2010 Endurance Racing Thread (Le Mans, LMS, AmLMS, AsLMS, whatever)

vikiradTG2007

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The ACO has officially announced the automatic invitations for the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, so I feel it is time to kick off the thread for the discussion of everything endurance-related in the 2010 motorsport season. From the big daddies, Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans, to the American/European/Asian Le Mans Series races, everything concerning endurance racing goes here.

So, let's kick it off.

http://www.lemans.org/files/actu/2009-11-19__4645_gb.html

Invitation list:

LMP1:

Peugeot Sport Total (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) - 1st Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Team Peugeot Total (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) - 2nd Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Aston Martin Racing (Lola Aston Martin) - 1st Le Mans Series 2009
Pescarolo Sport (Pescarolo 01 Judd) - 2nd Le Mans Series 2009
Patr?n Highcroft Racing (Acura ARX-02a) - 1st American Le Mans Series 2009
Sora Racing (Pescarolo 01 Judd) - 1st Asian Le Mans Series 2009
Team Peugeot Total (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) - 1st Petit Le Mans 2009


Interestingly, this is the first time in some time that Audi does not get an automatic invite. Peugeot sweeps up three invites, so they can prepare without hassle for the big race. Also here's hoping that Highcroft Racing take up their invitation and bring the Acura to Le Mans.

LMP2:

Team Essex (Porsche RS Spyder) - 1st Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Speedy Racing Sebah (Lola Judd) - 2nd Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Quifel ASM Team (Ginetta-Zytek) - 1st Le Mans Series 2009
Speedy Racing Team Sebah (Lola Judd) - 2nd Le Mans Series 2009
OAK Racing (Lola Mazda) - 1st Asian Le Mans Series 2009
Lowe?s Fern?ndez Racing (Acura ARX-01b) - 1st American Le Mans Series 2009
Speedy Racing Team Sebah (Lola Judd) - 1st Michelin Green X Challenge 2009


Hmmm... three invites for Speedy Racing Team Sebah? :lol: And an invite to Fernandez Racing... which has just folded as a team.

GT1:

Corvette Racing (Corvette C6.R) - 1st Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Luc Alphand Aventures (Corvette C6.R) - 2nd Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Luc Alphand Aventures (Corvette C6.R) - 1st Le Mans Series 2009
JLOC (Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT) - 1st Asian Le Mans Series 2009
Vitaphone Racing Team (Maserati MC12) - 1st FIA GT 2009
PK Carsport (Corvette C6.R) - 2nd FIA GT 2009


Let's hope JLOC doesn't mean another waste of an entry. Also Larbre Competition finished 2nd in the LMS but didn't get an invitation because they missed Spa. That's pretty dumb.
And, hopefully, we'll see the Mazzers at LM next year.

GT2:

Risi Competizione (Ferrari F430 GT2) - 1st Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
BMS Scuderia Italia (Ferrari F430 GT2) - 2nd Le Mans 24 Hours 2009
Team Felbermayr-Proton (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) - 1st Le Mans Series 2009
JMW Motorsport (Ferrari F430 GT2) - 2nd Le Mans Series 2009
Flying Lizard Motorsports (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) - 1st American Le Mans Series 2009
Hankook Team Farnbacher (Ferrari F430 GT2) - 1st Asian Le Mans Series 2009
AF Corse (Ferrari F430 GT2) - 1st FIA GT 2009
ProSpeed Competition (Porsche 997 GT3 RSR) - 2nd FIA GT 2009
Risi Competizione (Ferrari F430 GT) - 1st Petit Le Mans 2009


No surprises here. Hoping the battle between Ferrari and Porsche will last 24 hours, not 14 hours like it did this year.

Okay, let the discussions begin! :):)
 

Scott

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That list almost looks weird without Audi on it. I was kind of hoping to see some TRG on there too, but I guess I was just destined for disappointment today!
 

vikiradTG2007

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http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80318

Highcroft to continue with Acura

By Matt Beer Monday, November 23rd 2009, 13:51 GMT

American Le Mans Series champion team Highcroft is to continue with Acura in next season's combined prototype class.

Duncan Dayton's squad, which won the 2009 LMP1 crown with David Brabham and Scott Sharp, will use a new development of the original LMP2 Acura ARX-01 rather than this year's LMP1 ARX-02a. The ALMS is amalgamating LMP1 and LMP2 for 2010 to encourage closer competition, and will balance the cars' performance accordingly.

Highcroft has been the frontrunner among the Acura teams since the Honda brand first came to the ALMS, and will be its official test and development team in 2010.

