Le Mans 2015, June 14-15

TornadoRed

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LMP1 is all we really care about, right?

The entry list:
#1 TOYOTA RACING - TOYOTA TS 040 - HYBRID - Anthony DAVIDSON, Sébastien BUEMI, Kazuki NAKAJIMA
#2 TOYOTA RACING - TOYOTA TS 040 - HYBRID - Alexander WURZ, Stéphane SARRAZIN, Mike CONWAY

#4 TEAM BYKOLLES

#7 AUDI SPORT TEAM JOEST - AUDI R18 E-TRON QUATTRO - Marcel FÄSSLER, André LOTTERER, Benoit TRELUYER
#8 AUDI SPORT TEAM JOEST - AUDI R18 E-TRON QUATTRO - Lucas DI GRASSI, Loic DUVAL, Oliver JARVIS
#9 AUDI SPORT TEAM JOEST - AUDI R18 E-TRON QUATTRO - Filipe ALBUQUERQUE, Marco BONANOMI, René RAST

#12 REBELLION RACING - REBELLION R-ONE - AER - Nicolas PROST, Nick HEIDFELD, Mathias BECHE
#13 REBELLION RACING - REBELLION R-ONE - AER - Alexandre IMPERATORI, Dominik KRAIHAMER, Daniel ABT

#17 PORSCHE TEAM - PORSCHE 919 HYBRID - Timo BERNHARD, Mark WEBBER, Brendon HARTLEY
#18 PORSCHE TEAM - PORSCHE 919 HYBRID - Romain DUMAS, Neel JANI, Marc LIEB
#19 PORSCHE TEAM - PORSCHE 919 HYBRID - Nico HÜLKENBERG, Earl BAMBER, Nick TANDY

#21 NISSAN MOTORSPORTS - NISSAN GT-R LM NISMO
#22 NISSAN MOTORSPORTS - NISSAN GT-R LM NISMO
#23 NISSAN MOTORSPORTS - NISSAN GT-R LM NISMO

I've not listed the drivers for Team Bykolles or Nissan Motorsports. but you can look them up here if you are interested: http://www.24h-lemans.com/wpphpFich...du-mans/entry-list-24-heures-du-mans-2015.pdf

Interesting facts/factoids:
1) Toyota is only running two cars and is not expected to be as fast as Audi or Porsche. Porsche is fastest in practice and probably will take the pole -- maybe even the top three spots!

2) Toyota, Audi, and Porsche all have very experienced drivers.

3) Nico Hulkenberg is taking advantage of the off-week in the Formula One schedule to race at Le Mans for Porsche. But the #17 Porsche has both Timo Bernhardt and Mark Webber, so that is the car Porsche is pinning its hopes on, if it can go the distance. #18 also has top drivers, but I am not familiar with Hulkenberg's teammates in #19.

4) I am going to predict that Porsche will not have as many mechanical problems as in the past -- but that reliability issues will still cost Porsche the win. I am going to predict an Audi win, with Audi also taking either 2nd or 3rd.

In other news, Ford will announce Friday that it will return to Le Mans in 2016, but in the GTE class and not LMP1.
 

bhtooefr

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Porsche's also broken the lap record for this track configuration (set by Peugeot) in QP1, for what it's worth.

Everyone's predicting that Porsche's speed is only relevant in qualifying, and they'll be slower in the actual race. Still, Toyota does not have pace.

Also, Nissan is totally a bunch of backmarkers, and it's sad. (There's an LMP2 car faster than their fastest car.) They're getting top speeds on the Mulsanne that are equivalent to Porsche and Audi, though. (Porsche's pulling away from Audi on the straights due to presumably putting more power down, but then the top speeds are the same. Porsche's destroying Nissan in the corners (2 seconds faster through the Porsche Curves), Audi's faster than Porsche through them.)
 
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TornadoRed

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2015 Le Mans 24 Hours starting grid:

1 #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid
2 #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid
3 #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid
4 #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro
5 #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro
6 #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro
7 #2 Toyota Racing - Toyota TS040 Hybrid
8 #1 Toyota Racing - Toyota TS040 Hybrid
9 #12 Rebellion Racing - Rebellion R-One AER
10 #13 Rebellion Racing - Rebellion R-One AER
 

dremd

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Subscribed; I'm sure there will be good stuff here.
 

TornadoRed

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There should be a number of free live streaming sites, and of course Radio LeMans.
 

RedInk

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Remaining time : 21 : 08 : 24 => Audi #8 involved in car accident :-(
Got a new nose and the sweet bird is flying again.
Pity from the lost time against the Porches. :-(
 
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bhtooefr

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Filipe Albuquerque has set the all time in-race lap record in Audi #9, at 3:17.647.

I'd like to note that the previous record was 3:18.4, set by Jackie Oliver in 1971 in a Porsche 917. Without the chicanes on the Mulsanne.

Did someone forget to tell Audi that qualifying was Wednesday and Thursday, not Saturday and Sunday?
 
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TornadoRed

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Filipe Albuquerque has set the all time in-race lap record in Audi #9, at 3:17.647.

