2017 24 hours of Le Mans

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airkooledchris
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2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:52 am

Well, it's that time of year again and here is my take on this year's 24 hours of Le Mans event coming up this weekend.

LMP1 - in this class it's all about Toyota trying to get the overall win what happened last year. If you don't already know, here is a breakdown of the events:
"They ran a perfect race. Their two TS050s came to Le Mans with pace that surprised their competitors, their fuel mileage got them into the lead as the sun rose, and an incredible drive by all three of the pilots of the #5 gave them a 30 second lead that they maintained for the race's final four hours. Porsche put everything into their #2 919 Hybrid, and when they had to stop for fuel an extra time with ten minutes to go, they knew the race was over even if things went slightly wrong for the Toyota. What they didn't know is that things would go more than slightly wrong for Toyota.

With six minutes left, the #5 showed its first sign of weakness of the race. The car that had stayed steady all race long and didn't move into the lead over the #2 and its sister #6 until the last quarter of the race seemed bulletproof, not entering the garage once.

Then, it slowed on the Mulsanne. At first it seemed to be a minor malfunction, that the car could limp home over the last five minutes and its 70 second lead would be a big enough margin to secure a win.

With four minutes left, the car slowed further. The Porsche caught quickly, and a loss became inevitable. With three minutes left, the car simply stopped as it ran across the start-finish line, where it was immediately overwhelmed by the 919 Hybrid. The car's race ended on the last lap, just as the would-be leader crossed the start finish line, and a sure victory would instead be a heartbreaking defeat."

So far this year there have been just two races with the Porsche and Toyota battling. Porsche has been running their low downforce package for each race to prep for Le Mans, while Toyota had been running their high downforce package at the first two races as that's what was nessesary to win those races. Now that everyone is running low downforce for the LeSarth track, Toyota is still faster.

They just put in a lap time of 3:14.791 in Q2 today, which is QUICK.

As they learned last year though, you have to be ready to battle for the entire 24 hours. If you only make it 23.5 hours, it's not good enough anymore.

LMP2 - this class changed a lot over the last year, with everyone running the same Gibson engine's now, and only 4 chassis manufacturers to choose from. everyone running an Oreca based chassic has a big advantage, as they got the aero package designed much better than the others. The slowest Oreca is still quicker than all other LMP2 chassis.

GTPRO - Ford GT Vs Corvette Vs Porsche 911 Vs Aston Martin Vs Ferrari - it honestly doesn't get any better than this class when it comes to racing. Anyone can take it this year now that they pegged the Ford's back a little. Last year Ford sandbagged to avoid a BOP adjustment and then were 3 seconds faster come race time.

GTAM - There's too many good stories to start listing them all. The Proton racing No 93 with American factory Porsche driver Pat Long will be the one I am rooting for here.

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and this year's art car is from the French team Larbre Competition, who have always ran ex GTPRO Corvette's:

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Friends are on their way into town as we speak, and I will be up for the entire event again. Haven't missed any part of it for years now.

Cheers!
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:24 pm

"They just put in a lap time of 3:14.791 in Q2 today, which is QUICK. "

When I said that, I was still at work. I didn't have a chance to process it fully, and now realize that time destroyed the old lap record set by Porsche in 2015!
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by tommu » Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:54 pm

The BBC made a very powerful documentary of the 1955 Le Mans disaster: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F3iAkmwyEMA
A reminder of how perlilous motor racing was and can be. Since watching it - it's always on my mind when I watch Le Mans. In fact one of the things I miss most about England is being in the right timezone for F1, WRC and motoracing.

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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:23 am

It's been crazy so far Toyota broke and now with 4 hours to go the leading Porsche just broke.

LMP2 cars will be on the overall podium!
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:37 pm

tommu wrote:
Fri Jun 16, 2017 3:54 pm
The BBC made a very powerful documentary of the 1955 Le Mans disaster: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F3iAkmwyEMA
A reminder of how perlilous motor racing was and can be. Since watching it - it's always on my mind when I watch Le Mans. In fact one of the things I miss most about England is being in the right timezone for F1, WRC and motoracing.


