Category Archives: Le Mans

2013 24 Hours of Le Mans Wrap-Up

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The 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans is in the books, and it produced exciting racing right down to the final hour. The headlines going into the 24 hour race was Audi vs. Toyota in LM P1 and the return of the SRT Viper in LM GTE Pro. While the Audi vs. Toyota battles were great, the Viper story was not as great. Both Viper’s finished the race, but they finished 8th and 9th. The Vipers pitted more often than most teams leading me to believe the V10s were very thirsty. Team Corvette did not have a great day either finishing 4th and 7th.

The death of Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen early in the race left a somber feeling in the garage area, but the race continued. Team Aston Martin did well with car #97 finishing 3rd in LM GTE Pro.

The overall winner of the race, and winners of LM P1, was the #2 Audi. This was Audi’s fourth overall win in a row and their twelfth overall win. Drivers of the #2 car were Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, and Loic Duval. The win was Kristensen’s ninth career win at Le Mans. They were followed by the #8 Toyota and #3 Audi. In LM P2, The #35 Morgan Nissan won followed by the #24 Morgan Nissan and the #26 Oreca Nissan.

In LM GTE Pro the #92 Porsche 911 RSR followed by their teammates in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR. The #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 rounded out the top 3. And in LM GTE Am, the #76 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR won followed by the #55 Ferrari 458 Italia and the #61 Ferrari 458 Italia.

For the full results of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, click here.

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24 Hours of Le Mans Reaches Half Way

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The 81st running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans just passed 12 hours. The first half of the race has provided some great racing, and, unfortunately, tragedy. Aston Martin’s Allan Simonsen died as a result of injuries received in a crash on the fourth lap of the race. Team Aston Martin has continued to race at the request of his family. They currently lead in LM GTE Pro.

With 12 hours remaining, there is still a lot of racing to go. They are now in the night phase of the race and will have plenty of daylight tomorrow before the race is complete. The SRT and Corvette teams are struggling, but there is a long way to go. You can follow along on SPEED or access the full leader board by clicking here.

The current top 5 in each racing group are as follows:

LM P1

1. #2 Audi

2. #8 Toyota

3. #7 Toyota

4. #3 Audi

5. #13 Lola Toyota

LM P2

1. #35 Morgan – Nissan

2. #24 Morgan – Nissan

3. #38 Zytek – Nissan

4. #42 Zytek – Nissan

5. #46 Oreca – Nissan

LM GTE Pro

1. #99 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

2. #92 Porsche 911 RSR

3. #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

4. #91 Porsche 911 RSR

5. #51 Ferrari 458

LM GTE Am

1. #76 Porsche 911 GT3

2. #55 Ferrari 458

3. #61 Ferrari 458

4. #77 Porsche 911 GT3

5. #88 Porsche 911 GT3

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Allan Simonsen Killed in Le Mans Crash

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Danish driver Allan Simonsen has died as a result of injuries he suffered in a crash in the first hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Simonsen, 34, was regarded as a talented endurance racer and raced in a number of racing series including Le Mans, V8 Supercars, and the British GT Championship. This was his seventh start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Simonsen’s family has asked the Aston Martin teams to carry on in his memory. Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw said in a statement: “On behalf of all of us at Aston Martin Racing, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the individuals, and families whose friends or loved ones were involved in today’s terrible tragedy.”

My sincerest sympathies go out to his family and friends.

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SRT Viper Returns to Le Mans

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The 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin in a few hours, and for the first time in over 10 years, the SRT Viper will be part of the field. SRT Racing has entered two Viper GTS-Rs in the LM GTE Pro category. Viper fans, myself included, are hoping the Viper teams can recreate their successes at Le Mans. The Viper won its class in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

The SRT Viper GTS-R has been running in the American Le Mans Series this season and has had some success this season with the No. 91 Viper GTS-R finishing every race in the top-5. Gary Johnson, SRT racing manager has said, “Our plan is to be as competitive as we can and see what happens at the end.”

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Despite a slew of rule changes since the Viper last raced at Le Mans, expectations are high for the team. SRT has brought a talented group of drivers including Dominik Farnbacher, Ryan Dalziel, and Marc Goossens in the No. 53 Viper GTS-R. Drivers of the No. 93 Viper GTS-R are Tommy Kendall, Jonathan Bomarito, and Kuno Wittmer.

Follow SRT Racing on their website and their YouTube Channel where they produce the Beyond the Checkered Flag Series.

Coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins at 8:30 AM Eastern on Speed.

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24 Hours of Le Mans Spotter Guides

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The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a race that only occurs once a year, and racing enthusiasts from all over the world tune in to watch their favorite manufacturer or driver compete. The announcers for the race will talk about a number of drivers, teams, and turns in the race track. It can be hard to keep everything straight. So to help out, Andy Blackmore has released a Spotter Guide to assist those at the track  for the fans watching at home. I have included these guides in full resolution for you to follow along with the greatest endurance race in the world.

I am looking forward to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I support SRT Motorsports and their SRT Viper GTS-Rs, but I would not too upset if the Corvette took home the trophy for the LM GTE Pro class of cars. Both Corvette and Viper have faired well at Le Mans in the past, and with both competing in 2013, American engineering is well represented.

