24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day over – Audi banks the best time

No. 8 Audi
No. 8 Audi

The two Test Day practice sessions take place two weeks before the actual race and are important for the 60 teams to find their feet on the unique circuit. When the session began at 09:00, most teams sent their cars out straightaway to make the most of the allotted time to test their settings and collect data for their technicians and engineers. It only took a few minutes to “rubber in" the track and render the traction optimum and drivers began setting respectable times right from the start. At 09:15 Marcel Fassler set a sub 03:30 lap, which was subsequently beaten by both Romain Dumas and Mark Webber, who ended the morning session on 03:22.555.

In the end Lucas di Grassi clocked the fastest lap in the #8 Audi, on 03:21.375. That is not as quick as Neel Jani’s pole position time of 03:16.887 but it has to be said that last year times improved by four seconds between the Test Day and the qualifying sessions.

Performance aside, the key information to note at the end of this Test Day is that the three favorites are neck and neck. The Toyotas were by no means dazzling, but the fastest is only two seconds behind di Grassi’s best lap. As far as reliability is concerned the #7 Audi seems to have suffered from a jammed shock absorber for several minutes. At the end of the day, it’s difficult to say who of Audi, Porsche and Toyota has the upper hand.

If it is shaping up to be anyone’s race for the overall win, what about LM P2 where every one of the 23 entrants has a chance of taking the class title? Oreca came out on top of the day’s proceedings with Tristan Gommendy’s time of 3:37.397. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Michael Shank Racing ended the day with its Ligier-Nissan going off at the Michelin chicane with Oswaldo Negri Jr at the wheel. The accident brought Test Day to a premature end as the safety barrier could not be repaired within the 30 minutes that remained.

In GTE Pro, all eyes were on the armada of four Fords making their big comeback to Le Mans, but Antonio Garcia in a Corvette (3:55.122) stole the limelight. In this class too, the actual race promises to be a hotly disputed affair with 13 cars within two seconds of each other.

Corvette Racing ended the Le Mans Test Day with the fastest time in the GTE Pro class as Antonio Garcia set a lap of 3:55.122 (129.680 mph) in the No. 63 Konica Minolta/Mobil 1/Sirius XM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. Garcia, who celebrated a birthday Sunday and will team with Jan Magnussen and Ricky Taylor, led a Corvette Racing effort that focused on race setup and strategy as the team works toward what it hopes will be a ninth victory at the French endurance classic.

Both Corvettes were among the four fastest cars in what should be a highly competitive fight in GTE Pro. Oliver Gavin in the No. 64 Corvette C7.R was fourth-fastest with a lap of 3:55.837 (129.245 mph). He, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor are the defending class winners at Le Mans, and Gavin and Milner won the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring to open the season.

Both Corvettes recorded significant mileage around the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. The No. 64 Corvette turned 81 laps while the No. 63 Corvette posted 73 laps. The entire day was run in warm, dry conditions which allowed the team to maximize its efforts to find the best race setup for the 2016-spec Corvette C7.Rs.

Sunday marked the first time at Le Mans for the cars, which feature a number of changes from 2015 including a larger splitter at the front and diffuser at the rear of the Corvette. Side skirts and a repositioned wing also are among the most notable changes, along with updated safety features that are now mandated on all GTE Pro cars.

Finally, in GTE Am, Larbre Competition’s Corvette finished the day at the top of the standings. The French team also used Test Day to put two drivers, Jean-Philippe Belloc and Nick Catsburg, through their paces One of them will stand in for Paolo Ruberti, who fractured his spine in a recent accident at Hockenheim.

The next date in the diary for the 180 drivers will be the traditional Scrutineering sessions in Le Mans city center on 12–13 June. The general public will have an opportunity to get up close to the 60 cars as they arrive in Place de la Republique where they will be thoroughly examined by the scrutineers.

