Friday, June 14, 2024

LE MANS: Watch Out for those cobblestones!

And don’t forget that the Mulsanne Straight Ain’t Strait!


Much conjecture has been made over the past months regarding IndyCar driver David Malukas pre-season mountain bicycling accident which cost Him his seat at Arrow McLaren. For which although as I’ve said. While I’m Sad for Meyer Shank Racing’s tom Blomqvist, I’m very Happy for Malukas’s return to an IndyCar cockpit. Where He’ll drive the remainder of the season aboard MSR’s #66 beginning at Laguna Seca.


Thus I missed another Memo initially over former IndyCar driver Mike Ice-Ice, Baby! Conway’s cycling accident some nine days before this year’s 24 Heurs du Mans. As the Toyota FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)Hypercar driver suffered broken ribs and a broken collarbone whilst presumably training for the upcoming Le Mans race!  And will be replaced by former Toyota Hypercar driver Jose Maria Lopez.


Lopez’s sudden call-up caused the Akkodis Asp Lexus RC FLM GT3 team to once again scramble to replace Lopez’s departure.


As the team confirmed that current IMSA GTD Pro Vasser Sullivan driver Jack Hawksworth will deputize for Lopez in His Le Mans debut in the team’s No. 87 entry.


As Hawksworth got the call that Conway had fallen while preparing to compete at Mid-Ohio’s four Hours Michelin Pilot Challenge race, driving a Toyota Supra GT4 Evo. Only having a three day “Kit” packed before hopping an Aeroplane to France, in order to make scrutineering that same weekend.


Hawksworth said it’s not quite the seamless “Plug ‘n Play” that you’d Arse-sume for Him being a Lexus driver Stateside. Since there are multiple differences between the IMSA and Le Mans GT3 spec racecars…


Most notably going from a High Downforce configuration from racing on Detroit’s ultra bumpy street circuit, to a low Drag Downforcce configuration for the ultra smooth, long High speed straights of Le Mans.


As Racer’s Stephen Kilbey notes, the Lexus LM GT3  WEC variant runs torque sensors, virtual energy tanks and upon Goodyear tyers vs. IMSA’s Michelin’s. Not to mention tweaks to the Lexus LM GT3’s Aerodynamics.


As Hawksworth noted how different the car felt initially from Detroit’s High Downforce predominaently first and second gear corners to being trimmed out and doing some 290kph! Which I think is roughly 180mph?


But “Union Jack” said that the Akkodis Asp Lexus RC F seems to suit le Circuit de la Sarthe well, and the car seems “comfortable” over the nearly 8.5 mile endurance circuit…


As I’ll be interested to “See” how the No. 87 fairs this weekend. Yet Hawksworth won’t have time to bask in the afterglow of His maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans race outing. Since He’s already booked His return flight to Charlotte in order to be back to His “day Job” at The glen. Competing in IMSA’s six Hours Enduro’ at Watkins glen on June 23rd, which is just a quarter distance vs. Le Mans…