Porsche WEC

Porsche extends LMP1 program until 2018

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

Success breeds success and Porsche is hoping to live that mantra after extending its LMP1 program until at least the end of the 2018 season.

The news follows the company’s 17th Le Mans victory in June and ahead of this weekend 6 Hours of Nürburgring.

“Motorsport is an important part of Porsche’s brand identity—but not an end in itself,” said Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “Racing has got to help the technology of future road going sports cars. It was the revolutionary efficiency regulations that convinced us to return to top-level motorsport for the 2014 season.

“That we have managed to take the crown jewels of endurance racing in only our second year, with a one-two result in Le Mans in 2015 with our highly innovative and complex 919, is an outstanding testimony to the people in the Weissach research and development centre.

“The competition bears fruits and we see further potential for future synergy between the racing and road car programs. This is why we have extended the program.”

Nissan WEC

Nissan puts GT-R LM wacky racer on hold

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

After its disastrous Le Mans campaign Nissan has officially put the competition return of its GT-R LM Nismo on hold. The WEC returns in just over two weeks for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring (30 August).

Shoichi Miyatani, President of NISMO, explains: “We are racers and we want to compete but we also want to be competitive.

“That is why we have chosen to continue our test programme and prepare the GT-R LM NISMO for the strong competition we face in the World Endurance Championship.

“When you innovate you don’t give up at the first hurdle. We are committed to overcoming this challenge.”

Nissan says it will continue testing “predominantly but not exclusively in the United States” and will provide updates on its developments and the return to competition in due course.

Nissan’s full statement can be read below.

Aston Martin Audi Chevrolet Dodge Ferrari Nissan Porsche Toyota Video WEC

2015 LM24: Official race highlights

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

Straight from the race’s official YouTube channel here’s a collection of videos bringing you the highlights from yesterday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans won by the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

The first clip, a 20 minute special, includes podium celebrations from all four classes as well. Everyone’s a winner!

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: LMP1 gallery first 12 hours

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans is now into its second 12 hours and the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid enjoys a reasonably comfortable lead (live timing).

Keeping the lead Porsche honest is a pair of Audi R18s, with the #17 Porsche 919 fighting to stay on the lead lap.

In the early stages of the race the #17 919 held the lead before dicing with the #7 R18. The red liveried Porsche suffered a minor setback after Mark Webber was given a one minute stop-go penalty for overtaking during a yellow flag.

Porsche also enjoyed seeing the #18 919 on the lead or fighting very hard for it, but it lost time after going off track at the Mulsanne Corner and is now 1–2 laps behind the leader, although still showing very strong overall pace.

The #9 Audi R18 has led this race as well and has the honour of setting a new outright lap record when Filipe Albuquerque lapped La Sarthe in 3:17.647. And thereby finally beating the old record set way back in 1971 by the Porsche 917 LH. Remember, too, that 1971 record was before the Mulsanne Straight had its two chicanes to help slow the cars down.

Going into the final 12 hours then, the first six cars remain a constantly revolving combination of Porsche 919s and Audi R18s. It will take a miracle for anyone other than Porsche or Audi to win this race; the closest Toyota is four laps off the pace.

Of course, we’d love to see the Mark Webber #17 car take the win, but the lads have some work to do after Mark’s mistake late in his first stint.

Porsche WEC

2015 LM24: Porsche claims pole position

No18 Porsche 919 Hybrid, pole position, 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans

The #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid will start the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position. Yesterday’s time from first qualifying of 3:16.887 was enough for the crew of Dumas/Jani/Lieb and could not be bettered in the next two sessions.

It’s a clean sweep for Porsche, too, as all three 919s will start from the first three positions. Mark Webber’s #17 919 will start from P2, also unable to better its time from yesterday, while the #19 919 did improve its time slightly, but remains in P3.

Following the Porsches are the three Audi R18 e-tron quattros, who stayed ahead of the two Toyota TS040 hybrids. The Nissan GT-R LM Nismos were able to improve somewhat and will start from positions P12, P13 and P15.

A table showing all classes and all 56 grid positions can be seen after the break.

Nissan Video WEC

VIDEO: Why is the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo FWD?

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

Yes, why is the Nissan GT-R LM Nismo front-wheel drive? That’s a very good question and Nissan attempts to justify its batshit crazy idea in this video…

Audi WEC

2015 LM24: Audi preview

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi preview

In recent years Audi and winning have gone hand in hand at Le Mans. The team has racked up a mind boggling 13 race victories since its maiden win in 2000. Only Bentley (2003) and Peugeot (2009) have prevented total Audi dominance.

Since its introduction in 2011 the R18 has remained undefeated at the Circuit de la Sarthe. Audi was disappointed to lose its world champion status to Toyota in 2014 and has begun to remedy that in the 2015 season with victories for the lead #7 car at Silverstone and Spa.