"We are delighted to continue our relationship with Honda Performance Development," Dayton said.

"We will have the #1 on our car for 2010 and firmly believe the ARX-01c will give us the best opportunity to defend that championship. We are very much looking forward to continuing our working relationship with the team at HPD - they have played an integral role in our championship success."

Brabham will remain with the team, but Sharp is moving across to his new GT2 Ferrari operation Extreme Speed Motorsports. Highcroft has yet to announce the identity of Brabham's new team-mate, and also hopes to expand to a second car next year.

Dayton is confident that the upgraded LMP2 Acura is the best choice for the ALMS' new era.

"We are awaiting full details from the ALMS, but we expect the LMP1 cars to be slowed and the LMP2 machines to be offered more performance freedoms," he said.

"Everyone saw the performance of the ARX-01b at this year's ALMS race at Laguna Seca [where the Fernandez LMP2 Acura battled with the LMP1s], and we think this car will be a very wise weapon of choice for 2010.

"The combined prototype class is going to provide some extremely fierce competition and our team is very much looking forward to the fight."
 

racer

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well I?m looking forward to next year and to see what will happen with the alms. personally I would say that the alms faces a hard future without the big companys like audi, acura and so on. the main action will apperantly take place in the gt2 category so I?m asking myself what the imsa wants to do about this development.
 

vikiradTG2007

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Interesting development in terms of Peugeot's line-up for next season...

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80406

Loeb closes on Peugeot Le Mans seat

By Matt Beer Wednesday, December 2nd 2009, 16:24 GMT

Peugeot is lining up World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb as part of its driving squad for next year's Le Mans 24 Hours.

Loeb tested at Motorland Aragon in Spain last week alongside Peugeot regulars Sebastien Bourdais, Marc Gene, Franck Montagny and Alex Wurz.

The team has now confirmed that this test was conducted with a view to Loeb racing at Le Mans next season. The Frenchman will continue to test with Peugeot over the next three months before the squad decides whether he should be part of its Le Mans assault.

"Sebastien Loeb made an active contribution to the test which formed part of a programme leading up to a possible participation for the Frenchman in the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours, given that there is no WRC round scheduled the same weekend," said a Peugeot statement.

"Sebastien will now take part in Peugeot Sport's upcoming simulation tests, and a decision regarding his incorporation in the Peugeot Total squad for next June's race will be taken jointly at the end of February."

Loeb contested Le Mans with Pescarolo in 2005 and 2006, finishing second overall in the latter event. He first tested the Peugeot 908 last autumn, but Le Mans clashed with the Acropolis Rally this year.
 

Loop

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I'd really like to see him driving at Le Mans. I know he didn't do all that well in his GP2 test but maybe he would be better at driving an endurance racer. After all, he is by far the best driver on tarmac in WRC so now he would have a chance to prove his skills on another kind of racer.
 

vikiradTG2007

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He raced at LM in 2005 and 2006, and in '06 he actually co-drove the second-placed car (behind the dominating Audi R10). It's going to be interesting to see how quickly he gets on the pace in a diesel behemoth like the 908 HDi.
 

vikiradTG2007

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http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80443

BMW to race GT2 M3 in Europe

By Matt Beer Saturday, December 5th 2009, 23:10 GMT

BMW is to expand its GT racing programme for 2010 and is hoping to race at the Le Mans 24 Hours as well as in the Le Mans Series.

As part of the reorganisation of its factory motorsport projects, former works World Touring Car team Schnitzer will run the GT2 BMW M3 in the LMS and the Nurburgring-based VLN Endurance series, as well as at the 24-hour races at Le Mans, Spa and the Nurburgring.

The company is optimistic that the M3 will be approved by Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, allowing BMW to return to Le Mans in a factory capacity for the first time since it won the 1999 24 Hours with its last LMP1 car.

"BMW Motorsport is currently in positive discussions with organisers and governing bodies regarding the approval of the car," said a BMW statement.

Jorg Muller and Dirk Werner will be Schnitzer's regular drivers for the GT programme. Muller moves across from BMW's factory WTCC team, while Werner joins from Porsche's GT squad. WTCC drivers Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx will also make GT appearances, with former DTM racer Uwe Alzen and VLN regular Dirk Adorf joining the team for the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

Its factory American Le Mans Series GT programme with Rahal Letterman Racing will also continue through 2010. RLR gave the new GT2 M3 its racing debut this year, and took the car's first class win in the Road America round.

