The official Test Day for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is now complete, with all 62 cars completing two four-hour test sessions. Below is a round up of what happened during this afternoon’s session at the Circuit des 24 Heures.
As temperatures continued to soar during the afternoon, it was Toyota Gazoo Racing’s #8 TS050 Hybrid of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso that continued to set the pace, producing a best time of 3:19.440 after 108 laps of testing.
The sister Toyota that completed a total of 112 laps made it two Toyotas out front in LMP1, the No.7 crew clocking a time of 3:20.249.
Jackie Chan DC Racing on top in LMP2
Several LMP2 teams topped the timesheets throughout the course of this afternoon but it was the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson car driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Stéphane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry who proved to be the fastest with a time of 3:28.504. Second fastest was the No. 31 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 Gibson of Roberto Gonzales, Pastor Maldonado and Anthony Davidson – only 0.265s adrift of the LMP2 pace-setters. Signatech Alpine Matmut’s No. 36 Alpine A470 Gibson car took third. With just four points separating Jackie Chan DC Racing and Signatech Alpine Matmut in the overall LMP2 standings, the scene is set for an enthralling battle at the WEC Season Finale.
Four manufacturers in top five in LMGTE Pro
The LMGTE Pro category saw several drivers and manufacturers grappling for the top spot, with Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs sandwiching the No.67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK entry. Jan Magnussen in the No.63 American muscle car grabbed the top spot by a margin of just 0.031s. The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE was fourth quickest ahead of two Porsche 911 RSRs making it four manufacturers in the top five. Incredibly the top 12 LMGTE Pro cars (including five different manufacturers) were separated by less than one second.
Clearwater Racing lead WEC LMGTE Am field
A miniscule 0.073 seconds separated the top three fastest crews in LMGTE Am at the end of today’s test, with American team WeatherTech Racing clocking the quickest time of the day: 3:56.862. The No. 61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE was the quickest WEC entrant in the class, with the No.54 Spirit of Race Ferrari was just 0.012s behind. The Porsche 911 RSR belonging to the No. 86 Gulf Racing car was third quickest out of the nine WEC entries competing.
Five important things to remember after an action-packed day:
- Good Day for rookies.
There were 33 rookies at Test Day looking to complete their 10 mandatory laps in order to be cleared to take the start in the 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and they all passed with flying colours. As a result, no driver will have to do his/her laps during the free practice on Wednesday 12 June.
- Even better than last year!
In all four categories – LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am – the times clocked at the 2019 Test Day were faster across the board than last year. The drivers explain it by the reduced grip of the track and the new design of the Ford chicanes. Jorg Bergmeister (Team Project 1’s #56 Porsche 911 RSR) learned it the hard way, by catching air. “You can’t cut the right short or arrive too fast,” explained Stéphane Sarrazin (SMP Racing’s #17 BR Engineering BR1-AER) on Sunday evening. “You have to keep your distance because if you hit the chicane, it can do a world of harm.”
- 100 laps
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s #8 Toyota TS050-Hybrid completed 54 laps and clocked the fastest time of Test Day, and the #7 sister car did 56 laps. In all, the Japanese team coverd 110 laps and surpassed the 100-lap cap or the first time at Test Day.
- Extra entrants
The #20 ORECA of High Class Racing and #32 Ligier of United Autosports – for which the Selection Committee decided to add two garages to pit lane and bring the total number of entrants to 62 – finished 14th and 11th in the LMP2 category, respectively.
The former McLaren driver making his first appearance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the SMP Racing team, did not have the best day, but did still accomplished his goal. SMP Racing Team Manager Sébastien Philippe: “Stoffel quickly adapted to the track. It didn’t start out well due to mechanical problems and it took him some time to do his laps. But it’s all good!”