Sports Car Racing News

3.2.2010LMS entry list released(LMS)

Today the Le Mans Series entry list was released. It contains 44 cars, most of which are in LMP2 (16) and GT2 (15) classes. Only two Saleens are listed in GT1. In GT2 there is a factory BMW Schnitzer entry among cars usual in previous seasons. In LMP1 the Pescarolo team now disappeared completely while rather surprisingly factory Audi R15 is listed with two cars. All other entries were more or less expected with a single exception, the Lola B10/60 Coupé of Noël Del Bello Racing, which is a welcome addition. Altogether there are four Audis against four Lolas and lone Peugeot, Oreca and Zytek. One of the Lolas is last year's Aston Martin incarnation. At the same time with the full season entry factory team Audi confirmed they plan only three races at the moment: Paul Ricard, Spa and Silverstone. The LMP2 class sees a return of MG Lola but with AER engine, debut of HDP (ex-Acura) and a good selection of various other makes seen in the past: Lola, Zytek, Radical, Zytek, Courage, Pescarolo and Lucchini.
2.2.2010Aston Martin Racing programme(Le Mans)

Aston Martin Racing team announced their plans recently. The focus will be the Le Mans 24 Hour race where the team did surprisingly well the last year when the best car finished fourth. But there will be more races. Sebring 12 Hours and the second ALMS race are on their schedule. Then the factory team take one car to Paul Ricard for the first Le Mans Series race. No more races are planned before the Le Mans race but there are some likely races in the second half of the season, to be announced later. Generally we can follow a tendency of big factory team to contest only selected rounds of various series rather than competing for titles in individual championships. While last year factory Acura concentrated and won ALMS, and Aston Martin did the same in the Le Mans Series, this year the title would most likely go to privateers, but factories will add some attention here and there. So it seems that first LMS race will see Aston Martin racing against privateers, while in the second LMS race at Spa a battle between factory Audi and Peugeot is possible. Hopefully the planned International Le Mans Challenge might bring the factories together to fight for one world crown.
27.1.2010FIA GT1 entry list(FIA GT)

FIA today officially released the entry list for the first World GT1 Championship. The description of it is pretty simple. Six makes, each represented by four cars provided from two different teams. Nothing special or surprising, for those who do not know the manufacturers involved, here they are: Aston Martin (DBRS9), Corvette (Z06), Ford (GT), Lamborghini (Murcielago R-SV), Maserati (MC12) and Nissan (GT-R). The monotone pattern of the entry list (4 x 6 = 24) is expected throughout the season, unless some teams fail to show. There is no word whether some one-off local entries will be permitted but it is more likely that they will not. The same idea of quite strict entry numbers was originally used also in the FIA GT3 series, fortunately further development created more interesting irregular entry patterns, which were always classic in sports car racing.
23.1.2010Radical will continue in LMS(LMS)

After it had been announced that factory team Bruichladdich would move from Radical to Zytek this season, it looked as if Radical days in Le Mans Series were counted but with a recent announcement of Pierre Bruneau that his team will continue with the Radical, the prospect for the make looks better. Bruneau had been running his own team for many year - originally with Debora, later with Pilbeam - joined its forces with Team Bruichladdich last season to campaign the last Radical in the series, seems now to operate indecently as a factory supported Radical team. An application was also sent to the ACO for the Le Mans race.
14.1.2010Norma to join LMP2 grids(LMS)

It was recently announced that Norma will join the LMP2 ranks this season. One car will be present in European-based Le Mans Series. It will be run by Pegasus Racing, the team that fielded older Courage last season and should return with both cars now. Manufacturer Norma is mainly known from low level Group CN championships but it made a couple of excursions into the ACO race realm. The first attempt was an one-off Le Mans 1990 entry of type M6, which failed to qualify. Then it was a longer period of the M14, later called M2000, in the WSC/SRP form seen on both side of Atlantic. Three of those cars were built, entered five times in Le Mans between 1995 and 2003 but made it to the grid only in its final attempt, when it failed to finish, retiring after completing only 82 laps. The new Norma will be dubbed as M200.
4.1.2010Mansell and Beechdean sign LMS partnership(LMS)

