Le Mans 24 Hours
It would be easy to write off Le Mans 2013 as a ‘lame duck’ year while we are waiting for the new LMP1 regulations, new cars and new manufacturers to arrive in 2014. Given the disappointing performance of the Toyota challenge at FiA WEC Spa and at the LM test day you could also assume that another Audi victory is odds-on favorite.
But hang on - before you engrave the Ingolstadt manufacturer’s name into the trophy, remember that Le Mans will be only the 3rd outing for the new for 2013 TS 030 and that 2013 is the first full-season of FiA WEC competition for the Toyota team. Also think back to the 2nd half of last year when the knowledge and confidence levels of TMG increased exponentially and they dominated the remainder of the WEC in style.
Audi have of course responded, and ‘turned up’ the performance of the turbo diesels. In doing so they are using more fuel – up to 20% more by some estimates meaning it’s quite likely that the n/a petrol hybrid TS 030 will go longer, if not as quickly, as the German trio.
So at the front of the field a ‘classic’ Le Mans calculation; speed and fuel burn, with the attendant reliability/accident risks, versus planned race pace and economy, with reduced reliability worries and less of an imperative to pass the car ‘right now!’
Outside of the factories, the LMP1 privateers continue their scrap and with an improved BoP to the manufacturer cars may be close enough to benefit if anything goes wrong ahead.
LMP2 is the best field of teams and drivers in a generation and over half the 22 car grid are genuinely in with winning chance.
The Gte classed have Aston Martin as strong contenders for both titles, but despite the British brand’s numerical advantage, expect the competition from Ferrari, Porsche and Corvette to be at stiff as ever.
Making a welcome return to Le Sarthe are the Vipers of SRT, perhaps not on the ultimate pace but clearly making progress in performance terms and not just making up the numbers.
Radiolemans.com was the only broadcaster to cover the test day and you can hear what happened by downloading the podcasts.
The Preview shows have traditionally been aired the weeks between test day and the race, no change this year and they will also be available to download so you can arrive at the track fully-informed.
The Radiolemans.com team will be in France from the weekend before the race with exclusive reports from Sunday and Monday’s scrutineering sessions. Midweek Motorsport is live from the track at lunchtime on Wednesday19th, and every track session, and the whole race is live and uninterrupted on www.radiolemans.com and around the circuit on 91.2FM. Aside from the action there’s a whole schedule of special programmes tailored to the endurance fan, and every moment of live broadcasting will be available, free, to download or listen on demand through our archive.
You can join us at the race with the Radio Le Mans Travel Club. We have our own exclusive trackside camp site, and can also organise all your travel, wherever in the world you're starting your trip.