24 H Le Mans

Preview 24 Hours of Le Mans 2019: GTE Classes – Racingblog

With 17 cars each in both GTE classes, the GT representatives this year put the bulk of the field. Thanks to strong driver pairings, additional entries in the pro and adapted rules, we are facing two outstanding and unpredictable class battles.

Actually, we should be lucky to live in an era like this. While Hollywood end of the year, the 1960s duel Ford vs. Ferrari We can already set ourselves a cinematic monument this week Ford vs. Ferrari vs. Aston Martin vs. BMW vs. Corvette vs. Porsche happy – if unfortunately for the last time. But before BMW and Ford leave the stage of the sports car world championship, they send together again six powerful Pro teams to the Sarthe. Clear favorites in this Kracherfeld? Not to be determined!

The participants in the overview

Aston Martin (two mentions)

The so-called "Super Season" of the WEC was so far characterized by light and shadow for the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE. While they still quarreled with themselves and the circumstances at the start of the season, the British could last class victories in the six hours of Shanghai and Spa celebrate, where, however, the weather has played a major role. Accordingly, the cars built by Prodrive are not necessarily favorites. The fact that you feel comfortable in the outdoor rider role, however, showed the year 2017, when you could outdo the competition with their newer cars.

# 95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR

Driver:
Nicki Thiim (Denmark, Platinum, GTE-Am class winner 2014)
Marco Sørensen (Denmark, Gold)
Darren Turner (United Kingdom, Platinum, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans, GT1 / GTE Pro class victories in 2007, 2008 and 2017)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: First place in the six hours of Shanghai

# 97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR

Driver:
Maxime Martin (Belgium, Platinum)
Alexander Lynn (Great Britain, Platinum)
Jonathan Adam (Great Britain, Platinum, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans, GTE Pro Class Victory 2017)
Trend in the current season: →
Best season result: First place in the six hours of Spa 2019

BoP compared to last year: The two Vantage are seven kilograms lighter.

BMW (two entries)

They came, saw and got out. The Munich from BMW say goodbye to only one season this coming weekend from the WEC and want to get the biggest prize of the World Cup to farewell. Although the Le Mans debut in 2018 was quite decent, a victory for the bottom of the GTE World Championship should be a big surprise. Given the likely recent appearance of the M8 GTE on the long straights and intense curves of the Circuit de la Sarthe BMW could still put some performance cards on the table.

Incidentally, the M8 GTE project will continue in the North American IMSA SportsCar Championship next year. There, they also proved with a victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona that the beefy Bavarian can go over the distance.

# 81 BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE

Driver:
Nicky Catsburg (Netherlands, Gold)
Martin Tomczyk (Germany, platinum)
Philipp Eng (Austria, platinum, additional driver for Le Mans)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: Second place at the 1000 miles of Sebring

# 82 BMW Team MTEK M8 GTE

Driver:
Augusto Farfus (Brazil, Platinum)
António Félix da Costa (Portugal, Platinum)
Jesse Krohn (Finland, Gold)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: Second place in the six hours of Fuji

BoP compared to last year: The two M8 GTE each had to reload nine kilos.

Chevrolet Corvette (two entries, no full-time WEC engagement)

A slightly different kind of farewell begins in the house of Corvette. The sports car brand from GM will shortly present the new mid-engine Corvette, for which a racing trailer is already being tested. And although it has not been completely confirmed, is probably accordingly the last big appearance of the two C7.R on. Although the yellow US steam hammers have gotten a bit old, they are still part of the extended circle of favorites. Thanks to the experienced strategists around Dan Binks, they are good for surprises and a victory at the 20th anniversary in Le Mans would arrive in Detroit all too well.

# 63 Corvette Racing C7.R (via IMSA)

Driver:
Jan Magnussen (Denmark, Platinum, GTS / GT1 Class Wins 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009)
Antonio García (Spain, Platinum, GT1 / GTE Pro class wins 2008, 2009 and 2011)
Mike Rockenfeller (Germany, Platinum, GT2 class victory in 2005 and overall victory in 2010)
24 Hours of Le Mans 2018: Fourth place

# 64 Corvette Racing C7.R (via IMSA)

Driver:
Oliver Gavin (UK, Platinum, GTS / GT1 / GTE Pro class wins 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2015)
Tommy Milner (USA, Platinum, GTE Pro class victories in 2011 and 2015)
Marcel Fässler (Switzerland, Platinum, overall wins 2011, 2012 and 2014)
24 Hours of Le Mans 2018: DNF

BoP compared to last year: The Corvettes are seven kilograms lighter and with 1,242 kilograms the lightest GTE cars.

