Le Mans Is Here!
|The GT-R LM Nismo featured on this year's Le Mans poster! Image credit: ACO|
Tomorrow is the start of the 83rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours and it promises to be one of the most interesting iterations of this legendary event in a very long time. With Nissan joining the fray in LMP1 using a very unconventional racer and strong challenges from Porsche and Toyota to the long-time dominance of Audi the sharp end of the grid will be extremely fascinating.
Unfortunately the early fears that Nissan's GT-R LMs would have a difficult race due to insufficient development time for the radical design are proving well-founded with the best of the three mired down in 12th after qualifying, twenty seconds behind the pole position lap set by the #18 Porsche. The three racecars from Stuttgart will be leading the way ahead of their three Audi rivals, then come the three Toyotas that so far have proved to be off the pace despite having a heavily revised car. Le Mans is tough for teams no matter their experience level but the first year of a new program is always a huge challenge. Factoring in a radical new design concept and it's no surprise Nissan is struggling with the GT-R LM. It'll still be interesting to see them finally run in anger and given how much interest has been generated by this car I'm sure a lot of people will be joining me in willing them to at least complete the race. Bonne chance et grand vittese Nissan!
Things look much better for the Japanese contingent in LMP2, with the class lead and 14th overall position held by the KCMG Oreca Nissan and the top six positions in the class all filled by Nissan-powered cars. A lone Honda-engined car is in seventh before two more Nissans, with a SARD-powered (essentially Toyota) entry rounding out the top ten in the class.
There are no cars from the Far East in the GTE classes but Aston Martin versus Ferrari versus Corvette versus Porsche with a solitary GTE-Am SRT Viper mixed in should prove to be interesting as always.
In the US, Fox Sports will be broadcasting the start at 9 am Eastern (7 am for me here in AZ) but their coverage idiotically bounces between Fox Sports 1 and 2 at a fairly random schedule (and only shows about half the race). Thank God for DVRs and the internetz. You can also listen to radiolemans.com or get the official app from the ACO and pay $9.99 for a live stream – chickenfeed for 24 hours of great racing especially compared to the ridiculous pay-per-view prices to watch two people try to knock each other's lights out for less than an hour.
Because of the race there won't be a new post this weekend but I'll see you guys on the other side with more GT-R info!