,” said Ferrari’s Atitivate Sportive GT director Antonello Coletta. “And in the future, it is normal that we will test the car around Europe in more different circuits.”

***Mathieu Jaminet went to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for a test with IMSA GTD Pro team Pfaff Motorsports in between the test day and the race event. The Frenchman, who is on reserve driver duties for both Porsche GT Team and Team Penske at Le Mans, is expected to return to that post later this week.

***Out of the ten Porsche 911 RSR-19s entered across GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, five Americans and a total of seven drivers with current Porsche rides in North America are represented, including the likes of Jan Heylen, Max Root and Fred Poordad (No. 88 Dempsey Proton Racing), Zach Robichon (No. 93 Proton Competition) and inaugural Porsche Carrera Cup North America champion Sebastien Priaulx (No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing).

“We are very proud of the North American representation Porsche has at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year,” said Porsche Motorsport North America President and CEO Volker Holzmeyer. “Nearly every 911 RSR in the field has at least one driver who currently competes in IMSA, SRO or Porsche Carrera Cup North America or has had significant success here in the recent past. This is a testament to the strength of motorsports in the United States and Canada.”

***Oliver Jarvis reckons United Autosports has “everything in place” for a strong run at Le Mans this year, with the team getting both of its Orecas into the LMP2 section of hyperpole. The No. 23 United entry that Jarvis is part of encountered a driver door malfunction at Spa. “I’d much rather we get the bad luck out the way at Spa and hopefully have a bit of luck on our side here in Le Mans,” he told Sportscar365. “But that aside we’ve had a great buildup; the car’s being quick and performing really well.”

***Two-thirds of the LMP2 entries that reached last year’s hyperpole made it into this year’s final-stage qualifying session. Both United Autosports Orecas, the No. 38 JOTA Oreca and the No. 41 WRT Oreca, now with Realteam backing, made the cut in 2021 along with G-Drive Racing and Panis Racing.

***Felipe Fraga told Sportscar365 that a mixture of factors prevented him from setting a competitive qualifying time in the Riley Motorsports Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, including traffic during hot laps, rainfall and a turbo over-boost that resulted in three deleted flying lap times. Riley was the only GTE-Pro team not to make the hyperpole cut.

***An ACO spokesperson has clarified that the €3,000 fines imposed on each driver who missed the sign-on procedure during scrutineering remain in place, despite talk in the paddock that they would be rescinded. It is understood that the fining procedure could be revised for next year.

***An LMDh technical working group meeting involving car manufacturers, spec parts suppliers and Michelin was held earlier this week at Le Mans, Sportscar365 understands.

***Hagerty Radio Le Mans has kicked off its extensive race-week coverage, which is available on RS1 and RS3 on, Sirius (Channel 138) and XM (Channel 202) in the U.S., and around the circuit on 91.2 FM.

***This year’s RLM team consists of John Hindhaugh, Jonny Palmer, Paul Truswell, Bruce Jones, Johnny Mowlem and Shea Adam in the booth, with Adam pulling double duty in pit lane alongside Nick Daman, Joe Bradley, Owen Mildenhall and Peter Snowdon.

***MotorTrend will broadcast the full race live in the U.S., with Velocity doing the same for Canadian audiences. Subscribers to MotorTrend+ will have access to live coverage of all Le Mans sessions in both territories. The service will utilize the official world feed of commentators led by Martin Haven, Anthony Davidson and Graham Goodwin.

***Free Practice 3 is due to start at 3 p.m. CEST (9 a.m. ET) on Thursday. The three-hour session will be followed by the 30-minute hyperpole at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) with Free Practice 4 booked in for 10 p.m. (4 p.m. ET).

John Dagys and Davey Euwema contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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