Friday, June 2, 2023

LE MANS: 2022 Postmortem Notes

    Although does Anybody remember last year’s race?


Whilst I Don’t Begrudge them any, since Toyota could have pulled out of the FIA World Endurance Championship, (WEC) or Weckity Wec’ as Racer’s Marshall Pruett enjoys calling it! For which we’d just have had three top tier LMH Hypercars remaining. With one of them being a Grandfathered LMP1 machine.


Nonetheless, I knew that Toyota would win again for the fifth year in-a-row, Yawn! Along with locking out the first two finishing places. Meaning I Didn’t bother getting up Uber’ early Sunday morning to watch the end of the race. Or even bother at All trying to catch any of the last hour’s action…


Former Scuderia Toro rosso Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley stuck His NO. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid on Pole position ahead of the sister No. 7 Toyota. For which is exactly how the two Toyota’s finished the race. With Hartley and Co-drivers Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa standing atop the Le Mans podium.


Interestingly, it seems like Thar was more Noise made during the race over the fact that the 2023 Garage 56 entry would be a NASCAR Camaro Chevrolet ZL1 adapted for 24 Hours race duration, partially honouring NASCAR’s 75th Anniversary.


As it seemed Odd to Mwah how much Hype was being made about this, especially with one year remaining.


For which we now know that 2009 F1 world Champion Jenson Button, Seven-times NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson and Two-times 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rocky’ Rockenfeller will be it’s three Pilotes. With IMSA Sports Car Ace Jordan Taylor as Reserve.


And reportedly, the Camaro ZL1 being utilized for the project overseen by Hendrick Motorsports is basically a current Next Gen NASCAR Camaro with modifications for running 24 Hours at Circuit de la Sarthe.


Meaning I guess that the drivers will still have to climb in and out of Thar Stock Car, which utilizes a current spec 358cid displacement 5.8-litre Chevrolet Small Block naturally aspirated V-8 lump’. Along with Headlights Braking upgrades and a larger 32 gallon fuel tank. For which if Y’all are curious, you can surf the Web for the #24 Camaro ZL1’s Full Specs…


Yet speaking of General Motors, Err Chevrolet. Things didn’t pan out quite so well for the two Corvette C8.R’s, with both entries failing to finish; both being classified as DNF. (Did Not Finish)


As the NO. 63 retired on lap-260 due to an Accident, whilst the #64 retired on lap-214 with Suspension failure…


Meanwhile Portland, Oregon’s Josh Pierson did indeed become the youngest ever driver to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans at Age 16 years and 118 Days. For which Racer had a good article upon the experience of previous record holder Matt McMurry’s experience also as a 16yr old teenager Wayback’ in 2014.


As I’ve previously scribbled Here upon No Fenders about the upcoming Oregonian, whose currently racing both Sports Cars and Indy NXT. Although it appears that Josh’s primary “Day Job” of contesting both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) LMP2 category’s is limiting His success on the Open Wheel Racing side! With just two finishes of P17-16 to Date, (prior to Detroit) seeing Him classified 20th and last points-wise.


 Even though He’s been signed to a IndyCar Development Driver contract with Ed Carpenter Racing. (ECR)


And since I didn’t bother tuning into the end of the race, naturally I missed the facts that the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of “Jimmy” (Gianmaria) Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiekcki won the final LMGTE Pro Class category. Or that IMSA stalwart Gentleman Driver Texan Ben Keating was part of the winning #33 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage with Marco Sorensen and Henrique Chaves as Co-drivers in the LMGTE Am category Finishing 34th Overall…


Whilst perusing the final results, I’d totally forgotten that Mega Bad-Arse Eight-times WRC Champion Sebastien Ogier had made His 24 Heurs du Mans debut in the LMP2 category. With the French Rallying legend finishing 13th Overall, driving aboard the No. 1 Richard Mille Racing entry. Finishing one place ahead of the #23 United Autosports entry that Josh Pierson was co-driving.


And that one of my sentimental favourites, the No. 85 Iron Dames Ferrari 488 GTE Evo with Femme Fatales Sarah bovy, Rahel Frey and Michele Gatting finished 40th Overall.


And now it’s onto this year’s 91st Edition, the Centenary running of this fabled endurance race. Which features a massive 16 Hypercar entries. Over three times last year’s entrants in the premiere Class!