My first memory of the lemans 24h was in 2006. I did not attend the race and
didn't even watch it. I did not even know about the race at the time. I lived in Detroit, and one day while driving past the GM headquarters, they had a
sign announcing their victory at LeMans in the GT1 class with the all new C6R.
Once home I looked up the information and the rest is history.
If you're reading this article, chances are you are not such a novice at the
sport. But everybody needs a guide sometimes. So here it is.
In GTE Am, we do not quite see any other team with more preparedness, more
experience, and stability than the Aston Martin Racing #98, A.K.A the Dalla Lana car. The have a competitive lineup, more experience together, a competitive car, a very experienced crew, and having mastered the race and suffered devastating heartbreak, we believe they have the ingredients to get "the feel" that would take them to victory.
Last year's defending champion, the Scuderia corsa #62 doesn't quite pack the
same punch this time around with Cooper MacNeil replacing Jeff Segal. But they
still are a very solid lineup (probably even better funded too). We have to say
the #65 Ferrari 488 being in the same team as the #62 makes them another contender, especially with their level of performance in the Weathertech championship.
The Larbre competition corvette is not entered in any season long championship, however this a team that has won the event 3 times in class and our gut feel is telling us they will be there if others have trouble. Unlike last year the Corvette in GTE Am seems to have the pace. Clearwater Racing's #61 car is also a well rounded team. They lead the WEC championship in GTE Am. But we couldn't overlook their second car with a certain Alvaro Parente lurking in the crew.
In GTE Pro, the balance of performance is closer than last year. But we feel
IMSA would still have done better than the ACO.
All teams are strong and the drivers are all stars. Ford is only here to win it and nothing else. Having watched the Chip Ganassi team over the years, they're just too clever, too well prepared, and equipped to not have a hidden advantage. They live for big races. With 4 cars and plenty of race permutations available, there won't be having any of the "Force India at the Canadian Grand prix" incident going on. The best strategy for victory will play out.
Aside from the Fords however, the Corvettes and Ferraris with solid experience,
and years of strategy analysis at this race are our picks if Ford can't deliver. Aston seems fast, but we feel the race will yield a weak spot in their 8 years old chassis.
The GTE pro battle will be the one to follow for the biggest entertainment value. P1 has too few cars, P2 too many cars and unrecognizable teams, GTE Am will have a few bumbling deep pocketed guys who might make you think twice about the prestige of the race.
GTE Pro regroups the best characteristics of the other 3 classes, and none of the drawbacks. The cars are easily recognizable, the drivers are the best anywhere in the world, and any team can win.