Friday, June 16, 2017

2017 24h of Le Mans preview - LMPs


In LMP2, the battle will be all Orecas all the time. This glaringly demonstrates why all the WEC teams opted for the Oreca chassis. When you have a guaranteed spot for Le Mans you want the name that has won it in back to back years. Despite Ligiers having the numbers advantage the past 2 years, Orecas have won it on the trot and are looking to repeat.

Aside from an anomaly in the form of Indycar driver Mikhail Aleshin lodging his SMP Racing #27 Dallara between the Orecas in 10th place in P2, the first Ligier is 15th in the LMP2 qualifying and 4 seconds off the pole time.

Is there a chance there could be anything but Orecas on the podium? Well anything is possible, but the Oreca teams are some of the best prepared, with top drivers, and well funded teams. For most of them this is a round of the championship not just a one-off race for prestige. They will make sure there isn't nothing but Orecas on the podium.

How about the lone "Proud American" in P2. What are their chances? Daytona was impressive with a podium debut for the Riley chassis. They can bank on that same reliability to finish...mid pack. For a podium they would have to pick up the pieces if Orecas, Ligiers and Dallaras get tripped up. They would have to stay flawless (fuel and tires only), and be fast. However in all honesty unusual circumstances have to be present for any other brand aside Orecas to land a podium. It has to be a terminal malfunction that starts affecting a good number of the Orecas.

So who among the Orecas can taste Champaign? Well our favorite lineup is the G-Drive #22. Not only they have an Oreca, but their "Silver" driver, Jose Guttierez was dicing it up for a few laps with none other than Ricky Taylor who was driving the all-conquering Dallara-Cadillac during the Sebring 12hrs.  The rest of their line up is made up of memo Rojas who should really be ranked Platinum instead of Gold, and "Gold' ranked Ryo Hirakawa. Our other favorites are both Alpine cars, both Rebellions, the Manors, and the Jackie Chan DC racing cars. We figure any of them to be running for prominent places.


The #1 Porsche has an eye catching lineup. It's almost like the Dream Team car Audi had with Capello, McNish and Kristensen, and then later on with Fassler, Lotterer and Treluyer.

Toyota is faster, but this Porsche will put pressure on the Toyotas to keep the pace up, and maybe even force them into errors. Another eye catcher is Nicolas Lapierre in the #9 Toyota. He wasn't brought back into the Toyota fold to make up numbers for the 3rd car. He has won the race back to back in LMP2 with different teams since he was sacked from Toyota. He has mastered the Le Mans "feel", and the secrets to winning the race. Toyota wants in on that success. I feel they will do it.