In addition to its GT2 expansion, BMW will make a version of the Z4 available for customer teams to use in GT3 series.

Although the firm will no longer be involved in Formula 1, BMW motorsport chief Mario Theissen believes its increased sportscar presence will provide a suitable showcase for its cars.

"I am pleased that we are able to offer our fans an attractive motorsport programme in the first year since our withdrawal from Formula 1," he said.

"In production car racing, BMW has enjoyed countless triumphs throughout the course of its long racing history - whether with close-to-production touring cars or imposing GT sports cars. We want to follow on from this success in 2010, in both the World Touring Car Championship and the ALMS. In addition, our programme will include works entries at 24-hour classics for the first time since 2005.

"Furthermore, we will also expand our customer racing programme, and will be offering a new car in the form of a BMW Z4 that complies with GT3 regulations.

"In general, we are well positioned to demonstrate the performance of our cars to our customers around the world in 2010."

Excellent! :thumbsup:
 

vikiradTG2007

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Triple post hooray. 2010 Le Mans Series calendar confirmed!

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80449

Ricard to host eight-hour LMS race

Sunday, December 6th 2009, 10:09 GMT

The Le Mans Series has confirmed that its 2010 season will kick off with an eight-hour race at Paul Ricard, as revealed by this week's AUTOSPORT magazine.

The new calendar also sees the championship make its Hungaroring debut. The Hungarian Grand Prix venue will host an evening race in mid-August, while the preceding round at Portimao will also finish in darkness again. Ricard and the Hungaroring replace Catalunya and the Nurburgring on the schedule.

The eight-hour Ricard race, scheduled for April 11, is designed to reflect the series' "spirit of endurance" according to LMS boss Patrick Peter. It will be the first time that an LMS race has been longer than 1000km or six hours since its inception in 2004.

"We want to start the year with a big test for our teams before Le Mans," said Peter. "That is why we will have an eight-hour race at Paul Ricard.

"This idea is in the spirit of endurance. In the past, the world sportscar championship had races of many different race lengths - 24 hours, nine races, six hours, 1000km and 500km. This is an idea we are trying for 2010. After that we will see for the future."

The longer Paul Ricard race is a likely candidate for inclusion in the Intercontinental Cup for prototypes planned by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. It wants to unite the blue-riband races in the Le Mans rules series it sanctions in Europe, America and Asia into a championship of about half a dozen events.

Aston Martin Racing team principal George Howard-Chappell came out in support of the idea.

"It will present a good opportunity to test before Le Mans, especially if, as the LMS [organisers] are saying, there will be the opportunity to run at Ricard the week after the race," he said. "That could make for a good endurance simulation."

Peter explained that the series organisation needed to ensure that the longer race does not lead to a significant increase in costs. He stressed that the rule that limits teams to three engines over the course of the LMS season will remain in place.

Normal points will be awarded for the Ricard race. The LMS has abandoned the Formula 1 style points system in favour of awarding 15 points for a win, 13 for second, down to 1 for 12th. All classified finishers will also receive a point.

2010 Le Mans Series schedule:

Date Event
7-8 March Official Tests - Paul Ricard Circuit
9-11 April 8 Hours of the Castellet - Paul Ricard Circuit
7-9 May 1000 Km of Spa-Francorchamps
15-17 July 1000 Km of Algarve (Night race)
21-22 August 1000 Km of Hungaroring (Night race)
10-12 September AUTOSPORT 1000 Km of Silverstone

If I can sort out everything by then, I'll probably be going to the Hungaroring for the LMS race. Also, interesting addition in the form of the 8-hour race at Ricard with a 24h test afterwards. It might lure the factory diesel behemoths in...


Also, interesting tidbit about the intercontinental plans of the ACO. Any guesses as to the nine races? I'm going for Ricard, Sebring, Le Mans, Spa, Laguna Seca, maybe Fuji/Okayama, Silverstone, Algarve and Road Atlanta.
 
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Joc?

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Wait, an LMS race at the Hungaroring?!? :blink: YAY!

I haven't heard this before, it's nowhere in the news here, which is no surprise because I don't think there are many journalists in Hungary who know what LMS is... :rolleyes:

I'm definetely going.
 

Hazardous

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Also, interesting tidbit about the intercontinental plans of the ACO. Any guesses as to the nine races? I'm going for Ricard, Sebring, Le Mans, Spa, Laguna Seca, maybe Fuji/Okayama, Silverstone, Algarve and Road Atlanta.

