I didn't see a thread, we need one.
https://racer.com/2019/06/09/scrutin...s-city-center/Originally Posted by Racer
Scrutineering Day 1, prototypes descend on Le Mans city center
By: Stephen Kilbey | 21 hours ago
The center of Le Mans was taken over by the first day of scrutineering ahead of next weekend’s 87th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with 22 cars presented to the ACO’s technical team and the usual hoard of fans today.
In the prototype ranks, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s pair of TS050 hybrids and the team’s six drivers were the headliners, Fernando Alonso and his 2018 Le Mans-winning teammates Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi attracting most of the attention from the media in attendance.
But the No. 7 crew of Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kaumi Kobayashi were also on hand, and lest we forget, they are still in with a solid chance of winning Le Mans for the first time as well as the WEC drivers championship.
“It’s been an up and down season but we’ve done a good job to maximize performance this season,” Conway told RACER. “There’s a lot to play for — the win at Le Mans and the championship. The aim here is another 1-2; that would be ideal and we’ll push for it.
“Looks like the competition will be closer here. We need to push all the time; you can’t not push here because it’s so on edge that if you take it easy you’ll make mistakes. You just don’t need to risk everything through traffic. We’ll push each until the end.
“The privateers have made good strides,” Conway continued. “There’ve been rule changes, too. They’re looking quick, with high top speeds. Qualifying — they have a good shot of being on the front row.”
Rebellion Racing, arguably Toyota’s closest competition in the LMP1 ranks, was also present today. The Swiss team showed off its brand new liveries to the public for the first time: Both R-13s now sport a “paint-splattered look” as part of a tie-up with artist Tomyboy and his brand Rocketbyz.
The team’s garage, too, is also set to be dressed in a matching color scheme.
As for the race, Rebellion was encouraged by its new low-downforce aero kits, which it tried for the first time in last weekend’s Test Day. Neel Jani, though, doesn’t expect the new aero to bring the team much closer to the TS050 hybrids, which have dominated during the 2018/19 Super Season.
“Testing wasn’t bad in the end,” he said. “The new kit is a good improvement from last year. But is it enough? It’s not enough to beat Toyota, [and] SMP seems strong, so we’ll see. It’s not clear that we’re the first team behind Toyota now.
“It’s not too different though: Toyota is up front; they can beat themselves, hopefully. That’s our only chance. Between us and SMP, it will be a hard fight, but SMP will decide this race. We hope reliability will decide this race, and not just pace.”
Despite Conway’s outlook, Jani, who will stop racing in the FIA WEC after Le Mans to compete in Formula E with Porsche, believes that pole position for Rebellion is out of the question.
“Pole position will be impossible. This year has been strange. We’ve had bad luck with our car, so many times. It’s been a bad season but we’ll be hoping our luck turns around here.”
Many LMP2 teams also went through today, including Panic Barthez Competition, Cetilar Racing, Racing Team Nederland and Larbre Competition.
Championship hopefuls Jackie Chan DC Racing also went through, its pair of ORECAs sporting new liveries for this year’s Le Mans thanks to the addition of new backers. One of those is Wayne Taylor Racing’s prime sponsor, Konica Minolta, which now features on the side of the No. 37 07 Gibson as part of Acura Team Penske driver Ricky Taylor’s deal to race with the team alongside Jordan King and David Heinemeier Hansson.
“It’s obviously the same chassis for me that I race with the ARX-05, but it’s quite a contrast. It’s a learning curve coming from Detroit to Le Mans — two very different street tracks. It was my first time in the car at the test, but the guys do a good job here.
“I’m really excited for race week. This is the best chance I’ve had at a win in LMP2. It’s been my goal to drive with a team like this here.”
https://racer.com/2019/06/10/track-a...scrutineering/Originally Posted by Racer
Track action beckons at Le Mans after day two of scrutineering
By: Stephen Kilbey | 1 hour ago
Day 2 at Le Mans Scrutineering saw the remaining 40 cars on the entry list pass through the city center for technical checks ahead of the first on-track action on Wednesday.
Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse overnight and during the early part of the day, with multiple rain showers resulting in a smaller gathering of fans than on Sunday.
The biggest surprise of the day came in the morning, when LMP1 outfit DragonSpeed became the latest team to reveal a new livery during Le Mans race week.
The American team, which will bow out of the FIA WEC after this weekend to focus on IndyCar, has brought Gulf colors back to the top class at the 24 Hours on the 50th anniversary of the iconic oil and fuel brand’s second win at the race.
DragonSpeed’s BR1 Gibson will pay homage to the three overall LM24 wins for the brand on its tail fin, while the rear wing is dedicated to celebrating past Gulf sportscar victories at 10 legendary race circuits.
