Paul Foster was at La Sarthe for the test day for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. He caught this great action but first…some highlights courtesy of our friends at the FIA WEC:
• SMP Racing’s Stoffel Vandoorne set the fastest recorded speed in WEC history at the Le Mans test day. The Belgian, in the No.11 BR Engineering BR1-AER, became the first driver in the series to break the 350 km/h barrier (350.1), beating Lucas di Grassi’s 345.6 km/h in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in 2015. (Note that Roger Dorchey got to 400km/h in the WM Peugeot in 1988. Now 350km/h with chicanes is a fantastic achievement! ed)
• Former Le Mans winner and 2-time World Endurance Champion, Brendon Hartley, made his first official appearance for Toyota Gazoo Racing, completing the minimum laps required to qualify to race in the event of any issue for one of the team’s regular race drivers. The New Zealander will compete for the team next season in place of Fernando Alonso. (Welcome back Brendan. We’re glad you got to do some F1, but now back to some great endurance racing! ed)
• The new temporary pits between the end of the existing pit lane and the Module Sportif won’t be numbered but will be called A and B. They were formally opened by ACO President Pierre Fillon at the weekend and will be used by United Autosports’ pair of LMP2 Ligiers. The structures are entirely temporary, the 5-metre high walls built on either side being a planning requirement to protect both the pits complex and the race control building from any fire threat. (We are looking forward to the new pit lane garages due in a few years that will take on a variety of emerging fuel technologies and hopefully, more cars. But 62 is pretty fantastic. ed)
Toyota’s 2018 winners Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso led the way ahead of their team mates and quickest of the non-hybrid entries, the No.1 Rebellion Racing.
The top 12 LMGTE Pro cars (including five different manufacturers) were separated by less than one second with Corvette Racing on top, only two tenths of a second separated the leading LMP2 contenders – Jackie Chan DC Racing and DragonSpeed, and a miniscule 0.073 seconds separated the top three fastest crews in LMGTE Am at the end of today’s test, all Ferrari 488s.
For all times from today’s official test day CLICK HERE
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By Paul Foster
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