Added: Brittania Ashburn - Date: 11.01.2022 04:27 - Views: 12364 - Clicks: 2674
The Le Mans 24 Hours in August? This year the long tail of the pandemic has once again shifted Le Mans beyond its traditional June date — but running this weekend, it at least means fans can be welcomed back in their thousands.
In the wake of the sophisticated but too expensive hybrid LMP1s, premier-division sports car racing has finally received its much-needed reboot as the new Hypercar LMH class makes its first appearance at Le Mans.
This is the start of something very big. This season, the World Endurance Championship — in which Le Mans is the jewel in the crown — features just five cars with red-plated s, only four of which are genuine LMH cars. But the race this weekend still represents an important new dawn for the great race, and happily the competition looks tight.
At the Le Mans test day last Sunday, the intriguing threat from the new very much independent Glickenhaus challenge was confirmed when Frenchman Olivier Pla knocked the Toyotas from the top of the times with 10 minutes of the five-hour afternoon session to run.
The pair of red Pipo-engined Glickenhaus s are powered by a 3. But pure pace is one thing; can the new Glickenhaus really beat the might of Toyota?
Even with the crack Joest team in consultant mode, Glickenhaus would do amazingly well to run without delay, while Toyota has completed a full quota of grinding endurance tests, but has been far from trouble-free in the WEC rounds.
As its British world champion Mike Conway knows only too well after a series of victory near-misses at Le Mans, Toyota can take nothing for granted this weekend. It will need to stop for fuel more often than the Toyotas and Glickenhaus entries, but it should be bullet-proof.
With that in mind, the French brand could be a strong tip to add a second Le Mans victory to its first claimed all the way back in A bumper grid of 25 blue-plated LMP2s will line up for the start on Saturday afternoon, with plenty of top racing stars peppering the driver line-ups. But any one of about a dozen cars in LMP2 could win this class — and at least bid for a place on the overall podium.
The strength in depth in LMP2 is remarkable. Even if the LMH cars do stay reliable, the race within a race in this class promises to be tight and captivating.
While top-ranking professional drivers covet seats in all the classes at Le Mans, the beauty of the 24 Hours is it still remains accessible to amateurs with the ambition, skill and sizeable budget who aspire to its grid. The cars are the same as in GTE Pro, but each driver line-up must include two bronze-graded amateurs. It always attracts a strong entry and this year there will be 23 cars on the grid with orange-plated s, Aston Martin maintaining a three-car Vantage presence after pulling out of GTE Pro, despite taking the win in the senior class last season.
Advertisement Back to top 6 The fans are back.
OK, usually the Circuit de la Sarthe attracts a quarter of a million-strong crowd, so limiting s to just 50, might appear underwhelming. But it sure is better than having no fans at all, as the edition showed. You forget during the race. Celebrations come 3pm on Sunday will be so much greater this time with fans under the podium to share them.
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