As a final pre-race report, here are some thoughts based upon what we have collected in terms of likely strategies for today’s FIAWEC 6-hours of Nurburgring. Generally qualification for a 6-hour race is somewhat academic, but nice to have. It is race set-up and the resultant pace that now comes to the fore, there is let point having a car that is quick for a brief period of time, and incidently this was a factor in Strakka Racing’s decision to move from the Dome to the current Gibson 015s car.
The weather looks set fair for the Sunday afternoon race with current air temperature of 26.7c and a track temp of 30.6c We do not expect rain, but as in our chat with Audi R18 driver Oliver Jarvis tyre degradation will be high, and we should not expect to see double-stinting in LMP1. If we do, someone is rolling the dice… or has flat-spotted.
So by category –
The separation between participants in the top-category seems clear, and all being equal we could expect a Porsche, Audi, Toyota, Rebellion final top 8. However, this form of racing is never that simple. With constant weather in place, other than tyre troubles, traffic will present numerous opportunities to be tripped over, especially with 4-categories totally 31 cars spread over just 5.148km.
The likely stint length is 35 laps, look to see if the non-hybrid privateers with larger tanks are able to stretch that…
Ones to watch In-team superiority at Audi #7 #8 / Porsche #17 #18 and the glorious sounding Rebellions #12 / #13
This category is well-worth keeping a close eye on, it can be difficult to follow. In qualifying we have 4-cars from 3-teams with 3 different chassis separated by less than 1-sec (on an average calculation). It could well come down to how well the third driver in the car can live with the pace of his faster colleagues.
The Oreca 05 #47 KCMG car looks fantastic and is a derivative of the Rebellion R-One that races in LMP1, hence expect it to now be sorted (having won at Le Mans) and fast in a straight-line. The #26 & #28 G-Drive cars have been the class of 6-hour races season to-date, and we have a slight surprise with the Signatech-Alpine #36 making the top 3 in qualifying. Add to that mix the Strakka Racing Gibson (a very successful chassis in ELMS) and we have a 5 way fight even if we discounting the 2-entries electrically green- painted Patron ESMs and the solo entry from Team Sard Morand.
Ones to watch #47 #26 #28 #36 #42
As much as we love the Larbre Competition Corvette C7 #50 The GTE categories will be a fight between Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin Racing(AMR). As in our article chatting with Fernando Rees, the #99 AMR has saved new tyres for the race in an attempt to overcome recent BoP amendments. The #97 AMR of Turner/Mucke/Adams is known to be chasing down a setup issue, and may react well to today’s high track temperatures. The Porsche RSRs will be keen to put in a strong performance so close to their development of the Nordschiefle, so expect them to have excellent race pace. But both -Pro & -Am categories have recently become who can challenge the Ferraris and the qualifying pace does not change that view.
In conclusion, we expect a great World Endurance Championship race with plenty of incident. We will endeavour to bring you what nice we can, but for now it is slap on the sun cream and off to the roof to catch the start and first few laps.
Grab a cold one and Enjoy the Race 🙂