Results

Pos No. Team Drivers Car Class Time Laps Behind Gap
1 8 Audi Sport Team Joest L. DI GRASSI / L. DUVAL / O. JARVIS Audi R18 LMP1 3:21.375 86
2 1 Porsche Team T. BERNHARD / M. WEBBER / B. HARTLEY Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 3:22.270 90 +0.895 +0.895
3 2 Porsche Team R. DUMAS / N. JANI / M. LIEB Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 3:22.334 83 +0.959 +0.064
4 7 Audi Sport Team Joest M. FASSLER / A. LOTTERER / B. TRÉLUYER Audi R18 LMP1 3:22.588 52 +1.213 +0.254
5 5 Toyota Gazoo Racing A. DAVIDSON / S. BUEMI / K. NAKAJIMA / A. WURZ Toyota TS050 – Hybrid LMP1 3:23.197 82 +1.822 +0.609
6 6 Toyota Gazoo Racing S. SARRAZIN / M. CONWAY / K. KOBAYASHI / A. WURZ Toyota TS050 – Hybrid LMP1 3:23.721 97 +2.346 +0.524
7 13 Rebellion Racing M. TUSCHER / A. IMPERATORI / D. KRAIHAMER Rebellion R-One – AER LMP1 3:27.062 89 +5.687 +3.341
8 12 Rebellion Racing N. PROST / N. HEIDFELD / N. PIQUET JR Rebellion R-One – AER LMP1 3:27.117 84 +5.742 +0.055
9 4 Bykolles Racing Team S. TRUMMER / O. WEBB / P. KAFFER CLM P1/01 – AER LMP1 3:33.025 77 +11.650 +5.908
10 33 Eurasia Motorsport J. PU / T. GOMMENDY / N. DE BRUIJN Oreca 05 – NISSAN LMP2 3:36.690 74 +15.315 +3.665
11 36 Signatech Alpine G. MENEZES / N. LAPIERRE / S. RICHELMI Alpine A460 – Nissan LMP2 3:37.397 81 +16.022 +0.707
12 26 G-Drive Racing R. RUSINOV / W. STEVENS / R. RAST / A. BRUNDLE Oreca 05 – Nissan LMP2 3:37.503 66 +16.128 +0.106
13 38 G-Drive Racing S. DOLAN / J. DENNIS / G. VAN DER GARDE Gibson 015S – NISSAN LMP2 3:37.581 89 +16.206 +0.078
14 44 Manor T. GRAVES / M. RAO / R. MERHI Oreca 05 – Nissan LMP2 3:38.383 61 +17.008 +0.802
15 47 KCMG T. MATSUDA / M. HOWSON / R. BRADLEY Oreca 05 – NISSAN LMP2 3:38.486 70 +17.111 +0.103
16 46 Thiriet By Tds Racing P. THIRIET / M. BECHE / R. HIRAKAWA Oreca 05 – NISSAN LMP2 3:38.581 72 +17.206 +0.095
17 49 Michael Shank Racing J. PEW / O. NEGRI JR / L. VANTHOOR LIGIER JS P2 – HONDA LMP2 3:38.589 75 +17.214 +0.008
18 35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine D. CHENG / H. TUNG / N. PANCIATICI Alpine A460 – Nissan LMP2 3:39.298 69 +17.923 +0.709
19 27 SMP Racing N. MINASSIAN / M. MEDIANI / A. WIRTH BR01 – Nissan LMP2 3:39.804 61 +18.429 +0.506
20 23 Panis Barthez Competition F. BARTHEZ / P. CHATIN / T. BURET / S. GACHET LIGIER JS P2 – NISSAN LMP2 3:39.914 70 +18.539 +0.110
21 37 SMP Racing V. PETROV / V. SHAYTAR / K. LADYGIN BR01 – Nissan LMP2 3:39.966 62 +18.591 +0.052
22 31 Extreme Speed Motorsports L. DERANI / C. CUMMING LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan LMP2 3:40.239 51 +18.864 +0.273
23 42 Strakka Racing N. LEVENTIS / D. WATTS / J. KANE Gibson 015S – Nissan LMP2 3:41.371 82 +19.996 +1.132
24 41 Greaves Motorsport M. ROJAS / J. CANAL / J. LANCASTER LIGIER JS P2 – NISSAN LMP2 3:41.625 77 +20.250 +0.254
25 40 Krohn Racing T. KROHN / N. JÃ-NSSON LIGIER JS P2 – NISSAN LMP2 3:41.902 62 +20.527 +0.277
26 48 Murphy Prototypes B. KEATING / J. BLEEKEMOLEN / M. GOOSSENS Oreca 03R – NISSAN LMP2 3:42.537 58 +21.162 +0.635
27 43 RGR Sport by Morand R. GONZALEZ / B. SENNA / F. ALBUQUERQUE LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan LMP2 3:42.568 46 +21.193 +0.031
28 25 Algarve Pro Racing M. MUNEMANN / C. HOY / A. PIZZITOLA LIGIER JS P2 – NISSAN LMP2 3:42.592 88 +21.217 +0.024
29 28 Pegasus Racing I. TAITTINGER / R. STRIEBIG / L. ROUSSEL Morgan – NISSAN LMP2 3:42.634 72 +21.259 +0.042
30 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports S. SHARP / E. BROWN / J. VAN OVERBEEK LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan LMP2 3:44.193 66 +22.818 +1.559
31 34 Race Performance N. LEUTWILER / S. NAKANO / J. WINSLOW / D. KOUTSOUMIDIS Oreca 03R – JUDD LMP2 3:45.455 74 +24.080 +1.262
32 22 SO24 ! By Lombard Racing V. CAPILLAIRE / J. COLEMAN / E. MARIS / O. LOMBARD LIGIER JS P2 – JUDD LMP2 3:45.587 52 +24.212 +0.132
