24 Hours of Le Mans Friday Notebook: Scrutineering, Driver Updates, and Team Preparations

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Scrutineering Progress:

  • On Friday, 37 of the 62 cars entered in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans completed scrutineering at the Place de la Republique in downtown Le Mans. The remaining 25 cars are scheduled to undergo checks on Saturday.
  • Notable Hypercar teams that passed scrutineering include BMW M Team WRT, Hertz Team JOTA, Lamborghini Iron Lynx, Isotta Fraschini Duqueine, Alpine, Cadillac (both Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing), and Peugeot.

Driver Updates and Team Adjustments:

  • Jordan Pepper was officially confirmed as Lamborghini Iron Lynx’s reserve driver. The South African driver is expected to get seat time in both Lamborghini SC63s during Sunday’s test day.
  • Peugeot reserve driver Malthe Jakobsen will focus on his duties with the No. 37 Cool Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, despite being listed for the test day. Meanwhile, his co-driver Ritomo Miyata will handle double duty, driving both the LMP2 car and the Toyota GR010 Hybrid.
  • Frederik Vesti from Cool Racing’s No. 47 car missed scrutineering due to commitments with the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix, where he serves as a reserve driver.
  • BMW’s Raffaele Marciello revealed a special helmet design paying tribute to the late Jules Bianchi. While Marciello and Dries Vanthoor attended scrutineering, their teammate Robin Frijns was the sole representative for the No. 20 BMW M Hybrid V8 as Sheldon van der Linde and Rene Rast are in Zandvoort.

Logistical and Strategic Details:

  • Drivers affected by the DTM clash (Rast, van der Linde, Marco Wittmann, Kelvin van der Linde, Mirko Bortolotti, and Jack Aitken) will share a private jet for travel between Le Mans and Zandvoort, with a helicopter ready to transport them from Amsterdam airport to the circuit.
  • GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop Klauser expressed confidence despite Alex Palou missing Sunday’s test due to an NTT IndyCar series round at Road America. She emphasized his skill and readiness to perform despite limited seat time.

Technical Challenges and Controversies:

  • Rahel Frey voiced concerns over the ACO’s decision to add 25 kg to the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2’s minimum weight and reduce its power to under 200 km/h. Frey anticipates this will negatively impact their performance.
  • TF Sport’s Tom Ferrier is keenly aware of the responsibility to uphold Corvette Racing’s legacy at Le Mans, with extensive support from Pratt Miller and GM to ensure optimal performance for their No. 82 Corvette Z06 GT3.R.

Notable Quotes and Insights:

  • Daniel Juncadella of the No. 82 Corvette Z06 GT3.R downplayed concerns over his crew’s lack of Le Mans experience, citing modern simulators and preparation tools that have helped him feel ready for the race.
  • United Autosports LMP2 driver Ben Keating reflected humorously on past difficulties with previous cars, expressing optimism for this year’s race with a more suitable vehicle and tire setup.
  • Defending LMP2 winner Fabio Scherer, now with Nielsen Racing, joked about his goal to avoid injuries this year after winning with a broken foot in 2023.

Facility Updates and Upcoming Events:

  • ORECA celebrated the grand opening of its new 86,000-square-foot Technocentre, dedicated to race car design, construction, and assembly, located adjacent to Circuit Paul Ricard.
  • Saturday will feature scrutineering for the remaining cars and a parade of 17 cars, including nine Hypercars, through the streets of Le Mans starting at 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EDT).

Stay tuned for more updates as teams and drivers gear up for one of the most prestigious endurance races in the world.

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