Saturday, June 16, 2018

LE MANS: Will-Will this-this be-be Toyota's-Toyota's Year-Year - I Said, Will This be Toyota's Year, finally?



Can the "Mad Russian," (Mikhail Aleshin) Countryman Vitaly VO5' Petrov and Bloody Jense', nee Jenson Button pilot Thar' Shiny, New #11 SMP Racing's BR Engineering LMP1 Prototype to the top step of the Podium this weekend at Le Mans? (Image source: motorsport.com)
As I'm ARSE-Suming that third time's the Charm for Toyota, especially since their main competition Audi & Porsche have Quit Sports Car racing's pre-eminent class...

While the FIA has "Supersized" the 2018 World Endurance Championship's (WEC) Sports Car Season, expanding it to now encompass 2018-2019, including both year's Le Mans outing. I really Don't understand the rationalization for switching to a Winter-Summer season calendar...


As this year's field appears to have increased to 60 entries, which are perfectly split 50-50 between the Prototypes, with 10 LMP1 & 20 LMP2 entrants. While the Tintops'; Err Gran Torismo ranks see 17 GTE Pro & 13 GTE Am entrants, with the bulk of the field being comprised of the 36 WEC Season's contestants.


As this is my attempt to briefly cover the ten 'lil P1 runners', who I'd expect to win the race outright, barring reliability issues, which could be froth for this new class's first 24 Hours event...

Rebellion Racing
Country: Switzerland
Chassis: Rebellion R13
Engine: Gibson 4.5-litre Normally Aspirated V-8

Drivers
#1. Andre Lotterer, Neal Jani and Bruno Senna
#3. Mathias Beche, Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent

Obviously the No. 1 cars loaded for "Bear" with two Le Mans winners and a driver with the last name Senna.

The chassis is produced by the winning French concern ORECA, who's simply evolved upon their past LMP2 chassis for this new Non Hybrid B-I-G BOYZ' effort. While Gibson, who builds the mandatory P2 lumps', has also Super-sized their V-8 engine. As theoretically, I'd ARSE-sume that these normally aspirated V-8's will be more reliable than the new-spec turbo's.


As I'd have to pick the No. 1 car as a Dark Horse Contendah', especially with its winning driver's combination at its controls...

ByKolles Racing
Country: Austria
Chassis: Kolles CLM P1/01
Engine: Nissan 3.0-litre V-6 Turbo

Drivers
#4. Oliver Webb, Dominik Kraihamer and Tom Dillman

The only driver I know of in this entry is Tom Dillman who won the 2016 Formula V-8 3.5 series. As this chassis run by the legendous' Dr. Colin Kolles of past Midland and Hispania Formula 1 fame, is the only Privateer chassis that ran last year's World Endurance Championship in the same guise. Therefore you'd hope that reliability's upon its side.

CEFC-TRSM Racing
Country: China
Chassis: Ginetta G60-LT1
Engine: Mecachrome 3.4-litre V-6 Turbo

Drivers
#5. Charlie Robertson, Mike Simpson and Leo Roussel
#6. Oliver Rowland, Alex Brundle and Oliver Turvey

Was surprised to discover that this is actually the old, original Manor Motorsport F1 Team, now known as Manor Endurance Racing, with backing from China's TRS concern. Albeit scuttlebutt suggests that funding issues arose earlier this year, causing the team to miss the first round of the season at Spa, since reportedly they ran the Le Mans test devoid of any CEFC Deckles'


Also, at one point Dean Stoneman was slated as one of the drivers, but has subsequently left, with either Alex Brundle or more likely, Ginetta test driver Mike Simpson replacing him?


Therefore the cars will be making their WEC debut at Le Mans, for which should be a most daunting task. Along with the new Mecachrome turbo lump' not having raced in anger. So don't count on either car to go the distance.

Toyota Racing
Country: Japan
Chassis: TS050 Hybrid
Engine: 2.4-litre V-6 Turbo

Drivers
#7. (Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and José Maria Lopez
#8. Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso

As the only Factory Hybrid effort in the field, Toyota should be miles 'N miles ahead of the competition. Although the past two years have been especially cruel to the Japanese auto-maker.

but with first Audi, and then Porsche Quitting Sports Car racing, you'd have to ARSE-Sume it'll be an intra-squad Scrum for Overall Honours this year, Ci?