Indeed the Fässler, Lotterer and Tréluyer combination is aiming for its fourth win at Le Mans in the last four years (2011, 2012 and 2014).

Porsche might have the fastest car this year, but Audi has shown time and again that outright pace is not needed to win over 24 hours. You’d be a brave punter to bet against Audi making it victory number 14 this year.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro

#7 – Marcel Fässler (SUI), André Lotterer (GER), Benoît Tréluyer (FRA)
#8 – Lucas di Grassi (BRA), Loïc Duval (FRA), Oliver Jarvis (GB)
#9 – Filipe Albuquerque (POR), Marco Bonanomi (ITA), René Rast (GER)

Nissan WEC

2015 LM24: Nissan preview

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nissan preview

In one of the most unconventional and crazy ideas ever Nissan is rocking up to Le Mans this year with a front-wheel drive GT-R LM Nismo. And not just one either, there’ll be three of these wacky racers on track.

Yes, Nissan is deadly serious about its upfront approach to winning the world’s best known 24 hour race. And that’s even before you consider the PlayStation gamer turned professional racer recruitment drive.

The world needs people who make you stop and think WTF?! Thank you Nissan. Nothing would be cooler than seeing you guys turn the racing world on its head with victory at the LM24.

Alas, the form shown during the official test session last month shows the GT-R LM has a long way to go before we can expect it to match its more experienced competition.

Nissan GT-R LM Nismo

#23 – Max Chilton (GB), Jann Mardenborough (GB), Olivier Pla (FRA)
#22 – Michael Krumm (GER), Harry Tincknell (GB), Alex Buncombe (GB)
#21 – Tsugio Matsuda (JAP), Lucas Ordonez (ESP), Mark Shulzhitskiy (RUS)

Toyota WEC

2015 LM24: Toyota preview

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota preview

Toyota had great momentum throughout the latter stages of the 2014 WEC season, winning three of the last four races. Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi were crowned world champions.

Unfortunately for Toyota that momentum has not carried through into the 2015 season. The team finished fifth and eighth at the season opener in Silverstone, although improved to finish third and fourth at Spa. But the TS040s were off the pace in the recent Le Mans official test session. Foxing? We don’t think so.

However, the great thing about Le Mans this year is that any of the four factory-backed LMP1 teams would make a wonderful winning story. And Toyota is clearly no exception there, it would be a well deserved win if Toyota can rise to the top step of the podium after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015. It’s the only step on the Le Mans podium Toyota is yet to conquer.

We wish them well.

Toyota TS040 Hybrid

#1 – Anthony Davidson (GB), Sébastien Buemi (SUI), Kazuki Nakajima (JAP)
#2 – Alex Wurz (AUT), Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA), Mike Conway (GB)

Porsche WEC

2015 LM24: Porsche preview

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche preview

Porsche has entered three 919 Hybrids for Le Mans this year and after setting the fastest time in last month’s official test session at the Circuit de la Sarthe the team will have good reason to think it can claim victory #17 in the endurance classic.

The 2015-spec 919 is super fast in a straight line and that will hold them in good stead on the 13.629km Le Mans circuit.

Each of the three 919s will carry a unique livery, making them easy to spot. For example, and not so seriously, the red one is #17 and shall be known as Mark Webber’s car. The white one is #19, otherwise known as Nico Hulkenberg’s car. And the black one is #18, known as that other 919.

Joining the LMP1 effort will be four 911 RSRs, two each in the GTE Pro and GTE Am categories. For the ladies out there, you need to keep an eye on the #77 911 RSR which will be driven by Patrick Dempsey, and that other Patrick guy.

Porsche’s full pre-race press release and more pics can be seen after the break.

Porsche 919 Hybrid

#17 – Timo Bernhard (GER), Brendon Hartley (NZ), Mark Webber (AUS)
#18 – Romain Dumas (GER), Neel Jani (SUI), Marc Lieb (GER)
#19 – Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hulkenberg (GER), Nick Tandy (GB)

Audi Nissan Porsche Toyota WEC

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans spotter guide

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans spotter guide

The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will be held this weekend and as always the talented Andy Blackmore has made his legendary spotter guide available as a free download.

[Source: spotterguides]

Ford WEC

Ford set to return to Le Mans in 2016

Ford GT

Ford has announced it will be holding a press conference in Europe on Friday where it is expected to confirm its return to Le Mans with a GT-based entry in the 2016 race.

Chip Ganassi is tipped to lead a two-car team in the World Endurance Championship in the LMP1 category, along with a two-car United Sportscar Championship team. That will culminate in a four-car assault for outright victory in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The iconic Ford GT40 won Le Mans four times in success from 1966–69.

[Source: Racer]