Ferrari (three entries)

For the Italians this year is a lot. Since the victory of AF Corse in 2014, the jumping horse struggles with the annual highlight of the WEC and got in Le Mans not only once in the path of the BoP Commission and the ACO policy (see Ford vs. Ferrari 2016). In the run-up to this year's edition, the AF Corse task force did a good groundwork in the World Cup and took second place in the World Championship. With the first Le Mans victory of the 488 GTE (Evo) you could crown this. In addition, there is the semi-private additional rating of the Americans by Risi Competizione, who rarely complete GTE races after a public BoP dispute with the IMSA in this field a not to be underestimated disadvantage!

# 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo

Driver:
Alessandro Pier Guidi (Italy, platinum)
James Calado (Great Britain, Platinum)
Daniel Serra (Brazil, Gold, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans, GTE Pro Class Victory 2017)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result:
First place in the six hours of Silverstone

# 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo

Driver:
Davide Rigon (Italy, Platinum)
Sam Bird (Great Britain, Platinum)
Miguel Molina (Spain, Platinum, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: Third place in the six hours of Spa 2018

# 89 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo (via IMSA)

Driver:
Pipo Derani (Brazil, Gold)
Oliver Jarvis (Great Britain, Platinum, LMP2 class victory 2017)
Jules Gounon (France, Gold)

BoP compared to last year: The Ferrari were allowed to slim down seven kilograms.

Ford (four mentions)

There is hardly a vehicle that has shaped and turned GT motorsport upside down like the Ford GT. As soon as the GTE racer of the Blue Oval 2016 showed up for the first time at the Sarthe, he scored the victory there right away. Since then, the car with prototype bonds is considered a favorite at every race of course also this coming weekend.

Something in contrast, however, are the so far missing championships in the IMSA and the WEC, where different offshoots of Chip Ganassi Racing represent the brand from Dearborn. At least in the WEC, this gap will inevitably persist, because Porsche already has the title in his pocket, and in the IMSA you have so far lost a lot of ground in the farewell season. In view of this, the four outstanding GTE are almost obliged to win. The four cars start with three paint allusions to the successes of the mid-1960s (# 66 – winner 1966, # 67 – winner 1967; # 69 – second place in 1966) and again with the cherished color combination from the early days of the expiring program (# 68) ,

# 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK GT

Driver:
Stefan Mücke (Germany, platinum)
Olivier Pla (France, Platinum)
Billy Johnson (USA, Gold, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: First place in the six hours of Spa 2018

# 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK GT

Driver:
Andy Priaulx (Great Britain, Platinum)
Harry Tincknell (Great Britain, Platinum, LMP2 class victory 2014)
Jonathan Bomarito (USA, Gold, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: Second place in the six hours of Silverstone

# 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA GT (via IMSA)

Driver:
Joey Hand (USA, Platinum, GTE Pro class victory 2016)
Dirk Müller (Germany, Platinum, GTE Pro class victory 2016)
Sébastien Bourdais (France, Platinum, GTE Pro class victory 2016)
24 Hours of Le Mans 2018: Third place

# 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA GT (via IMSA)

Driver:
Ryan Briscoe (Australia, Platinum)
Richard Westbrook (Great Britain, Platinum)
Scott Dixon (New Zealand, Platinum)
24 Hours of Le Mans 2018: 14th place

BoP compared to last year: Also Ford has gotten rid of extra weight to say goodbye. Twelve kilograms must be accommodated additionally. The GT is with 1,287 kilos thus the heaviest GTE racer.

Porsche (four mentions)

The sports car manufacturer from Zuffenhausen is currently chasing from one success to the next and wants to put the cherry on the super season ice cream cup in Le Mans. In addition to the already retired brand title so you could decide so both GTE Pro runs on the sacred motorsport floor for themselves. If the customers from the Am (see below) follow suit, the statement would be much clearer.

