Friday, July 13, 2018

LE MANS: Toyota Wins a fairly Mundane Procession

Although the Drivers might be saying it; I was definitely left without saying "oh What a Feeling."

Lately in Formula 1 and Indy Cars, there's been endless Debate over the subject of Boring Races, or the fact that Reality TV and Duh World of "Infotainment" has largely Dulled our Senses over what True Competition is.

And whilst I wish to take nothing away from the countless Athletes; YES! Racing Drivers are truly World Class Athletes...

Nonetheless, I hope that the FIA and ACO are Happy with what they got for giving Toyota the Keys to their first triumph at Circuit de la Sarthe this year. By ensuring that the Artificial Equivalency Formula was skewed largely in their favour.

Since really how much of a Publicity "Bump" did the victory garner Toyota? Not to mention the somewhat contrived "fairytale" outcome for that rookie Spanish Formula 1 guy, Ci?

As I Don't know 'bout Y'all, but I'm really, really tired over the constant Horn-blowing 'bout Fernando chasing this mythical Triple Crown. Especially since nobody seems to talk about Juan Pablo Montoya only needing to win at le Mans to accomplish the feat...

Per Tipicali, specifically since my Mondo Overpriced Cable TV Behemoth comca$t, as SHIT! I'm so happy to be paying for their All Cash $65b as in Billion! Takeover; Err Merger with 21st Century Fox; but I digress...

thus, since I Don't have television access to the race on a yearly basis, i.e.; NO (Fox Sports) FS2 or the Velocity Channel, I traditionally listen to copious amounts of the race via Radio Le Mans on Zed Internetz' instead, especially since I find 'Der Heindenmeir, nee John Heinhaugh so entertaining!

Yet already smelling a Rat before the Tri-colour was waved this year, I didn't bother tuning into the race until some two-plus hours after it began at Six Bloody AM here on the West Coast.

As the Toy-Yoters' had already stamped Thar Boot-prints upon the race, leading their nearest competitors by two laps, with the Radio Le Mans Chaps predicting at this early hour that the Toyota's would dominantly win the event by a whopping 17mins.

And thus, I grew restless during the day as the Toyota's, in lock-step stretched their lead from 2-laps ahead to four. Then at 5AM  local time, the two Toyota's, with the No. 7 leading the No. 8, with the latter having brought the gap down to a miniscule 1.6 seconds between them. Then saw "K-Squared," nee Kamui Kobayashi piloting the #7 stretching the gap out to a scant 8.8 seconds, and then up to a robust 11-seconds.

Kobayashi's lead, contracting to just 10-seconds saw the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids a massive 7-laps ahead of the first two LMP1 Privateers. With the #3 Rebellion Racing leading it's "Star Studded" Seester' No. 1 by 1-lap.

At the 14 and 1/2 hour mark, in GTE Pro, the #91 "Pink Pig" had led the majority of the race ahead of its Sister #92 Rothmans "Smokey Smokes" liveried Porsche 911RSR, with the No. 68 "Stateside" Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, with le Hamburgular', aka SeaBass', nee Sealmeister Bourdais at its controls. And a new fourth place car, the No. 67 UK (WEC) Ford GT with Andy Priaulx behind the wheel. Being shared by TK' Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan and Harry Tincknell at the pointy end of the field.

As Scotty the "Iceman 2.0" Dixon's No. 69 wasn't being mentioned at the time I took notes upon the various class leaders, albeit I notice I've left out the G-Drive Racing #26 ORECA/Gibson, which was P5 overall, and handedly leading the LMP2 class for many hours.

In the GTE Am ranks, the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche 911RSR of three unknown "Youngsters" Had led virtually the entire race, with a revolving cast of the remaining Amateur Drivers giving chase.

I came back for one last listen before signing off two hours later, with nine hours remaining.

As the No. 8 had leapfrogged the No. 7 for the overall lead, with both cars being assessed a one minute Stop 'N go penalty for excessive speed in a Slow Zone. But afterwards, the #8 resumed leading by 40-second;

Not to mention that their lead had Ballooned out to a staggering 10-laps advantage over the nearest rival, the  #3 Rebellion Non-hybrid LMP1 Privateer entry...

Shea Adam in the commentary booth had fun with the Detroit Iron battle raging in the GTE Pro class between Corvette and Ford. Noting how it was a Comic book's delight of Rocky vs. The Iceman, before Scott Dixon drafted past Mike Rockenfeller into fifth place in class. giving  a Porsche 1-2 followed by three Ford GT's, with the lead Vette' demoted to P6.

Meanwhile the No's 26 and 77 still led their classes respectively, i.e.; LMP2 and GTE Am, before I called it quits for the evening.

And then as I do every year, when switching off, since I'm nine hours behind local French time  at Circuit de la Sarthe. I wondered if there'd be any major changes when I arose the next morning? Especially with this year's lack of Competizione in the LMP1 Prototype ranks for the overall victory.

And what sounded like perhaps manufactured results tipping the odds in the No. 8's favour, with Mike Conway ant Jose Maria Lopez running some 2-4 seconds a lap slower; HUH?

Perhaps? Just perhaps so the Media and the World could go Ga-Ga over some Spaniard named Fernando in P1, I elected to not get up early this year, and would simply find out the results afterwards, since the race would finish at 6AM Pacific; YAWN...

As the final results made the entire event's outcome seem overly Anticlimactic...

But Not so Fast Grasshopper! as two days after the race, I learned that the LMP2 Class winning G-Drive Racing entry had been Disqualified for illegal Fuel Rig modifications; YOUCH!

Whilst the fourth place Ford GT in the GTE Pro category also ran Afoul of the Rules, specifically for TK' Follow-your-Schnoz! Kanaan failing to meet his minimum Drive-time requirements, for which Scott Dixon was also given a similar penalty; Hmm? Perhaps they were just both plain 'Ol Tuckered Out after flying to France immediately after Texas?

And finally, making Toyota's win even Hollower is the fact that they won the race over Thar severely Handicapped Non-hybrid Privateer opponents by a staggering 12-laps! Which was nearly a distance of 100 Freakin' miles; Aye Karumba! Actually 8.47 miles times 12-laps equals 91.64 miles; CRIKEYS!

Oh, What Not A Feeling!