These new cars are looking more and more like Transformers.
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(my uncle was in the pits when that Mercedes hurtled into the crowd)
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:00 pm

This year it was endurance racing back to it's roots - who can finish the race without making any mistakes on the track AND have their equipment survive for the entire race.

Clutches went bad, hyrbid systems failed, drivers went way too fast with a flat tire and ruined their cars before getting back to the pits.
Nobody in the top class was without issues.

The #2 Porsche won overall, and found themselves P56 out of a 60 card field early in the race. They earned this win.
Corvette lost a heartbreaker on the last lap when Jordon Taylor just couldn't keep it in front of the Aston Martin and took it through a gravel trap at nearly 100MPH (and suffered a flat shortly thereafter.)

Rebellion racing looked good for LMP2, but Jackie Chan racing went flawlessly and maintained that through the race. The leading P2 car also finished on the OVERALL podium due to so many issues with the LMP1 cars this year. I have never seen that since I started following the 24.

GTE-AM was won by this plucky little Ferrari that simply never put a wheel wrong for the entire event. They weren't quite as fast as the AM Aston Martin, but they maintained their speed without any repairs needed until the end - truly a perfect event for them.

It'll be interesting going forward, to see if Toyota keeps trying. It was Porsche's 19th overall win and Toyota's 19th attempt at getting their 1st.
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:43 am

One part of the race I had to have a chuckle at - was the #13 Rebellion LMP2 car, which had starter issues. They had to bang on the solenoid at each pit stop in order to be able to start it again.

The bad news is that they had to remove the rear bodywork to do it, so eventually they just put a hole where they needed access to the starter where they could tap the solenoid and restart the car without having to remove the bodywork. This made for an unapproved piece of bodywork and cost them their spot on the LMP2 podium when it was reviewed after the race completed. They might have had some leeway with that decision if they weren't caught covering the hole up when the car was parked in 'parc ferme' after the race - where you are NOT allowed to touch it anymore.
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by Happyfolk » Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:47 pm

airkooledchris wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:52 am
GTPRO - Ford GT Vs Corvette Vs Porsche 911 Vs Aston Martin Vs Ferrari - it honestly doesn't get any better than this class when it comes to racing. Anyone can take it this year now that they pegged the Ford's back a little. Last year Ford sandbagged to avoid a BOP adjustment and then were 3 seconds faster come race time.
The finish for GTPRO was pretty good. The Aston Martin passed the Corvette in the last lap but the Corvette immediate passed again and retook the lead. Then shortly after the Corvette cut a corner through some gravel and punctured the driver's side front tire, slowing it down and allowing the Aston Martin to win. Not sure if the tire puncture happened during the passes or when it cut the corner through the gravel. It looked like the Corvette had it won.
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Wed Jun 21, 2017 7:21 pm

That Aston was faster at the end, it was everything that Jordon Taylor could do to try and stay in front of him. He ran too quick into that turn and had to use the gravel trap. Unfortunately that is where he picked up the flat tire, otherwise he might have been able to hang onto second and not dropped all the way down to third.

It was great to see that Vette back on the podium either way, after they missed running the race last year with Jan Magnussen dumping it into the wall on a warmup lap.

Toyota will be back again next year, they already announced it. It's really just a matter of time before they get their overall win, as they have had the quicker car at every event so far this year. They just need to work on the ability to repair their vehicles faster. If they had gotten that #8 back out on track in an hour instead of two, they would have had their overall victory. The #2 Porsche broke just as bad, but they were able to get theirs back on track within an hour.
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by hippiewannabe » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:19 pm

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. If they hadn't socked the Ford GT with a 20 kg penalty at the last minute, and if the 'Vette had held off the Aston Martin, it coulda been Ford and Chevy 1-2 at Le Mans.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zokyyjTGSqE
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:26 pm

hippiewannabe wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:19 pm
Shoulda, woulda, coulda. If they hadn't socked the Ford GT with a 20 kg penalty at the last minute, and if the 'Vette had held off the Aston Martin, it coulda been Ford and Chevy 1-2 at Le Mans.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zokyyjTGSqE
The Ford still finished on the podium, so it's hard to say it really had that bad of an effect on them. The reduction in boost pressure is what killed the speed out of those cars though. I don't feel bad for them, as it's not even a legal car as they still haven't and never will meet the homologation requirements for that car. It's more of a purpose built prototype that they are trying to pass off as a passenger vehicle - just enough to get the ACO off their back. You can actually go out and buy an Aston/911/Vette tomorrow if you wanted to.

