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24 Hours of Le Mans: Introduction to the LM GTE Pro class

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dunlop
11/06/2013
14h01

The cars in The 24 Hours of Le Mans race are divided into four classes. Introducing the LMGTE Pro class.

In four years, the lap times in LMGTE (formerly GT2) have improved by nearly ten seconds a lap! Cars that were once described as "small" GTs have now become "large" ones and are even approaching the sort of lap times achieved by the monstrous GT1. This incredible growth in power and performance is due to the fierce rivalry between the largest manufacturers of sports cars. For them, there is no publicity that can rival a victory here at Le Mans.

Entry list for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2013

 

FERRARI 458 ITALIA : EVERYTHING THEY NEED TO WIN !

n°51 - AF Corse - Bruni-Fisichella-Malucelli
n°66 - JMW Motorsport - Bertolini-Turki Alfaisal-Qubaisi
n°71 - AF Corse - Beretta-Kobayashi-Vilander

First launched in September 2009 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Ferrari 458 Italia owes its name to its engine, 45 means 4.5-litres and 8 refers to its eight-cylinders. Technically, the evolution of the 2013 race version has several discrete modifications It is Interesting to see that the JMW Motorsport Team is the only Ferrari 458 Italia in this class that is using Dunlop tires. Depending on the weather, this choice could well make a difference. As far as the drivers are concerned AF Corse remains faithful to the Ferrari specialists Fisichella, Bruni, Beretta in the No.51 car. In No.71 car Vilander and Beretta receive reinforcement in the form of Kamui Kobayashi, who came to the team from Formula 1 . There is only one downside to all this: with two cars in "Pro" plus three in "Am" as well as the No. 49 Pecom Racing LMP2 Oreca Nissan, the team of AF Corse mechanics will have to make sure their organisation is flawless!

Photo : Ferrari S.p.A. Photo : Ferrari S.p.A.

 

THE FACTORY PORSCHE 911 RSR

n°91 - Porsche AG Team  Manthey - Bergmeister-Pilet-Bernhard
n°92 - Porsche AG Team  Manthey - Lieb-Lietz-Dumas

Since its presentation at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963, the 911 has embodied the classic image of Porsche both on the road and on the track. This includes Le Mans where Porsche have raced every year since the reintroduction of the GT Class in 1993. However, despite continuous development, this race winning machine was showing its age.  Their expected return to form was when the factory formally got involved once again. This had not happened since 1998! This is their opportunity to prepare for their return to LMP1 in 2014. With this in mind it would be wrong to suggest that Porsche are here simply as a training exercise. As proof, the new GT3 RSR appeared at the test day with two high flying crews (Lieb and Lietz-Dumas Bergmeister-Pilet-Bernhard), their goal is pretty clear: they want to win!

Photo : Porsche AG Photo : Porsche AG

 

CORVETTE C6-ZR1 : THE PRAGMATIC APPROACH

n°73 - Corvette Racing - Magnussen-Garcia-Taylor
n°74 - Corvette Racing -Gavin-Milner-Westbrook

The Corvette was first launched to great acclaim on the 30th of June 1953. Since then the American sportscar icon entered our collective memories with its third generation car. The C3 remained in production until 1982 by which time GM had sold over half a million of them. Since 2001, the "race version" of the later C5 and C6 versions have claimed seven class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (GT1, GT2, GTE). After this run of eleven successive visits to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, General Motors, are here again with two entirely new cars. They will be driven by Garcia-Magnussen-Taylor and Gavin-Milner-Westbrook. Introduced in 2009 the C6 is nearing the end of its life and it will be replaced by the C7 in 2014. So is the C6 too old to win? Definitely not! Why? Because in addition to being reliable, the car remains competitive as a result of successive improvements! What is more the No. 73 car put in the fifth fastest time on test day?

Photo : Corvette Photo : Corvette

 

ASTON MARTIN V8 VANTAGE : L'HEURE DE LA RECONQUÊTE

n°97 - Aston Martin Racing - Dumbreck-Mücke-Turner
n°98 - Aston Martin Racing - Auberlen-Dalla Lana-Lamy
n°99 - Aston Martin Racing -Bell-Makowiecki-Senna

Originally, back in the fifties, the ‘Vantage’ badge simply referred to the improved version of the DB Mk II. The name Vantage appeared again in 1977, then in 2005 the V8 Vantage took over the body shape of the DB9 and became a success in endurance racing. The development of the new version was unveiled in 2008. It was hard work but the effort was not in vain. After its first victory in Zhuhai (China) at the end of last season, the car then went on to a surprising victory in Silverstone at the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in April. The car also set the two best times during the Test Day for The 24 Hours of Le Mans in early June. There isn’t much doubt that either Turner and Mücke-Dumbreck or Makowiecki-Senna-Bell could claim victory ... But how might any internal rivalries affect the outcome?

Photo : Aston Martin Photo : Aston Martin

 

CHRYSLER VIPER GTS-R: HERE TO LEARN MORE ... AND IF POSSIBLE… WIN!

The Dodge Viper was born in 1992 from Bob Lutz’s (the future CEO of Chrysler) and Carroll Shelby’s (Cobra, Ford GT 40) dream. The convertible Viper became part of the American dream for thousands of teenagers. A few years later the hard top racing version flooded onto the tracks before gradually fading away ... Until that was the announcement of their comeback in May 2012! This time, Chrysler trusted their own development team rather than specialists like Oreca. Oreca were the team that had won them three consecutive victories in the Le Mans GTS (1998-1999-2000) followed by a resounding triumph at Daytona in 2000, crossing the line ahead all the prototypes! This is now a great responsibility for the Americans, who this time have the arduous task of facing four very experienced LMGTE manufacturers. So more than ever, they must believe in the "yes we can"!

n°53 - SRT Motorsports - Dalziel-Farnbacher-Goossens
n°93 - SRT Motorsports - Bomarito-Kendall-Wittmer

Photo : Chrysler Photo : Chrysler

Julien HERGAULT / ACO

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