LeMans Test Day – Porsche lays down a marker

The No. 17 Porsche driven by Hartley turned the fastest lap

23,000 spectators came to the Le Mans circuit today Sunday to follow the Test Day, the general rehearsal for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours on 14-15 June. The Porsche 919s, which were already very quick during the first two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, topped the time sheets with a slight advantage over Audi followed by Toyota. In LM P2 the OAK Racing Ligier set the quickest time by a whisker from Alpine and Oreca. In LM GTE Pro and GTE Am Aston Martin dominated their rivals.

Sunday morning at 09h00 on the dot the lights went green unleashing the 64 cars taking part in the Test Day.

Kazuki Nakajima in the no. 1 Toyota, pole setter in 2014, was the first man to set a benchmark time in 3m 40sec on his first flying lap. On a dry track the Audi R 18 e-tron quattros and the Porsche 919 Hybrids soon hit back and swapped fastest times in succession. At 09h15 Andre Lotterer, winner of the 2014 race, put in several quick laps in the 3m 22-sec bracket before he was beaten by Neel Jani who lowered the benchmark by almost a second in the no. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid in a time of 3m 21.946sec. The arrival of the rain put a sudden end to the battle for the fastest time in the first part of the test day. The morning session was neutralized twice. Once because of the no. 22 Nissan GTR-LM Nismo, which had to be moved from a dangerous position after it stopped under the Dunlop Footbridge, and secondly due to a puncture on the no. 4 privateer CLK/LM01 driven by Tiago Monteiro, which lost some body elements between Mulsanne and Arnage.

On its return to the blue-riband category Nissan tackled the 13,629 km Le Mans 24-Hours circuit with three of its amazing Nissan GTR-LM Nismos. No. 21 finished in the morning at the circuit was the last of the LM P1s to take to the track at 10 h 30. Frenchman Olivier Pla set the best time in one of the front-engined prototypes in 3m43.383sec after which the Nissan team had to cope with the inevitable teething trouble on its first real confrontation with its rivals. The second privateer team at the test day, Rebellion Racing, also ran into a few glitches with its new Rebellion R-Ones which were running at Le Mans powered by their new AER turbo engine for the first time.

At 14:00 when the track was dry again the Porsche and Audi drivers went at it hammer and tongs and lowered their times. Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard’s team-mate, set the fastest lap of the day in the no. 17 Porsche Hybrid in 3m21.061sec, better than the 2014 pole position set by Nakajima in 3m21.789sec. It began to rain again preventing any further improvements. Into second came another Porsche, no. 18 in the hands of Neel Jani making it a Porsche one, two, and only Marco Bonanomi’s performance in the morning in the no. 9 Audi prevented a Stuttgart triple as he beat Tandy in no. 19! Then came the other two Audis nos 7 and 8 a few tenths behind. The Toyotas were a couple of seconds further back and their times were not really representative of the reigning world champions taking into account the difficult weather conditions today.

In the LM P2 category the no. 34 Ligier JS P2 entered by OAK Racing and driven by Belgian Laurens Vanthor, making his Le Mans debut after a great career in GT racing, was quickest after a lap in 3m41.919sec in the morning. The HPD-engined car finished just in front of Paul Loup Chatin’s Alpine A450b who was again the quickest driver in the Signatech-Alpine squad. Into third came another Oreca, no. 48 entered by Irish team Murphy Prototypes. Among the newcomers in this hotly-disputed category, the Strakka Racing Dome S103 was two seconds off the time of the quickest in front of the Russian BR01s entered by SMP Racing, the fastest of which was five seconds slower per lap.

As usual the gaps were tiny in the LM GTE Pro category in which the no.97 works Aston Martin beat the works no. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R by less than a tenth of a second. Behind them, the two works Ferrari and Porsches were neck and neck with the no. 51 458 Italia in front of the no. 91 911 RSR and idem for the no. 71 Ferrari and the no. 91 Porsche. The two Aston Martins, nos 99 and 95, were on level pegging in front of the second works Corvette no. 63, which was last in GTE Pro. The eagerly-awaited four-handed battle will take place in the blue riband GT category!

In LM GTE Am, the no. 98 Aston Martin of Mathias Lauda, Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana entered by Aston Martin Racing was quickest thanks to a time of 3m59.338sec set by Lamy. He beat four Ferraris, nos 61, 55, 72 and 66. The no. 53 SRT Viper put on a great performance matching the pace of the no. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R.

During the test day the new Slow Zone and neutralization procedures with or without safety cars on the track depending on the race circumstances were tested on several occasions. The 56 cars in the Le Mans 24 Hours will now enter the home straight before the start on Saturday 13th June. An ultimate fettling in session is scheduled on Tuesday 2nd June on the Bugatti circuit for which 14 cars have entered so far.

Since Friday the spectators have been able to walk up the pit lane, discover the pits and get close to the teams to see them making the final adjustments before the Test Day.

Today 23,000 came to see the general rehearsal for the Le Mans 24 Hours despite the rain which fell on the circuit.

The next event for the Le Mans 24-Hours week are: Sunday 7 and Monday 8 June, scrutineering on Place de la Republique, followed by the two free practice and qualifying sessions on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 June and then the start of the race on Saturday 13th June at 15h00.