I was rooting hard for the GM boys, but don't care much what happens with that GT as it's just a promotional tool that they threw enough money behind to get it into these races. They got their class win last year, which was fair for how much they spent and how many fans they helped bring back in. Now they have to earn it like everyone else.

The reduction in boost pressure and added weight was done before the first practice session, so it wasn't last minute by a long shot. Last year they had extra weight added after qualifying and they still ran 4 seconds faster in the race, which confirmed the level of sandbaggery they were up to.
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by hippiewannabe » Thu Jun 22, 2017 5:18 pm

airkooledchris wrote:
Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:26 pm
The Ford still finished on the podium, so it's hard to say it really had that bad of an effect on them. The reduction in boost pressure is what killed the speed out of those cars though. I don't feel bad for them, as it's not even a legal car as they still haven't and never will meet the homologation requirements for that car. It's more of a purpose built prototype that they are trying to pass off as a passenger vehicle - just enough to get the ACO off their back. You can actually go out and buy an Aston/911/Vette tomorrow if you wanted to.

I was rooting hard for the GM boys, but don't care much what happens with that GT as it's just a promotional tool that they threw enough money behind to get it into these races. They got their class win last year, which was fair for how much they spent and how many fans they helped bring back in. Now they have to earn it like everyone else.

The reduction in boost pressure and added weight was done before the first practice session, so it wasn't last minute by a long shot. Last year they had extra weight added after qualifying and they still ran 4 seconds faster in the race, which confirmed the level of sandbaggery they were up to.

Oh come on, it either homologates or it doesn't. And it does. There are lots of supercars that are made in limited numbers, 250 is a reasonable quantity. If they had known they'd have to carry extra weight, they could have saved a lot of money using some aluminum instead of carbon fiber.

It isn't everyone's cup of tea, but some people love them:
I’ve been fortunate enough to drive a lot of exotic cars, and I believe the 2017 Ford GT is the best one yet. It’s precise in a way that few other vehicles are; it’s advanced in a way that many rival exotics will spend years trying to equal. It’s explosive, it’s fast, it’s daring—and, yes, I think it’s attractive.

But it isn’t a car you cruise in; it’s not a car you use to show off; it’s not a luxury car. This is a serious, brutal performance car for true drivers who don’t mind making compromises for an amazing driving experience on the track.

Some people would rather have their aardvark skin parking brake handles. This car is made for drivers who laugh at those people.
http://jalopnik.com/the-2017-ford-gt-ma ... 1795163360
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by airkooledchris » Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:37 pm

Of course it's a great car, they built it as a prototype style race car first and then tried to make a passenger version of it after the fact. The closest passenger model to the race car is still hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it's competitors. Again, I don't feel bad that they gave it a balance of performance adjustment.

Personally I think they should do away with BOP adjustments completely and see who can engineer a faster car within a certain set of rules. That's the only time you would really know who builds the better racecar. As it is now they just BOP everyone to make it as even as possible and then it's up to the reliability of the machine and quality of the driver lineup.
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Re: 2017 24 hours of Le Mans

Post by hippiewannabe » Fri Jun 23, 2017 8:33 pm

airkooledchris wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:37 pm
Of course it's a great car, they built it as a prototype style race car first and then tried to make a passenger version of it after the fact. The closest passenger model to the race car is still hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it's competitors. Again, I don't feel bad that they gave it a balance of performance adjustment.

Personally I think they should do away with BOP adjustments completely and see who can engineer a faster car within a certain set of rules. That's the only time you would really know who builds the better racecar. As it is now they just BOP everyone to make it as even as possible and then it's up to the reliability of the machine and quality of the driver lineup.
Yeah, the reality is, ever since the '50's, when money could buy victories and drivers died in the process, it has been a balance between allowing the best to rise to the top, keeping a lid on costs, evening up the competition for fan interest, and safety. Formula One fans like to look down on NASCAR, but it's all the same, only a matter of degree.
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