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...

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