Thursday, June 13, 2024

LE MANS: IMSA Hypercar entries

    As can Porsche Add to it’s Wins total at Le Mans?


This is just intended to hopefully be a somewhat “brief” rundown on some of the various racing drivers and teams with IndyCar connections. Beginning with the Mack Daddy’ Hypercar entries, All being under the IMSA GTP LMDH guise, i.e.; Le Mans Daytona Hybrid specifications.



Cadillac V-Series.R

Engine: 5.5-litre normally aspirated V-8 (Hybrid)


Nos. 2-3 Chip Ganassi Racing

#311 Action Express Racing


For some, the big news for Ganassi’s No. 2 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) entry is the inclusion of reigning IndyCar Champion Alex Palou, who I believe is making His Le Mans debut. As the Spaniard will join regular drivers Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn behind the keyboard.


Ganassi will bring their No. 3 IMSA GTP WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entry to Circuit de la Sarthe with season drivers Sebastien Bourdais, Render van der Zande joined by IndyCar driver Scott Dixon.


The #311 Action Express Racing (AXR) Caddy’ features regular season drivers Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken joined by Aston Martin F1 reserve driver Felipe Drugovich.




Lamborghini SC63

Engine: 3.8-litre twin turbo V-8 (Hybrid)


Nos. 19 & 63 Iron Lynx


It’s always interesting learning about some obscure bit ‘O history when trying to learn about a new racecar. As reportedly the Lamborghini SC63, so named in honour of the company’s Squadra Corse racing department, along with celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary. Claims it’s predecessor to be the totally unknown Lamborghini Countach QVX, Huh? A Group C racer utilizing a Spice chassis Wayback in 1986…


The SC63 is the first IMSA GTP chassis to be produced by Ligier, with the other LMP2 based chassis racecars being built by Dallara, Multimatic and Oreca.


Unlike it’s  Cadillac, Porsche and BMW LMDH Brethren. Lamborghini has designed a brand new 3.8-litre 32 valve DOHC twin turbocharged engine for the SC63. Reportedly utilizing a “cold” turbo layout, meaning the turbochargers sit outside of the engine itself. Mated to a seven speed sequential gearbox and the spec Williams Advanced Engineering Bosch Hybrid power unit.


Iron Lynx will run a single SC63 entry apiece in WEC and IMSA Competizione, albeit running two cars at Circuit de la Sarthe, and potentially at the forthcoming Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) WEC round. With the SC63 having made it’s competition debut at the Qatar 1,812km season opener…


The No. 19 IMSA GTP entry features Matteo Cairoli, Andrea Caldarelli and Juncos Hollinger Racing IndyCar driver Romain Grosjean at its controls.


Whilst the appropriately numbered #63 WEC entry sees Mirko Bortolotti, Edoardo Mortara and former Red Bull and Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat behind its keyboard.



Porsche 963

Engine: 4.6-litre twin turbo V-8 (Hybrid)


Nos. 4-5-6 Porsche Penske Motorsport


Porsche has started out strong this year, first with Penske winning the Rolex 24 in January. Followed by it’s No. 6 WEC entry scoring the marque’s debutante Hypercar victory! When the Porsche 963 unexpectedly swept the inaugural Qatar 1,812km season opening race. With Hertz Team Jota’s No. 12 entry with Callum Ilott at the wheel being the Weinerschnitzel in a Penske sandwich! Leading the Pole sitting No. 5 entry across the stripe by a scant one second!


And the No. 6 entry driven by Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor finished runner-up at Imola, just 7.8 seconds adrift of the winning No. 7 Toyota.


While Matt Campbell, who put the No. 5 Porsche 963 on Pole at Qatar, competes with Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki, who also finished third at Imola.


Meanwhile, there was speculation that after Quadruple Weldmeister, nee four-times Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel had tested a Porsche 963, that the German would become one of Penske’s third No. 4 entry’s drivers. Yet instead, Mathieu Jaminet, Felipe Nasr and Nick Tandy will be it’s Pilotes this June, in the third IMSA GTP entry.


And Yes, I’m aware Thars’ a total of six Porsche 963 Panzerwagens competing in this year’s race. But this riveting No fenders yarn is simply about teams or drivers with Stateside IndyCar connections, Ja Volt!


Especially since Hertz Team Jota with Callum Ilott at the wheel scored the first privateer victory in the Six Hours of Spa ahead of the No. 6 Penske Porsche 963! As the No. 6 leads the points standings heading into Le Mans…


Whilst Nick Tandy pounced on Jack “Achey Breaky” Aitken at Laguna Seca towards race’s end, judging the right way past traffic and taking the win over an obviously disappointed Aitken! Giving Porsche it’s 600th win in IMSA competition.


Arse-suming the race this weekend, i.e.; June 15-16 will be aired on Motor Trend TV Stateside. Or Y’all can tune-in via RS2 or whatever Radio Le Mans frequency. Where I’ll be listening to copious amounts of John Hindhaugh and Company…