Leading UK GT race team Beechdean Motorsport has entered into a long term partnership with Nigel Mansell to form Beechdean Mansell Motorsport, with the long term aim of acheiving glory at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Buckinghamshire based team will run a factory supported Ginetta-Zytek Z09R Le Mans Prototype in the 2010 Le Mans Series for Nigel’s sons Leo and Greg, with the 1992 Formula One World Champion joining them behind the wheel at several events including the Silverstone 1000km in September and, subject to receiving an entry, at the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours in June. The LMP1 car will be run with full factory support from Derbyshire based Zytek Engineering.
27.12.2009Quifel-ASM team plans(LMS)

In 2010 the team Quifel-ASM will defend its Le Mans Series title with their drivers Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral. The plan is also to contest in the Le Mans 24 hours race. They will continue with Ginetta-Zytek, one of customer cars that did not got a waiver by ACO for 2010 regarding rear bodywork design. The reason was that the manufacturer did not ask for it as they were not completely satisfied with current aerodynamic solution that was suffering on some tracks so it will be redesigned fully to the 2010 rules for the next season.
23.12.2009Drayson Racing for LMIC(International)

Drayson Racing, which already competed in all three ACO based series last season, will race, as might have been expected, with their Lola Coupe in the new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup in 2010 and hope this will become a full World Championship for LMP1 prototypes in the future.
23.12.2009Lola News(LMS)

Lola is going to lunch its 2010 specification chassis in the middle of the next month. In the meanwhile, the second Rebellion Racing chassis is being built. Team Rebellion, formerly Speedy Racing Team Sebah, announced earlier this month that they would field a two car LMP1 entry in the next year's Le Mans Series. Now it also seems that another Lola Coupe team will continue in racing LMS: Racing Box should return in 2010 and would be using Michelins.
22.12.2009Kolles plans in 2010(LMS)

Team Kolles is another squad that confirmed its 2010 plans recently. The team will continue with their efforts started this year and will campaign older Audi R10 TDI in Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours. Along with this programme they should take part in the new Le Mans Intercontinental Cup, which would mean participation in additional two races: Petit Le Mans and yet unknown Asian Le Mans Series race. Participation in this new Cup had already been confirmed by the factory Audi and Oreca.
21.12.2009Strakka Racing confirms LMP2 programme(LMS)

As it has been heard for some time, now it is confirmed that the Strakka Racing team will run an Acura ARX-01c, actually the first car of this type in Europe. The team decided to leave LMP1 ranks, where they had enjoyed some success, especially during qualifying sessions, but realistically they chances for overall championship honours lies in the privateer class where joined with a serious partner (Honda Racing Development) they have a good opportunity to fight at the top of the class. The deal should last at least for the next two seasons.
20.12.2009Another switch from Oreca to coupe(LMS)

Also the second team running Oreca this year, the non-factory Signature Plus, announced they would run a coupe in 2010, the Lola Aston Martin DBR1-2, a winning car of Le Mans Series 2009. The entry is planned not only for the Le Mans Series but also for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
20.12.2009New European GT300 car in 2010(National)

Aston Martin V8 Vantage, known mainly from its FIA GT4 incarnation as N24 or GT4, should join ranks of Super GT championship next year in the GT300 class, which would surely be a welcome addition.
18.12.2009Oreca will race a coupe(LMS)

The team Oreca recently announced they would field a Peugeot 908 in next year's Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24 Hours. The co-operation with Peugeot would continue in 2011 when Oreca plan to built a new car, labelled as Oreca 02, fitted with a Peugeot power. There has been made no decision on whether the new Oreca would be a coupe or not but team experience next season with Peugeots may influence their final decision a positive way.
14.11.2009Formula Le Mans to LMS(LMS)

It seems that the successful Le Mans Series is also losing its breath as it was decided that in 2010 the poorly supported Formula Le Mans will race within the main 1000 kilometre races. About a dozen cars is expected, i.e. similar number as this year. The real decline in LMS entry numbers during this season was obvious. While we reported that the Spa race had the largest ever entry since its inception in 1966, post-Le Mans races struggled to reach the numbers from earlier seasons and the new Portuguese race had even the smallest entry ever seen in the European part of the LMS history. ACO and Oreca, which is really doing a great business with their spec. FLM cars around the world, may speak about success and bright future but the fact is that a year or two ago it would have been absolutely unimaginable to fill up the LMS field with cars ineligible for the 24-Hour Race. In fact some of the entries had to be refused back then. Are one make classes really what we wanted to have in the ACO races?
17.10.2009ACO continues in bad decisions(Le Mans)