While very few GTE cars passed through the inspection tent yesterday, there were plenty on parade today. One of those was the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, which is the only privateer entry into the 17-car Pro class this year.
At the Test Day, the team lost a significant amount of running time to shaking down its car, which is a brand-new chassis, and getting its drivers aboard after the mad rush to the track from the IMSA race at Detroit and, in the case of Jules Gounon, the Blancpain meeting at Paul Ricard.
As a result, it’s going to be incredibly important for the team to get plenty of laps in during practice and qualifying, as its drivers – despite their glowing CVs – have limited GTE experience. Only Pipo Derani has raced a GTE before and has two Le Mans starts to his name in the Pro class – one with Ford, the other with AF Corse. Oliver Jarvis and Gounon, meanwhile, are new to GTE racing, but have plenty of GT3 experience to call upon between them.
Despite that, and the outfit only having a single car in a field of two and four-car teams, race engineer Rick Mayer told RACER that he is confident the team’s new driver-crew can keep them competitive.
“It’s going to be tough for us, because we lost a lot of track time at the Test Day,” said Mayer. “Jules didn’t know the track, but he was up to speed so fast, he’s going to be rock solid. Oliver is going to be awesome, and Pipo drove in Pro with a Ferrari, so driver-wise we should be OK in this company.
“The only thing we lose is the knowledge from drivers that have driven the car for years. The race looks like it will be mild and dry, but the lead-up could be very wet, which isn’t ideal for us. We’d like to get up to speed in the dry – we need to know how to double-stint these tires, and we haven’t done a long enough run yet.
“Worst case there’s the warm-up, but it’s not ideal, especially as this is probably the most stacked GTE Pro class ever.”
There’s plenty of intrigue in the GTE Am category, with a mix of guest cars joining the full-season FIA WEC clan. One of the regular teams joining the action is JMW Motorsport, which won Am just two years ago. This year the team brings a trio of World Challenge regulars to the race. Jeff Segal returns to 24 Hours with the British outfit for a second year, bringing along his driving partner Wei Lu for the first time and K-PAX driver Rodrigo Baptista.
“It’s a big deal for Wei and I; this whole year is a big mountain to climb,” Segal told RACER. “Coming from GT3 racing in the U.S. to European Le Mans Series, and now Le Mans. We have a great car for this race though with JMW, and Wei has already proven that he’s ready.”
Lu said that the transition from racing the 488 GT3 in World Challenge to the GTE model in Europe has been a smooth one.
“It’s great that you can use the same car and upgrade it from GT3 to GTE, when you race with Ferrari,” he said. “There’s obviously a lot of similarities, which really helps. I just need to get used to racing a car without ABS. But we’re confident, and I’m happy to be racing with Rodrigo, who I have raced against many times. I think he’s as quick as any factory driver.”
One of the final cars through today was the Wynns-liveried Keating Motorsports Ford GT, which, understandably has attracted a lot of attention. Bill Riley, who is part of the team running the Keating operation, told RACER the team is confident that the combination of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Felipe Fraga can be a force in this year’s race.
“Working with the Ganassi team is a real pleasure,” he said. “They’ve helped us a lot, getting up to speed with this, now it’s down to us to deliver it. The car came to us pretty much turnkey, so we’ve just got to do maintenance and set up work.
“At the test we made sure Felipe got his minimum laps in, and that Ben and Jeroen got used to the car. It was a true test day, lots of box-ticking. We wanted to be a little faster but it didn’t happen; we didn’t go for a mock qualifying run.
“There’s plenty to look forward to. We have a strong line-up and this team is the same we run in the U.S., which means there’s a lot of familiarity for us, and that’s really important.”
Of the LMP2 contenders that were on the schedule today, RLR MSport driver Arjun Maini was particularly wide-eyed. The Haas F1 development driver, who has moved into sportscars from racing in F2 with Trident this year, is enjoying his first experience at Le Mans. He will race with Norman Nato (standing in for Rebellion-tied Bruno Senna) and John Farano this week.
“This is massive,” he told RACER. “Already at the test you start to get a feel for how big of a race it is. You have to come and see this for yourself to really see just how many passionate fans there are.
“It’s been an eye-opener this year. Anyone from single-seaters will tell you that you come into this close-minded. But once you get a taste of it, you realize that there’s much more to racing than just sprint racing. It’s awesome.
“I love driving prototypes in the ELMS, and for sure I’m going to enjoy it here at the Le Mans 24 Hours. I feel quite ready for this. It was hard to get used to the circuit, it took time. Usually it only takes a session, but it took me until lunchtime to feel confident enough to push. The grip level was low. But the objective of the test was just to complete laps.”