Results

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time
1 LMP1-H T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley, F.Makowiecki Porsche Team Porsche 3m21.061s
2 LMP1-H N.Hulkenberg, E.Bamber, N.Tandy, F.Makowiecki Porsche Team Porsche 3m22.322s
3 LMP1-H M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m22.556s
4 LMP1-H L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m23.002s
5 LMP1-H R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb, F.Makowiecki Porsche Team Porsche 3m23.179s
6 LMP1-H F.Albuquerque, M.Bonanomi, R.Rast Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m23.375s
7 LMP1-H A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, K.Kobayashi Toyota Racing Toyota 3m25.321s
8 LMP1-H A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway Toyota Racing Toyota 3m30.334s
9 LMP1 N.Prost, M.Beche, N.Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 3m33.958s
10 LMP1 A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.Abt Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 3m42.144s
11 LMP2 K.Chandhok, M.Patterson, N.Berthon Murphy Prototypes ORECA/Nissan 3m42.405s
12 LMP2 P.Thiriet, T.Gommendy, L.Badey Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA/Nissan 3m43.344s
13 LMP2 S.Dolan, M.Evans, O.Turvey JOTA Gibson/Nissan 3m43.359s
14 LMP2 R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 3m44.452s
15 LMP2 N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 3m44.567s
16 LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Dome/Nissan 3m45.536s
17 LMP2 L.Roussel, D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung Pegasus Racing Morgan/Nissan 3m46.384s
18 LMP2 M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Lapierre KCMG ORECA/Nissan 3m47.015s
19 LMP2 G.Yacaman, L.Derani, R.Gonzalez G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 3m47.058s
20 LMP2 P.Ragues, O.Webb, Z.Amberg Team SARD Morand Morgan/SARD 3m47.088s
21 LMP2 G.Hirsch, B.Wirdheim, J.Lancaster, G.Paletou Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 3m47.130s
22 LMP2 P.Perret, I.Bellarosa, J.Ibanez Ibanez Racing ORECA/Nissan 3m47.198s
23 LMP2 T.Krohn, N.Jonsson Krohn Racing Ligier/Judd 3m47.251s
24 LMP2 M.Mediani, D.Markozov, N.Minassian SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 3m47.827s
25 LMP2 S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.Hansson Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 3m47.943s
26 LMP2 E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.Fogarty Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 3m49.382s
27 LMP1-H H.Tincknell, M.Krumm, A.Buncombe Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m50.713s
28 LMP2 M.Aleshin, K.Ladygin, A.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 3m55.213s
29 LMP1-H O.Pla, J.Mardenborough, M.Chilton Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m55.695s
30 LMP1-H T.Matsuda, M.Shulzhitskiy, L.Ordonez Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m57.567s
31 GTE Pro D.Turner, S.Mucke, R.Bell Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m58.069s
32 LMP3 L.Tomlinson, C.Robertson, C.Hoy Team LNT Ginetta/Nissan 3m58.308s
33 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, J.Taylor Corvette Racing Chevrolet 3m59.159s
34 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m59.338s
35 GTE Pro D.Rigon, J.Calado, O.Beretta AF Corse Ferrari 3m59.420s
36 GTE Pro G.Bruni, T.Vilander, G.Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 3m59.546s
37 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen, J.Bergmeister, S.Muller Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 4m00.272s
38 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, C.Nygaard, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 4m00.316s
39 GTE Pro F.Rees, A.MacDowall, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 4m00.325s
40 GTE Pro P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki, W.Henzler, S.Muller Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 4m01.066s
41 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, P.Keen Gulf Racing UK Porsche 4m01.208s
42 GTE Am D.Cameron, M.Griffin, A.Mortimer AF Corse Ferrari 4m01.221s
43 GTE Am A.Al Faisal, K.Giermaziak, M.Avenatti JMW Motorsport Ferrari 4m02.212s
44 GTE Am V.Shaitar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov SMP Racing Ferrari 4m02.325s
45 GTE Am J.Bleekemolen, B.Keating, M.Miller Riley Motorsports-Ti Auto SRT/Dodge 4m02.499s
46 GTE Am P.Perazzini, M.Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 4m02.732s
47 GTE Am G.Roda, P.Ruberti, K.Poulsen Larbre Competition Chevrolet 4m02.856s
48 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 4m02.994s
49 GTE Am B.Sweedler, T.Bell, J.Segal Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 4m03.117s
50 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, R.Briscoe Corvette Racing Chevrolet 4m03.775s
51 GTE Am R.Goethe, S.Hall, F.Castellacci Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 4m04.354s
52 GTE Am H.C.Chen, G.Vannelet, M.Parisy Team AAI Porsche 4m04.491s
53 GTE Am C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, K.Bachler Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 4m04.756s
54 GTE Am P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried Dempsey Racing – Proton Porsche 4m05.813s
55 GTE Am J.Laursen, M.Mac, A.Rizzoli Formula Racing Ferrari 4m07.257s
56 GTE Am J.San Chen, A.Kapadia, X.Maassen Team AAI Porsche 4m07.378s
57 LMP3 M.Chilton, T.Matsuda, A.Buncombe Team LNT Ginetta/Nissan 4m08.002s
58 LMP2 Y.Yamagishi, P.Perret, J.Ibanez, S.Raffin Ibanez Racing ORECA/Nissan 4m08.462s
59 GTE Am P.Mann, R.Giammaria, M.Cressoni AF Corse Ferrari 4m12.191s
60 LMP2 T.Fujii, S.Hoshino, C.Klien KCMG ORECA/Judd 4m14.106s
61 GTE Am Y.Mallegol, J-M.Bachelier, H.Blank, E.Mouez AF Corse Ferrari 4m21.492s
62 LMP2 J.Nicolet, J-M.Merlin, E.Maris Oak Racing Ligier/HPD 4m21.842s
63 LMP2 C.Cumming, L.Vanthoor Oak Racing Ligier/HPD 4m26.356s
64 LMP1 S.Trummer, P.Kaffer, T.Monteiro Team ByKolles CLM/AER

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