I'd like to note that the previous record was 3:18.4, set by Jackie Oliver in 1971 in a Porsche 917. Without the chicanes on the Mulsanne.

Did someone forget to tell Audi that qualifying was Wednesday and Thursday, not Saturday and Sunday?
He must have had a clear track with no slower cars in his way.

For reference, the #18 Porsche had the top qualifying time of 3:16.887.
 

TornadoRed

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This has been an amazingly trouble-free race so far. The safety car has been out once or twice, but for shorter periods than in previous years. The top LMP1 cars have been cranking out the laps, the Audi #7 currently leading #19 Porsche by about 10 seconds, #9 Audi about one minute back, #17 Porsche two minutes back, and #8 Audi down one lap.
 

TornadoRed

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It's a beautiful morning at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Nico Huldenberg in the #19 Porsche still in first, Audis 2nd and 3rd. Mark Weber in the #17 Porsche in fourth, and Di Grassi's Audi in fifth. Still anyone's race -- well, not Toyota's or Rebellion's.
 

TornadoRed

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Marcel Fassler in the #7 Audi has left the pits after his car spent over 6 minutes in the garage, repairing some unknown problem. That knocked #7 down to fifth place, the other Audis in 2nd and 4th.

All the factory cars from Porsche, Audi, and Toyota are still running, though the Toyotas are many laps behind.
 

TornadoRed

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The #96 Aston Martin Vantage crashed heavily and the safety car is out (4th safety car). René Rast in the #9 Audi, in second place, is behind the same safety car as Hulkenberg in the first place Porsche #19, leading Hulkenberg but nearly a lap down. Which sucks.

No word on the condition of the Aston driver Roland Goethe.

Edit: I don't know if there are two safety cars on the course or three. But instead of 3m20s laps they are running about 7m45s, and those who pit now are forced to wait at the end of pit road for the next safety car to go past. So it can cost a driver at least 3 minutes, and Hulkenberg's crew is waiting for him to pit. So René Rast should catch up if #19 pits under the yellow safety car.

Edit: and #19 is in the pits, briefly behind the wall, but now waiting at the end of pit road. Nick Tandy is the new driver in #19.
 
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bhtooefr

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They run 3 safety cars, I believe.

#9 has had hybrid system issues, and #7 stole #9's all-time in-race lap record. André Lotterer got a 3:17.475.
 

TornadoRed

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What can be said, except that the ACO has finally tweaked the rules so that the turbodiesels can almost but not quite win. The years of diesel dominance have come to an end.

A more generous appraisal would be: Porsche won with both speed and reliability. The eight factory cars all finished in the top eight spots, and 8th-place Toyota #1 was only nine laps back of the winner. The 395 laps completed by the winner was only two less than the record from 2010.
 

bhtooefr

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I'd say they've gotten the performance balance correct, at least between a 4 MJ hybrid diesel and a 8 MJ hybrid turbo gasoline engine. Actually, that might indicate a slight diesel bias, seeing as a 4 MJ-class car should end up a bit worse off than an 8 MJ-class car.

Audi had the pace, even a bit more race pace than Porsche (although it fell off at night for whatever reason, but they did a setup tweak mid-race to fix that), despite Porsche's blisteringly fast qualifying run. What they didn't have was reliability. Porsche had that, Porsche won.

It's not a gas/diesel balance issue, it's simply Porsche out-Audi-ing Audi.
 

bhtooefr

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Toyota simply got caught out by Porsche and Audi's pace of engine development (easier to get more power out of a turbo engine than a NA engine), and didn't have the pace, so their strategy was to drive around, not break down, and hope Porsche and Audi had problems - basically, the old Audi strategy when they've had a slower car.

The first two parts worked - they did drive around, and one of their cars had no problems, the other only had one mistake that wasn't devastating - but the third part didn't work, because Porsche didn't have significant problems, and Audi didn't have enough significant problems. Toyota #2 ran a "perfect race", just not fast enough.
 
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TornadoRed

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Regarding the winning Porsche team, the individual drivers should receive due tribute:

Nico Hulkenberg, accomplished Formula One driver, was racing in only his second sports car race; the first was Spa last month. This was his first time ever competing at Le Mans.

Nick Tandy had raced at Le Mans in 2011 and 2014, in the GTE Pro class. He was on Hulkenberg's team at Spa, in his first run in the LMP1 class.

Earl Bamber raced Porsches in GT3 competitions in 2013 and 2014. This was his first time racing at Le Mans and Spa was his first time driving an LMP1 racing car.

The drivers on the other two Porsche teams were all far more experienced than those driving the #19. Yet the team of relative newbies was the one that won it all.
 

wxman

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What can be said, except that the ACO has finally tweaked the rules so that the turbodiesels can almost but not quite win. The years of diesel dominance have come to an end....
I agree.

It appears that the 2015 regulations allow an increase in the fuel capacity of the petrol vehicles by 1.4 liters (66.9 liters in 2014 to 68.3 liters in 2015) and deceased the fuel capacity of the diesel vehicles by 0.6 liters (54.8 liters in 2014 to 54.2 liters in 2015).
 
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