As in the previous year, the Porsche Quartet in the Pro is made up of two Manthey and two 911 RSR cared for by CORE's US-Americans. The WEC-born cars carry a special golden championship finish and the two IMSA guests celebrate the legendary blue and red of the Brumos-Porsche, which have never competed in Le Mans in all these years.

# 91 Porsche GT Team Manthey 911 RSR

Driver:
Richard Lietz (Austria, Platinum, GT2 / GTE Pro class wins 2007, 2010 and 2013)
Gianmaria Bruni (Italy, Platinum, GT2 / GTE Pro class wins 2008, 2012 and 2014)
Frédéric Makowiecki (France, Platinum, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: First place at the 1000 miles of Sebring

# 92 Porsche GT Team Manthey 911 RSR – current title holder in Le Mans

Driver:
Michael Christensen (Denmark, Platinum, GTE Pro class victory 2018)
Kévin Estre (France, Platinum, GTE Pro class victory 2018)
Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium, Platinum, Supplementary Driver for Le Mans, GTE Pro class victory 2018)
Trend in the current season:
Best season result: First place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans

# 93 Porsche GT Team CORE 911 RSR (via IMSA)

Driver:
Patrick Pilet (France, Platinum)
Nick Tandy (Great Britain, Platinum, overall winner 2015)
Earl Bamber (New Zealand, Platinum, overall wins 2015 and 2017)
24 Hours of Le Mans 2018: Place ten

# 94 Porsche GT Team CORE 911 RSR (via IMSA)

Driver:
Sven Müller (Germany, Gold)
Mathieu Jaminet (France, Gold)
Dennis Olsen (Norway, Gold)
24 Hours of Le Mans 2018: DNF (only with Sven Müller)

BoP compared to last year: The Porsche have two kilograms more on the eh wide RSR hips.

Somewhat less spectacular, but comparably cleverly occupied, is also the 17-strong amateur class, in which not only wealthy men and women drivers meet their Le Mans dream, but also reach entire teams the culmination of their work. As in previous years, thanks to the invitation system, some titleholders from the worldwide Le Mans scene will return to the Sarthe via this entry-level class. For example, the Asian Le Mans Series is represented by the Japanese of Car Guy Racing, who triumphed in the GT3 class. And also Kessel Racing has secured the ticket for the GT3 Division with the dominant season in last year's Le Mans Cup. By the way, there will be three women sitting in their # 83 GTE Ferrari. One of several exciting stories this year!

The most important requirement in the compilation of such Am trios is the employment of a compulsory amateur with bronze degree. Building on this, then either another bronze pilot or a driver with silver, so the next higher skill level, be nominated. Most teams have opted for silver and found many young talents on the verge of advancement to professional grade gold. Offside, the third pilot is free to choose. Even the highest level of platinum is possible.

The participants in the simplified overview

Aston Martin (two mentions)

# 90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage
Salih Yoluç (Turkey, Bronze)
Euan Hankey (Great Britain, Gold)
Charlie Eastwood (Ireland, Silver)

# 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage
Paul Dalla Lana (Canada, Bronze)
Mathias Lauda (Austria, silver)
Pedro Lamy (Portugal, Platinum)

Since the GTE Am only allowed to compete in models that have already completed a full season in the Pro, the representatives of the English pair of wings once again get the outdated Vantage out of the garage. These include Aston Martin Racing in direct form and the brand specialists of TF Sport. Despite this supposed disadvantage, it has been okay for the two teams so far. Bronze pilot Salih Yoluç and talent Charlie Eastwood took second place over the season, and Aston Martin Racing even won the season opener. In the last 24 hours, however, both entries have failed.