2013 24 Hours of Le Mans Spotter Guides

(Click Image for Full Size)

Track Layout

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Prototype Models

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GT Models

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Key for the Spotter’s Guide

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90th 24 Hours of Le Mans Begins Tomorrow

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The 90th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins tomorrow morning. The historic race brings the biggest names in the auto world and racing world to the historic Circuit de la Sarthe in France. This year Ferrari, Audi, Lotus, Aston Martin, and Corvette will be joined by two new SRT Viper GTS-Rs. The Viper has had success at the 24 Hour race in the past, but has been absent from the field for over ten years. The Viper won the GTS class in 1998, 1999, and 2000 before leaving the series. The field (pictured above) is divided into four classes: LM P1, LM P2, LM GTE Pro, and LM GTE Am. For a full list of entries, click here.

I love this race because it tests  the reliability of the racing technology used by the teams. Most race series run their equipment for 2 – 3 hours, but a 24 hour race is the ultimate test of endurance, both on equipment and personnel.

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Coverage of the ultimate endurance race will be on Speed and Speed.com. The full schedule of coverage is listed below. Note: all times are Eastern.

 

Saturday, June 22

  • Le Mans 24 Hours (Start) 8:30am-2pm (SPEED TV)
  • Le Mans 24 Hours 2-4pm (SPEED.com)
  • Le Mans 24 Hours 4pm-7pm (SPEED)
  • Le Mans 24 Hours 7-7:30pm (SPEED.com)
  • Le Mans 24 Hours 7:30pm-Midnight (SPEED)

Sunday, June 23

  • Le Mans 24 Hours (Finish) Midnight-9:30am (SPEED)

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SRT Viper to Compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans

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SRT Racing has accepted an invitation to run two SRT Viper GTS-Rs in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The race will be held June 22 – 23 at the historic track. The cars will be driven by Marc Goossens, Tommy Kendall, Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher and Jonathan Bomarito. Other drivers and team members will be announced in the future. The 2013 entries will be a part of the LM GTE Pro Class. 

The Viper has a winning history at Le Mans with both cars finishing at the top of their class in 1998, 1999, and 2000. The new Viper GTS-R made its debut last season in the American Le Mans Series. Both cars are also scheduled to run the full 2013 ALMS season.

See the full announcement from Chrysler/SRT below:

De Retour! Viper set for Return to 24 Heures du Mans With SRT Motorsports

Two factory-supported SRT Viper GTS-Rs will compete in famous 24-hour endurance race in France in June

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — It’s official: Viper will return this year to the stage of some of its most impressive past road racing performances – the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.

SRT Motorsports today accepted an invitation from the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) to field two SRT Viper GTS-Rs in the LM GTE Pro class of the 2013 24 Heures du Mans, June 22-23, officially returning the Viper sports car to one of the most prestigious automobile endurance races in the world.

The Viper finished one-two at the 24 Heures du Mans in GTS class competition three consecutive years – 1998 to 2000.

“Racing is truly a part of the illustrious history of Viper and a proving ground for the SRT brand,” said Ralph Gilles , President and CEO – Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. “Historically the Viper GTS-R has enjoyed great success at Le Mans, so we couldn’t be more excited and proud to accept the challenge to return to France and continue composing the next chapter in the history of Viper racing at such an historic venue.”

Beth Paretta , Director of Marketing and Operations – SRT Brand and Motorsports, and SRT Motorsports driver Marc Goossens were on hand at today’s press conference in Paris to officially accept the invitation.

“The new SRT Viper GTS-R represents a rebirth for us in road racing by bringing an elevated level of technical sophistication to the track,” Paretta said. “The invitation to return to the 24 Heures du Mans gives SRT Motorsports and the SRT Viper GTS-R the opportunity to compete on a stage with the best sports car teams from around the world.”

SRT Motorsports teamed with Riley Technologies, based in Mooresville, N.C., on the design-and-build process of the SRT Viper GTS-R. Two identically prepared cars returned to competition last year at Mid-Ohio, the first of four test-and-tune races in preparation for a full 2013 schedule in the GT class in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron .

In addition to Goossens, drivers returning to the SRT Motorsports lineup for 2013 will be Tommy Kendall , Kuno Wittmer , Dominik Farnbacher and Jonathan Bomarito . Additional team announcements will be revealed at a later date.

The Viper’s successful racing heritage began in 1996 with its first racing entry, the original GTS-R, which earned five international GT championships and the 1997 to 1999 FIA GT championships in addition to the three consecutive one-two finishes at the 24 Heures du Mans in the GTS class.

The Viper posted an amazing overall win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2000 – the first for a production-based American car. Viper also captured GTS class and driver’s championships in ALMS competition in 1999 along with the series’ class, manufacturer’s and driver’s championship in 2000 before retiring from the series.

About SRT and SRT Motorsports
The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its performance roots.

The SRT lineup in the 2013 model year features five vehicles that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. The Chrysler 300 SRT8, Dodge Challenger SRT8 392, Dodge Charger SRT8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 are joined by the SRT flagship Viper and Viper GTS models, which are making their highly anticipated return to the high-performance sports car market.

The engineering expertise within SRT extends well beyond its high-performance street vehicles. Technical support for the Chrysler Group’s various racing programs is provided by the astute engineers at SRT Motorsports, where lessons learned on the race track directly translate to improved vehicles for the company’s customers.

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