Thursday, June 16, 2016

LE MANS: Time to G-O Racing Once again, as will Porsche repeat in 2016?

The 2016 Ford GT racing car. (Source: images)
Blimey! Where did half of Thy FREAKIN' Year G-O Already! As hopefully I've returned Justin-time from thee Other Florence's Roadtrip in order to partake a 'Wee Bit of this year's iconic Sports Car race. Although I must confess; cannot recall if I watched any of last year's race or not?

Whilst I most definitely did not get thee Memo over Nissan's unscrupulous cancellation of its radical LMP1 programme last December 22nd; SHEISA!

Nissan pulls the Plug upon it's LMP1 program

Hence we're left with a trio less of ultra complex and technology savvy top flight LMP1 racecars this year with Nissan's withdrawal, while the sport's second-most overall winning Audi's seem quite potent this year, albeit being disqualified from victory at the season opener at Silverstone! But Audi rebounded by winning an attrition filled Spa Francorchamps race, the final round prior to Le Mans.

thus look for the Audi R18 E-tron Quattro's to potentially play a game of endurance Cat 'N Mouse, as their drivers insist they're not the quickest cars currently, ranking  themselves P3.

Meanwhile the Toyota TS050 seems quick since it held a one-lap lead at Spa before it "DONE BLOWN UP!" When Kazuki Nakajima was forced to bring the smoking Toyota onto Pitlane to retire.

And the Porsche 919's theoretically hold the upper hand regarding overall pace, provided their hybrid system doesn't go wonky! Which means we should probably look for one of its two entries upon the podium's top step come Sunday afternoon.

With Porsche's entry down from three last year apparently due to the FIA's scheduling clash with Formula 1's European Grand Prix race at Baku.

LMGTE Pro Mania...
But for Mwah, my interest is squarely focused upon the Le Mans GT "Pro" category, specifically those Uber Narly Ford GT's, which over 6,500 wealthy patrons are gleefully shilling out $450k for the road going Supercar; Aye Karumba!

As Y'all surely know by now is the basis  for FoMoCo's vaunted 50th Anniversary celebration of defeating Il Commendatore's (Enzo Ferrari) Scuderia Ferrari Stranglehold upon Circuit de la Sarthe!

Yet the Ford GT Programme, spearheaded by Chip Ganassi and his lieutenant General Mike Hall, along with their European World Endurance Championship (WEC) compatriots, 'Oh KanaDuh's Multimatic Motorsports will certainly have their hands full vs. their arch rivals.

As this year's Battle Royale will see the quartet 'O Feurds' faceoff vs.
 those BAD ARSE multi-times class winning Fly Yellow Corvette C7R's. Along with la Scuderia's (Ferrari) newest Stallion, the potent twin turbo 488GTE, whilst last but certainly not least. Y'all can never count out Porsche and its venerable 911.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK
#66) Olivier Pla; France; Stefan Mucke, Germany; Billy Johnson, USA.
#67) Marino Franchitti, UK; Andy Priaulx, UK; Harry Tincknell; UK.

I'll admit I'm really not familiar with the European WEC side of Thy Cheepsters' (Chip Ganassi) operation which reportedly is being spearheaded by Multimatic, a proven race winning Canadian organization, most notably with Scott Maxwell Me Thinks?

And the drivers are an interesting bunch with proven winners, as Yeah, that's Dario "REO Speedwagon" Franchitti's 'lil brother Marino whilst I've never heard of this Billy Johnson Cat. Although just learned he's a multi-times winner in the Continental Sports Car Challenge as well as a test driver for Ford, Multimatic and Roush Fenway Racing.

And although Mucke gave the Ford GT its first high speed race crash due to a cut tyre, which I'm ARSE-Sumin' he's fully recovered from. Nonetheless, the Seester' #67 gave Ford it's maiden WEC podium by finishing runner-up in class at Spa...

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team U.S.
#68) Joey Hand, USA; Dirk Muller, Germany; Sebastian Bourdais, France.
#69) Ryan Briscoe, Australia; Richard Westbrook, UK; Scott Dixon, New Zealand.

Although I've failed to keep track of Cheeps' Stateside Ford GT concern, for which features one of my past favourite IndyCar drivers, that Oh, So Affable 'Oz Bloke Ryan Briscoe. Nonetheless, I do know that Indy Cars Top Banana; Err Kiwi Scott Dixon made his Ford GT debut at this year's 12 Hours of Sebring, the car's second ever race outing. And will make his Le Mans debut shortly.

Hmm? Wisely, or perhaps shrewdly? Messer Floyd Ganassi has inserted le 'Hamburgular, nee SeaBass, aka Sebastain Bourdais behind the wheel of one of his four entries, since after all Monsieur Bourdais is French Wee-Wee. Hailing from some small town named Le Mans NO less!

Joey Hand's a Daemon behind the steering wheel of any Tintop, having previously raced a Works BMW in the German Touring Car series, not to mention racing Daytona Prototypes with Scotty Scooter' Pruett.

"Westie," aka Richard Westbrook's name is familiar due to his past association with rival's Corvette for which he won the 2013 12 Hours of Sebring for, and has also stood on the podium at Le Mans previously. And Richard's also a four times series champion behind the wheel of Porsche 911's.

and also know I've heard the name Dirk Muller before, probably from his winning the 2011 American Le Mans Series GT championship with somebody named Joey Hand! As Herr Muller's got massive Tintops experience with past Porsche Cup & ALMS GT titles along with having piloted rival RLLR's BMW's plus Factory DTM Saloon's.

So All-in-all, I'd say the Ford GT's driver lineup's very stout, yet as typical they'll face fierce Competizione from the likes of the Factory Backed Vettes' of Ollie Gavin, Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Tommy Milner and "The Brothers Taylor," nee Ricky & Jordan Taylor. Not to mention the lightning quick Ferrari's and those Uber dependable Porsche Panzerwagons...

LMP2 All Americana'
Also of interest will be the IMSA interlopers competing in the "Junior" Prototype class led by this year's Rolex 24 and Sebring 12 Hours winning Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) double pronged attack, with its #30-31 Ligier JSP2's now fitted with rival Nissan lumps'. Tracy Krohn and his Krohn Racing #40 Ligier JSP2 Nissan will once again most likely be sporting its traditional Florissant green? And lastly, making their Le Mans debut will be Michael Shank Racing with its #49 Ligier JSP2 Honda, which was previously utilized by ESM at Daytona & Sebring...

Also just noticed on the entry list the erstwhile "Ageless" Johnny O's (O'Connell) filling in as the "Pro" in the Amateur sandwich aboard the No. 57 Team AAI Corvette C7R, reportedly one of last year's factory Vettes'...