Intercontinental Le Mans Cup round 2: 1000 km of spa.

Well there we are the final endurance race before the 24 hours of Le Mans next month and boy was it a cracker! action right from the start in all classes was the first time Audi’s new coupe the R18 TDI ran up againist its biggest rivals Peugeot in their 908 .

Right onto the action kicking off with Lmp1 in qualifying it was Audi that locked out the first 3 spots on grid with the Mike Rockenfeller car on pole. Peugeot had a terrible qualifying due to the session being red flagged leaving them not able to get clear laps the best placed Peugeot was the 7 car of Alex Wurz/Marc Gene and Anthony Davidson. In the race was a good start for the Audi’s but it was the number 2 Audi that took the lead Allan Mcnish in the 3 was chasing but at Le Coombe Mcnish tried too hard and lost the back end in the mean time the Peugeot’s had a chance to show their true pace by carving their way through the field and later on take the lead. Further down the lmp1 field problems for the Oreca Peugeot in the garage with engine problems costing them lots of time pretty much ruining their afternoon. Petrol honours in lmp1 was taken by the Pescarolo team. in the end however it was a Peugeot 1-2 with the 7 car taking victory with the number 8 in 2nd the best of the Audi’s was the number 3 of Tom Kristensen/Allan Mcnish and Dindo Capello which finised in 3rd.

In lmp2 now i will start by saying that it is really silly by the ACO to peg these cars back anyway onto the action looked like Strakka racing was going to have it all their own way but problems cost them the win in class but they still finished 3rd they showed good pace despite the massive restrictions but it was TDS racing in the Oreca Nissan that took lmp2 honours with Boutsen energy racing in 2nd and Strakka in 3rd.

Finally onto the GTE pro class well you have to say it was dominated by the Ferrari’s AF Corse and JMW motorsports battling all afternoon and lets also give a word to the Hankook Farnbacher team they were right in the thick of it as well BMW also showing good pace but not really a match for the Ferrari’s on the straights Jami Melo proving that with a perfectly executed move into Le Coombe on Andy Priaulx. Not a good day for the Felbermayr Porsche’s Mark Lieb being shoved into the gravel early on the race. In the end it was AF Corse backing up the true pace of the new Ferrari 458 by taking the GTE pro class win Hankook team Farnbacher taking a fantastic 2nd and the 56 BMW taking 3rd in class 3 different tyre manufacturers in the top 3 fantastic.

So we can conclude going into Le mans in a month’s time? Well we know Audi have pace on Peugeot but it is minor it is still going to a dog fight.  In the GT class Ferrari have clearly set the bench mark with the new 458 Italia but can BMW of even Porsche spoil the party for the prancing horse in the 79th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans taking place on the 11th and 12th June.

For more motorsport news and views tune into Rob Moore’s motorworld starting on NCB radio on the 23rd may

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Le Mans 24 hour entry list 2011

Well here we are people the ACO  has revealed the 2011 entry list for the 79th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans.

In LMP1 Audi have their new racer the R18 which is a hard top this year Peugeot also have a new racer its called the 90X Both Peugeot and Audi have an unchanged line for 2011 although Aston Martin also looks to have an unchanged line up for their new yet to be revealed racers so far announced is Harold Primat in the 009 and Stefan Mucke in the 007 machine. Team Oreca will also be looking to do well after coming close to getting on the podium in 2010 Nicolas lapierre and Loic duval both retained but no 3rd driver has been announced. The french outfit they will also run a 908 hdi similar to that of the factory squad. American run outfit Highcroft Racing move up from LMP2 to join LMP1 this year the squad retain Australian David Brabham. Toyota is another manufacturer to return to Le Sarthe for the first time since 1999 powering the Rebellion Racing Lolas.

On to LMP2 and Strakka Racing return for 2011 hopefully to clean up LMP2 again this year no announcement on full driver line up but we know that Nick Leventis will head the line up. A warm welcome back to Nissan at Le Mans for the first time since 1999 this time as an engine supplier to French outfit Signatech british entry Greaves Motorsport And the factory Oreca Matmut Squad will also run a Nissan Engined Machine.

All change in the GT classes this year out is GT1 due to clashes With the FIA GT1 championship but all is not lost GT2 is now the major GT category renamed GTE (GT Endurance) but split into 2 GTE pro and GTE Am.

GTE Pro is where you will find the big boys from GT2 lets kick off with Corvette Racing moved up to GT2 IN 2010 from the old GT1 category had a poor start to 2010 but came good towards the end of the season in the American Le Mans series with a win at Road Atlanta A change in driver this year at Corvette partnering Olly Gavin this year is Jan Magnussen and Newcomer to the squad this year is britains Richard Westbrook who i have high hopes to do well after doing very well for Matech last year in the GT1 championship and coming 3rd in GT2 last year at Le Sarthe for BMS Scuderia  Italia. Ferrari have a new racer this year out is the 430 and in comes the 458 Italia 4 teams will run 458″s the factory backed AF Corse team headed by Giancarlo fisichella british outfit JMW Motorsports new french team Luxury Racing and Team Hankook Farnbacher we also the Lotus Evora racing this year at Le Mans for the first time the cars will be run by an austrian run team Lotus Jetalliance and last but not least there is flying Lizards motorsport always do well in the ALMS but will their luck change this year in the 24 hours.

Last but not least we have GTE Am very similar to GTC (GT challenge) in the ALMS in the class for 2011 is Krohn Racing running a Ferrari 430 french team Labre Competition running a Corvette that competed in the GT1 category last year we also welcome a team from the UAE in the shape of Gulf AMR middle east running an Aston Martin Vantage.

so there we are that is my run down of the entry list for the 79th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans which takes place on the 11th and 12th June i would love to find your opinions and views on this entry list by commenting below if you would like to view it in full click the following link.

be back with more on sports cars and f1 very soon

Rob Moore