Nine? I read 'half a dozen races' :p

I think there are some nobrainers for the calendar; Le Mans, Spa and Silverstone in Europe, Sebring and Road Atlanta in US and one race from the Asian series. That would be a six race calendar.

Now, when looking at potential additions to that calendar you have to look at the event dates and consider what would be realistic for the teams who'd be willing to take part in all of the intercontinental races. There are only two weeks between Sebring and Paul Ricard, for instance, which I assume rules out one of them (especially as the top teams tend to stay at Sebring after the race for testing). Same applies for Spa and Laguna Seca, they are only two weeks apart with the preparations for Le Mans starting soon after Laguna Seca.

Assuming the Asian Le Mans Series runs during the European off-season again there's quite a big gap between Le Mans and Silverstone so there could be one or two extra races there. LMS has the night races in Algarve and Hungaroring during that gap, while ALMS goes to Utah, Mid-Ohio and Road America. Out of those I would imagine Algarve and Road America being most likely candidates. And the ninth event could be another event from Asia during the winter.
 

vikiradTG2007

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Two big pieces of news: the first Intercontinental ACO Cup will be three races (Autosport 1000 Km of Silverstone, Petit Le Mans and an Asian Le Mans Series round).


And Audi will NOT repeat the mistake they did last year.

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80496

Audi increases LMP1 programme

By Matt Beer Wednesday, December 9th 2009, 11:04 GMT

Audi is to expand its prototype programme for 2010 and will enter the new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup as well as the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Spa Francorchamps round of the Le Mans Series.

The German marque scaled back its LMP1 project in 2009 due to the economic downturn - withdrawing from the LMS and American Le Mans Series and only racing in the Sebring 12 Hours and Petit Le Mans alongside its traditional Le Mans 24 Hours start. Although Audi's new R15 won on its debut at Sebring, it was beaten by Peugeot at Le Mans and Road Atlanta.

Next year its flagship squad Joest will run three cars at Spa and Le Mans, and then a two-car team in the Intercontinental Cup. The driver line-up has yet to be announced.

Audi's motorsport boss Dr Wolfgang Ullrich said Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest's willingness to embrace alternative technologies was key to his firm's continued involvement in LMP1.

"In 2001, at Le Mans, we used a TFSI engine for the first time that has since become standard in production vehicles," said Ullrich. "In 2006, we were the first automobile manufacturer in history to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a diesel-powered vehicle.

"And in the future we will use our LMP1 cars to test pioneering technologies and to underscore our 'Vorsprung durch Technik' claim also on the race track.

"Therefore, we welcome greatly the fact that the Automobile Club de l'Ouest has announced the first international racing series for LMP1 vehicles. We are convinced that this motorsport category, which is particularly attractive from the perspective of technology, has prospects for a great future and fits our times well."
 

Hazardous

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If you're referring to the number of preparation races before the big race I don't see any improvement over last year. There's still only one race next year before Le Mans since Audi is not making the trip to Sebring. Or at least haven't announced it yet.
 

vikiradTG2007

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^ They'll probably do Sebring as well, if we look at previous years. But the mistake they did last year was not racing the car afterwards besides testing it, and Peugeot plonked a couple of its cars at Spa for basically a 1000km test in racing conditions.
 

Hazardous

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Possibly (and hopefully), but I do find it strange that they didn't announce it at the same time, especially as it would be the first race of the year.

Then again, ACO's statement says Audi has to enter five races to be eligible for the Intercontinental Cup and as Le Mans doesn't count the programme Audi announced only has four races in it.
 

vikiradTG2007

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^ Which would likely be where Sebring comes in.


EDIT: Apparently OAK Racing is going to take over most of the running of Pescarolo Sport's operations... which is a weird move. Either Le Grand Pesca is retiring, or in compensation for the destroyed #17 Pug last year, he'll have to work alongside Olivier Quesnel next year at Peugeot.
 
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vikiradTG2007

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^ No idea, but the F430 GT2 is pretty old by racing standards. Personally I'm expecting to see a 458 GT2 on the racetracks of the world by Sebring 2011.
 

Forstrocker

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Does anyone know when/if Ferrari will release a 458 Italia GT2 car?
I read that it will appear just bevor the 2011 racingseason, as well as the new 911 GT3 RSR (911 FIA GT2 version).
 
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PelicanHazard

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^ Same thing I read. Apparently Ferrari updated the F430 GT2 for this racing season to try and keep it competitive until they can roll out the F458 GT2.
 
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