As recently reported by Autosport (GB), the final version of the 2011 LMP rules will probably rule out all nice coupes. As said by Aston Martin representatives "no one in their right mind would build a closed car". Currently, the closed cars had slightly larger diameter of air restrictors to balance reduced power by air-conditioning system mandated for closed cars. They are much more complex than open cars, it is needed to design and built more parts, like doors, windscreen, all that adds some weight and the aerodynamic advantage is not that big to motivate someone to built such car despite looking much better. Moreover closed cars are safer as believe we here at RSC and also Peugeot representatives do: "It is stupid to push people to make an open car in terms of safety". We can only agree, stupidity or hypocrisy hidden under a full mouth of safety and rule stability statements are now obviously hot topics while the ACO rule makers and their movement come to our minds. We can hardly see any happy LMP1 constructor left by now. And the state of sports car racing looked so promising couple of years ago.
10.10.2009Belcar is back!(National)

Some good news comes out of Belgium. After some weak years of GT racing under the SRO leadership, which lead to sprint races and very sparse fields, since 2010 this will be replaced by Belcar Endurance Championship. The races will last from 125 minutes to 10 hours, the Zolder 24 Hours is supposed to become a non-championship event. To boost the grids the touring cars will be invited once again. GT1 and GT2 will not be accepted, but usual GT3 and GT4 cars will be joined by GT Cup cars.
8.10.2009GT1 cars will continue in 2010(Le Mans)

The Le Mans 24 Hour organising body announced recently that they would invite the new generation GT1 cars to race the next year. This decision is based on request of three new manufacturers. We believe those include Nissan, Ford and probably Maserati. For any of the manufacturers it would be a Le Mans presence after many years, so ACO surely did not want to loose this opportunity to get the new constructors involved. To keep the already weak class in some form of existence, it would be required to enter either Le Mans Series in Europe or its Asian counterpart to get a Le Mans entry. ALMS with their specs. class direction obviously stands apart.
29.9.2009Dr. Ullrich about ACO rule changes(Le Mans)

Last weekend Dr. Ullrich from Audi spoke about planned rules changes in LMP racing. It seems that if organising bodies would continue with their irrational and unpredictable changes, current prototype renaissance will transform into LMP death like we saw in the early 1990s with the Group C. But then it was intentional. Regarding ALMS equalisation of LMP1 and LMP2 for the next year, Dr. Ullrich correctly points out that why would a manufacturer build much more expensive LMP1 car if it is then restricted to LMP2 speed... Bigger problem is however continuous year by year change of the rules for the Le Mans itself (and for endurance LMS series). It is becoming difficult to convince the board to build a new car every year for three races (in case of Audi) and thus we may see no Audi LMP1 racing next year. Dr. Ullrich says: "The main issue now is to convince the guys from the ACO that in times like this stability is even more important than before. To go the other way is the most counter-productive thing they can do." (more on Aston Martin factory is another manufacturer that already confirmed no entry next year in the top prototype racing.
27.9.2009Disappointing Petit Le Mans(ALMS)

The best sports car entry seen this year outside Le Mans was put together at wrong place and wrong time. After 90 minutes of true racing, mainly in wet, which saw Audis running away from anything else and Peugeots being overtaken even by the LMP2 Porsche Spyder, the race became a complete disappointment. Within the next few hours it was only a slow running from yellow to yellow (full course cautions) and all that was ended up by a heavy rain. The final classification, which saw two Peugeots ahead of two Audis, was just a result of good luck as the race was stopped before its half when nobody expected this, and was never restarted again. So any tactics and strategies were gone. A few laps before the red flag Audi span when the heavy rain started and thus lost everything they have built earlier. While the last year the safety car periods helped Audi to gain two laps and win PLM, this year the advantage built by Audi during the first hour and half was spoilt by the cautions, one Peugeot gained a lap and Audi lost victory. Had all those cars met together at the Nürburgring or Silverstone during the previous two ACO-based endurance races, it might have been great flag-to-flag racing...
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