And whilst Fernando will be getting All of the Attenzione, and I won't have a Problema with him winning. Nevertheless, I'll be rootin' for the Seester' Toy-Yoter to win, since :K-Squared's: (Kobayashi) suffered indignantly at Le Mans, whilst Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway's a past IndyCar Driver.

DragonSpeed
Country: USA
Chassis: BR Engineering BR-1
Engine: Gibson 4.5-litre Normally Aspirated V-8

Drivers
#10. Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Renger van der Zande

This is the team for which Pietro Fittipaldi suffered his major Shunt at the Mighty Spa Francorchamps aboard earlier this May, which totally destroyed' the team's first chassis!

Thus, they've thrashed Madly to build-up a new Dallara-based car, and I'd enjoy seeing Thar' IMSA "Ringer" Renger van der Zande & Co. having a successful outing.

SMP Racing
Country: Russia
Chassis: BR Engineering BR-1
Engine: AER 2.4-litre V-6 Turbo

Drivers
#11. Mikhail Aleshin, Jenson Button and Vitaly Petrov
#17. Matevos Isaakyan, Stephane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev

You'd have to say that the team's got a fairly stout Driver line-up, albeit I've only ever heard of half of the Rooskies' on the squad. Although I don't know how competitive the car will be, or if the AER turbo unit can G-O the distance?


As the #11 has to be my sentimental favourite in the field, since I'd enjoy Aleshin smiling broadly atop thou podium, with Petrov deserving some glory too...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Racer's 2018 Le Mans Resource Guide



Y'all can check out Racer's 24 Heurs du Mans resource guide in the link below. While the race will be aired on the Velocity Channel Stateside. Or you can tune-in to Radio Le Mans via Zed Internetz' like I'll be doing instead...

LE MANS: Can It's Supporting Cast Upset the Apple Cart this Year?



Will there be an encore episode of "lesser" LMP2 machinery fighting for Overall victory again this year?

Whilst All of the Hubbaloo's being made over Toyota's New Golden Boy Fernando Alonso, which surely the WEC "Regulars" will wish to have Somme-thun' to say about that. It's worth noting that the "Second Tier" LMP2 Prototype Ranks consist of twice as many as the premiere LMP1 entrants.

And while for obvious reasons, I'm not gonna even remotely attempt covering the 50 Odd LMP2 and GTE Competitors!

But recall that last year, not only did the Jackie Chan DC Racing's LMP2 squad ultimately finish second & third overall, they also led the race with an hour remaining.

And there's many ex-Formula 1 Drivers filling the ranks, with the likes of F1 Bad Boyz' "Crashtor Walldanado," aka Pastor Maldonado & "Guido-the-Dutchman," aka Giedo van der Garde, along with F1 Castoff Will Stevens, etc.

Whilst many eyes will surely also be focused upon the All Star line-ups of United Autosports two car effort, which includes the likes of JPM, aka "Monty" or formally known as Juan Pablo Montoya, along with Paul di Resta and others.


Meanwhile, the Gran Torismo Evolozione (GTE) Tintops' ranks of 30 strong entrants in the two classes, i.e.; GTE Pro & GTE Am, feature seven entrants from the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. Featuring a "Noah's Ark" two-by-two outing from Corvette, Ford and Porsche.


As I've previously scribbled here on No Fenders about the three IndyCar Drivers making up part of The Cheepsters', nee Chip Ganassi Racing's four car Ford GT Armada...


Whilst other IMSA Weathertech Boyz' are sprinkled about the various categories, with Wayne Taylor Racing's Renger van der Zande making his rookie debut in the #10 DragonSpeed BR Engineering LMP1 entry.

Fellow IMSA DPi regular Hot Schues' Ricky Taylor will Moonlight aboard the No. 34 Ligier JS P2/17, while Felipe Nasr will co-drive the #70 Dallara P2/17 respectively, both in the LMP2 category.

and the son of that LUV-able ABC IndyCar Color Commentator Eddie-the-Mouth! Edward Cheever III will be behind the Keyboard of the No. 70 MR Racing Ferrari 488GTE in the GTE Am class.