Wow, hat a windy day! The Mistral blew through today with wind speeds reported up to 80 km/h. However, nothing dampens our spirit when returning to this iconic French track nestled into the Mediterranean mountain foothills, never as spectacular as Spa, but with it’s own unique backdrop and painted circuit it’s impossible not to be lifted by kicking off a new season of endurance racing here.
Porsche ended the day fastest in all three of the sessions and as the sun set on the night session the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Neel Jani completed the fastest lap of the day on 1m37.220s.
Just like the afternoon session the Porsche LMP1-H team locked out the top two positions as the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid placed second on 1m38.635s.
Audi put in limited laps all day and slotted into the next two fastest spots behind the Porsches in the final evening run.
Anthony Davidson set the fifth fastest lap this evening for Toyota with a 1m40.378s lap, while Stephane Sarrazin was close on his heels with a 1m41.309s.
KCMG, with their stunning electric blue ORECA 05-Nissan took honours as fastest LMP2 as Matthew Howson with a 1m47.456s. This despite a minor accident in the opening session of the day, damaging the front bodywork and resulting in a quick trip to the ORECA workshop located adjacent to the circuit.
In line with other LMP2 squads KCMG are playing a conservative game due to new cost-cutting engine regulations for 2015, permitting only three engines per car for an entire season.
Both the LMP2 and LM GTE classes appear to be on a roll with liveries, exciting and vibrant best describes them all with perhaps our favourite being those of KCMG and ESM Tequila Patron. The P1 teams seeming almost ‘dowdy’ in comparison.
Four additional pit boxes will be built at Le Mans for 2016. The expansion will result in an expected 60-car starting field in the race. Parc-ferme will be relocated.