Americans Ready for Le Mans
Americans Ready for Le Mans
As the great motorsport pendulum swings, the American teams and drivers at the 24 Hours of Le Mans are hopeful that it is on the upswing heading into the demanding 24-hour test of speed and endurance after several endured a difficult week leading up to the race.
The powerful Corvette Racing team saw its entry halved when a mechanical issue resulted in Jan Magnussen‘s banging both the inside and outside walls hard at the Porsche Curves in the No. 63 Corvette C7.R during Thursday evening’s first qualifying session.
Magnussen was uninjured, but the No. 63 Corvette C7.R was withdrawn and shipped back to the team’s Michigan base to be repaired.
The No. 64 Corvette C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor was held in the pits until the final 20 minutes of Thursday evening’s final qualifying session while the Corvette Racing team analyzed the incident. With other teams rapidly improving their lap times, the No. 64 plummeted in the GTE Pro class order, ending up last on the GTE Pro grid for the start of the race today at 3:00 p.m. local time (9:00 a.m. ET).
In the LMP2 class, the Florida-based Extreme Speed Motorsports team has battled through a series of small infractions in its Le Mans debut, with penalties for failing to observe track limits and a pit exit violation costing them their best lap times. Scott Sharp (East Norwalk, Conn.), Ryan Dalziel, and David Heinemeier Hansson are aboard the No. 30 Ligier Honda, and teammates Ed Brown (Denver, Colo.), and northern Californians Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty in the No. 31. Both cars are bringing the rock ‘n’ roll spirit to Le Mans with Rolling Stone livery this weekend.
Also in LMP2, Krohn Racing has had a quietly efficient run up to the race as Texan Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Florida’s Joao Barbosa have followed the deliberate process that has taken them to past GT podiums.
In the GTE Am class, the North Carolina-based Riley Motorsports Viper with Texan Ben Keating, Michigan’s Marc Miller and Jeroen Bleekemolen of The Netherlands has moved smartly up the grid to claim the fourth starting spot in the strong 14-car field.
Californians Patrick Dempsey and Patrick Long, joined here by Germany’s Marco Seefried, are looking to make a final step toward an elusive podium finish in their No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR after leading the GTE Am class in each of the past two years and finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Scuderia Corsa features an all-American driver lineup aboard the No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Jeff Segal – all of them rookies at Le Mans.
Other entries of note to TUDOR United Sports Car Championship fans are Seattle’s David Cheng in the No. 29 Pegasus Racing Morgan Nissan in LMP2 and the Indianapolis-based Nissan Motorsports LMP1 hybrid entries.
The Nissan hybrids have encountered a number of challenges in their LMP1 competition debut and will start at the back of the prototype line up after failing to meet the requisite percentage variance on qualifying lap times.