Ferrari (eight nominations)

# 54 Spirit of Race (AF Corse) Ferrari 488 GTE
Thomas Flohr (Switzerland, bronze)
Francesco Castellacci (Italy, silver)
Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy, platinum)

# 57 Car Guy Racing Ferrari 488 GTE (via AsLMS)
Takeshi Kimura (Japan, bronze)
Kei Francesco Cozzolino (Japan; Silver)
Côme Ledogar (France, Platinum)

# 60 Boiler Racing Ferrari 488 GTE (via ELMS)
Claudio Schiavoni (Italy, bronze)
Sergio Pianezzola (Italy, bronze)
Andrea Piccini (Italy, Gold)

# 61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE
Luis Perez Companc (Argentina, bronze)
Matt Griffin (Ireland, Gold)
Matteo Cressoni (Italy, Silver)

# 62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE (via IMSA)
Robert Smith (Great Britain, Bronze)
Cooper MacNeil (USA, Silver)
Toni Vilander (Finland, Platinum)

# 70 MR Racing (AF Corse) Ferrari 488 GTE
Motoaki Ishikawa (Japan; Bronze)
Olivier Beretta (Monaco, Platinum)
Eddie Cheever III (Italy, Silver)

# 83 Boiler Racing Ferrari 488 GTE (via ELMS)
Manuela Gostner (Italy, bronze)
Rahel Frey (Switzerland, silver)
Michelle Gatting (Denmark, Silver)

# 84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE (via ELMS)
Wei Lu (Canada; Bronze)
Jeff Segal (USA, Gold)
Rodrigo Baptista (Brazil, Silver)

If it went purely by quantity, Ferrari would clearly be the main favorite in the Am. With a total of eight trios, most of them neat to strong, the chances of a win are good. Traditionally, the favorites to look first at the 488 GTE, which are used by the Ferrari GT partner AF Corse directly or belong to the extended travel train in the WEC. In the World Cup, the number 54 with Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Giancarlo Fisichella is by far the best Ferrari and accordingly also in Le Mans a good tip for the favorites list. Clearwater Racing was also strong and consistent for much of the season.

Other exciting entries include the # 62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari and the # 84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari (Class Winner 2017). For the other jumping horses top rankings would be small surprises.

Ford (a nomination)

# 85 Keating Motorsports Ford GT
Ben Keating (USA, Bronze)
Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands, Gold)
Felipe Fraga (Brazil, silver)

For a long time it seemed inconceivable that ever a Ford GTE would ever get into the hands of a customer. Too secret, too special and too expensive, various experts waved repeatedly. But the Texas car dealer Ben Keating, who otherwise drives in the US sports car scene mischief, finally managed the great feat to persuade Ford. Extra for Le Mans, the contractors have put their own project on the wheels and Keating has brought along with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga also two well-known colleagues from the IMSA. In addition, the traditional sponsor Wynn's also crosses the pond. It will be interesting to see what this pioneering venture will do on his debut at Le Mans. However, Keating complained about the modified Balance of Performance for the Am, which would cost three to four seconds compared to the good Porsche and Ferrari.

Porsche (six nominations)

# 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR
Egidio Perfetti (Norway, Bronze)
Patrick Lindsey (USA, Silver)
Jörg Bergmeister (Germany, platinum)

# 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR
Christian Ried (Germany, bronze)
Matt Campbell (Australia, Gold)
Julien Andlauer (France, silver)

# 78 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR (via ELMS)
Philippe Prette (Italy, Bronze)
Louis Prette (Italy, Silver)
Vincent Abril (France, Gold)

# 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR
Michael Wainwright (Great Britain, Bronze)
Thomas Preining (Austria, silver)
Ben Barker (Great Britain, Gold)

# 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR
Satoshi Hoshino (Japan; Bronze)
Giorgio Roda (Italy, silver)
Matteo Cairoli (Italy, Gold)

# 99 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (via ELMS)
Tracy Krohn (USA, Bronze)
Niclas Jönsson (Sweden, silver)
Patrick Long (USA, platinum)

After the class success last year, the Porsche 911 RSR has to be dubbed this year again as "car to beat". In addition to the # 56 Team Project 1 Porsche, which holds the points in the WEC, the # 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche is also a top favorite. But also the other Proton-serviced 911 RSR and the Gulf Porsche can at least squint towards the podium. For this, however, it needs very solid amateur stints, if not even men riders who outgrow themselves. But if not in Le Mans, where else?

Images Source / Copyright: Aston Martin; BMW; Corvette; Ferrari; FIA WEC; Ford; Porsche
Dates: Spotter Guide by Andy Blackmore (PDF)

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