The two Toyotas that have already won the first two races this season, showed they are still as quick as ever. In LM P2, Morgan set the quickest time and in GTE Pro and GTE Am the honours went to Porsche and Ferrari respectively.
After the two 4-hour long sessions with a 1-hour break the two TS 040 Hybrids topped the time sheets as no 8 lapped in 3m23.014 sec (av. speed: 241,7 km/h), thanks to Sébastien Buemi, 8/10 sec off last year’s pole (Duval, no. 2 Audi, 3m22.349 sec). It was 14/100ths of a second in front of no 7.
Next up were the two Audis no 3 and no 1, which set exactly the same time, 3m24.453 sec, 1.4 sec off the Toyotas. Porsche, making its comeback after an absence of 16 years finished in fifth (no 14) and seventh places (no 20) with its 919 Hybrids.
In LM P2, the Alpine A450B-Nissan driven by Paul-Loup Chatin was quickest in the morning. However, in the closing minutes of the test Roman Rusinov put in a stunning lap in the no 26 Morgan in 3m37.795 sec to snatch the best time from the no 48 Oreca 03-Nissan entered by Irish team Murphy Prototypes. The Russian driver improved the pole position in the category by almost a second. The Alpine (also making a comeback to Le Mans) A450 finished third just in front of the quickest Ligier JS P2 (no 35).
As always the gaps were small in the LM GTE Pro category in which the no 92 works Porsche set the fastest lap in 3m57.260 sec thanks to Frédéric Makowiecki. Two Ferraris were second and third: the no 51 works car ahead of the privately entered RAM Racing car. Fourth 1.2 sec behind was the first of the new Corvette C-7s having a promising maiden outing on the Le Mans circuit.
Paolo Ruberti in the no 90 Ferrari 458 Italia (8 Star Motorsport) was the fastest of the LM GTE Am drivers in 3m57.403. He finished in front of six more identical Ferraris with no 72 and no 61 in second and third places.
The Nissan ZEOD RC entered in the 56th garage attracted a lot of attention and its best lap was 3m54.145 sec (27th time out of the 54 cars) with an average speed of 209,5 km/h.
2014 Le Mans 24-Hours Scrutinnering
The 55 cars entered for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2014 have all passed successfully through the scrutineering process. However the no 22 Oreca 03R-Nissan, Millenium Racing with drivers Fabien Giroix, John Martin and Oliver Turvey has withdrawn from the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 2014 field of 55 cars includes 27 prototypes and 28 GTs and breaks down as follows: 9 LM P1s (7 LM P1 Hybrids and 2 LM P1 Lights), 17 LM P2s, 9 LM GTE Pros, 19 LM GTE Ams and one CDNT (the car in the 56th garage).
Scrutineering began on Sunday 8th June, as a hot sun shone on the Place de la République in Le Mans with the no 35 Oak Racing Ligier JS P2 –Nissan and completed on Monday 9th June under dark clouds with the no 74 Corvette Chevrolet C7.
On Sunday, 22 cars passed through the various inspections in front of a particularly large and passionate public. Highlights of the day included the much anticipated appearance of the Porsche 919 Hybrids and Toyota TS040 Hybrids along with Patrick Dempsey, back for his second Le Mans 24.
On Monday, 33 cars were submitted to technical and administrative examination. Monday’s highlights included the impressive armada of Ferrari 458 Italia entered by the AF Corse team, the two Rebellion R-Ones, the four works Aston Martins and defending champions Audi.
A young American, Matthew McMurry will be the youngest driver to take the start of the race in the no 42 Caterham Racing Zytek Z11SN-Nissan. Born on the 24th November 1997, he will be 16 years and 202 days old, almost a year younger than the current holder of the record, the late Ricardo Rodríguez who in 1959 was 17 years and 126 days old.
For comparison, the senior driver of 2014 is Howard Blank, driver of the no 62 Ferrari, aged 65. The average driver age this year is 34. The only female racing driver in this year’s race is Keiko Ihara in the no 50 Larbre Competition Morgan Judd.
On Tuesday 10th June, the 165 drivers took part in the group photo ‘the class of 2014’ and will meet fans at the big autograph session and pit walk.
Track activity starts on Wednesday 11th June with free practice from 16:00 to 20:00 and qualifying from 22:00 to midnight.
Fernando Alonso, double Formula 1 World Champion will start the 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday 14th June 2014 at 15h00. Allan McNish will be the Grand Marshal and Doug Fehan will be awarded the Spirit of Le Mans Trophy. By Melissa Warren