33 84 SRT41 By OAK Racing F. SAUSSET / C. TINSEAU / J. BOUVET Morgan LMP2 – NISSAN CDNT 3:48.253 54 +26.878 +2.666
34 63 Corvette Racing – GM J. MAGNUSSEN / A. GARCIA / R. TAYLOR Chevrolet Corvette C7.R LMGTE Pro 3:55.122 73 +33.747 +6.869
35 91 Porsche Motorsport P. PILET / K. ESTRE / N. TANDY Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE Pro 3:55.402 61 +34.027 +0.280
36 92 Porsche Motorsport F. MAKOWIECKI / E. BAMBER / J. BERGMEISTER Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE Pro 3:55.691 70 +34.316 +0.289
37 64 Corvette Racing – GM O. GAVIN / T. MILNER / J. TAYLOR Chevrolet Corvette C7.R LMGTE Pro 3:55.837 81 +34.462 +0.146
38 51 AF Corse G. BRUNI / J. CALADO / A. PIER GUIDI Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE Pro 3:55.900 52 +34.525 +0.063
39 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA R. BRISCOE / R. WESTBROOK Ford GT LMGTE Pro 3:56.039 55 +34.664 +0.139
40 71 AF Corse D. RIGON / S. BIRD / A. BERTOLINI Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE Pro 3:56.115 54 +34.740 +0.076
41 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK O. PLA / S. MÃœCKE / B. JOHNSON Ford GT LMGTE Pro 3:56.167 76 +34.792 +0.052
42 82 Risi Competizione G. FISICHELLA / T. VILANDER / M. MALUCELLI Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE Pro 3:56.170 51 +34.795 +0.003
43 95 Aston Martin Racing N. THIIM / M. SØRENSEN / D. TURNER Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE Pro 3:56.191 80 +34.816 +0.021
44 97 Aston Martin Racing R. STANAWAY / F. REES / J. ADAM Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE Pro 3:56.523 55 +35.148 +0.332
45 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK M. FRANCHITTI / A. PRIAULX / H. TINCKNELL Ford GT LMGTE Pro 3:56.596 74 +35.221 +0.073
46 68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA J. HAND / D. MÃœLLER Ford GT LMGTE Pro 3:56.630 43 +35.255 +0.034
47 77 Dempsey – Proton Racing R. LIETZ / M. CHRISTENSEN / P. ENG / K. BACHLER Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE Pro 3:56.990 62 +35.615 +0.360
48 50 Larbre Competition Y. YAMAGISHI / P. RAGUES / J. BELLOC / N. CATSBURG Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE Am 3:57.999 75 +36.624 +1.009
49 55 AF Corse D. CAMERON / M. GRIFFIN / A. SCOTT Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Am 3:58.869 81 +37.494 +0.870
50 62 Scuderia Corsa W. SWEEDLER / T. BELL / J. SEGAL Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Am 3:58.981 53 +37.606 +0.112
51 61 Clearwater Racing W. MOK / K. SAWA / R. BELL Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Am 3:59.300 83 +37.925 +0.319
52 83 AF Corse F. PERRODO / E. COLLARD / R. AGUAS Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE Am 3:59.313 78 +37.938 +0.013
53 98 Aston Martin Racing P. DALLA LANA / P. LAMY / M. LAUDA Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE Am 3:59.337 78 +37.962 +0.024
54 78 KCMG C. RIED / W. HENZLER / J. CAMATHIAS / K. Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 3:59.374 50 +37.999 +0.037
55 86 Gulf Racing M. WAINWRIGHT / A. CARROLL / B. BARKER Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 3:59.433 68 +38.058 +0.059
56 60 Formula Racing J. LAURSEN / M. MAC / C. NIELSEN Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Am 4:00.415 82 +39.040 +0.982
57 89 Proton Competition C. MACNEIL / L. KEEN / M. MILLER / G. JEANNETTE Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 4:01.258 72 +39.883 +0.843
58 88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing K. AL QUBAISI / D. HEINEMEIER HANSS / P. LONG Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 4:01.773 71 +40.398 +0.515
59 57 Team AAI J. O'CONNELL / O. BRYANT / M. PATTERSON Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE Am 4:02.109 52 +40.734 +0.336
60 99 Aston Martin Racing A. HOWARD / L. GRIFFIN / G. HIRSCH Aston Martin V8 VANTAGE LMGTE Am 4:03.896 49 +42.521 +1.787

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