The Race Week leading up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans has already begun, with the scrutineering and administrative checks held from June 7 to 8, 2015. All 56 cars that are taking part in the race this year have been inspected and declared fit for the race on Saturday.
Of the 56 cars participating in the race, 34 are competing in the entire FIA World Endurance Racing Championship season. Notable cars in the LMP1 category belong to reigning champion Audi, 16-time Le Mans winner Porsche and Toyota whose TS040 Hybrids were the last LMP1 cars to be showcased at the scrutineering event. Nissan too has thrown its hat in the ring with its GT-R LM Nismo competing in the LMP1 category.
Of the 19 cars entered in the LMP2 category, ten are temporary competitors in the FIA WEC. Nine of the 19 cars have come from the European Le Mans â€“ one of the three series in â€˜endurance pyramidâ€™, all of which are organised by the motor racing club, ACO (Automobile Club de lâ€™Ouest).
Apart from being a technical and administrative inspection of the cars, the scrutineering event is something of spectacle. Held at the Place de la RÃ©publique, in the Town Centre at Le Mans, motorsport fans gather in droves to watch the Le Pesage, (â€˜the weighingâ€™) as itâ€™s popularly called. A car that had no trouble grabbing eyeballs was the Vantage GTE from Aston Martin â€“ bearing dynamic looking livery designed by German artist Tobias Rehberger.
Two Taiwanese Porsches (No 67 and No 68) in the LM GTE Amateur category set the ball rolling for the second day of the scrutineering. The Ligier JS P2 from Oak Racing (No 34) and two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs were the other cars that pulled in crowds.
The action continues on Wednessday, June 10 at the practice session from 4pm to 8pm (7:30pm to 10:30pm IST) followed by Qualifying at 10pm (1:30am IST). The race will begin 3pm (7:30pm IST) this Saturday, June 13 at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
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24 Hours of Le Mans All 56 teams are fit to race!
|Le Mans, 08 June 2015:The 56 cars entered for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans have all passed the scrutineering checks with flying colours. The second day of administrative and technical checks was bathed in sunshine and once again drew the crowds.
This Monday 8 June, thirty-four cars were called in for administrative checks and scrutineering. There were a number of highlights throughout the day but let's first take a look at the how this year's teams got here!
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the pivotal race on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar, and all points scored by competitors here count double. The race is the third round of the year, after the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. This year, 34 of the entrants at Le Mans are also competing for the full FIA WEC season.
The Le Mans Series in the United States was founded in 1998. It was originally known as the ALMS (American Le Mans Series) but later became the Tudor United Sportscar Championship. In 2004, the European Le Mans Series was created, followed by the Asian Le Mans Series more recently. With these three series, the ACO has gradually built the so-called 'endurance pyramid', with the 24 Hours of Le Mans set firmly at the pinnacle.
In LM P1, eleven of the cars entered are also competing in the full FIA World Endurance Championship. Car manufacturers who are officially listed are entitled to enter a third car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. While Audi, Porsche and Nissan have all chosen to do so, Toyota has come to Le Mans with just the two cars it fields in the world championship season.
In LM P2, there are 19 entries, ten of which are non-permanent FIA WEC competitors. Among these ten, all but one of them drive in the European Le Mans Series.
Oak Racing's Ligier JS P2 no.34 owes its entry to its title in the Asian Le Mans Series championship in 2014.
For LM GTE Pro, most teams are also entered in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Only the two Chevrolet Corvettes compete in the American championship (TUSC).
Finally, among the 14 cars entered in LM GTE Am, seven come from FIA WEC, two from the Tudor United Sportcar Championship (no. 53 and 62), two from the Asian Le Mans Series (no. 67 and 68) and three from the European Le Mans Series (no. 55, 61 and 66).
For this second day of scrutineering, the crowds got taken on something resembling a world tour. The three cars from the Asian Le Mans Series set the ball rolling this morning at 10am, with the two Taiwanese Porsches no. 67 and no. 68 for Team AAI and Oak Racing's Ligier JS P2 no. 34.
Then we moved continent as the three Russian cars for SMP Racing were up next. The two LM GTE Pro official Porsche 911 RSR brought us back to Europe, and gave us a taster of their three LM P1 counterparts due to appear in the afternoon. We then crossed the Atlantic when the American competitors came under the scrutineering spotlight, with the Ferrari no. 62, Viper no. 53, and the Ligier JS P2 â€“ HPD no. 30 and no. 31.
The afternoon session brought us back to Europe, and to Germany more specifically, with the presentation of the three Porsche 919 Hybrids, eagerly awaited for by the crowds. This dash back across the Atlantic mirrored the journey made by Nico Hulkenberg ( Porsche no. 19), who arrived in Le Mans this morning after finishing eighth in the F1 Canadian Grand Prix yesterday!
We then made a stopover in France with the Alpine A450B no. 36, before crossing the Channel with Aston Martin Racing and its five cars. They caused quite a stir when they revealed this year's Le Mans art car livery, proudly sported by their no. 97. The design by German artist Tobias Rehberger is totally unique in that it conveys a real sense of motion, even when the car is standing still.
We were then off to Japan with the Toyota TS040 Hybrids, the final LM P1 cars to take to the stage. Next, it was across the Pacific with American Corvette Racing and their two Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.
To round off this 83rd scrutineering session, the five Ferraris entered by AF Corse filed through the checks, followed by the last car up today, Krohn Racing's Ligier JS P2 with its distinctive green livery.
Le Mans Race Week continues tomorrow with the drivers' briefing session followed by the official group photo of all 168 drivers, scheduled for 11.30am. At 5pm, the drivers will be out to meet fans at the big autograph session held in front of the garages, in the pit lane open to the public (*). Action will start on the track on Wednesday 10 June with free practice from 4pm till 8pm then qualifying from 10pm to midnight. According to the forecasts, the track should stay dry although there may be the odd shower on Wednesday evening.
The four official manufacturers entered in the prestigious LM P1 class have already given us a glimpse of the battle that will be fought out on the track.