Sports Car Racing News

15.6.2009Audi will return in 2010(Le Mans)

While the Peugeot team has only confirmed its 2011 programme and weeks before the Le Mans race they said that they did not know what they would do in 2010, Audi has already confirmed their return to Le Mans in 2010. Also some late season races this year like Petit Le Mans or the new Asian Le Mans Series are now also possible, or let us say 'more likely'.
14.6.2009Peugeot wins Le Mans !!!(Le Mans)

After three years of French manufacturer presence in Le Mans, the Peugeot could finally celebrate its first Le Mans victory in this century, following their two victories fifteen years ago. Audi with new cars that were not tried in race conditions outside Sebring failed to run trouble-freely and as a results of this only one of the three cars finished high, on podium, behind two Peugeots. Other Audi was classified 17th, almost 50 laps back. One of the three starting Lola Aston Martins DBR1-2 managed to complete a faultless race and finished nice fourth. A couple of hours before the finish it even looked that the podium was possible but in the end the remaining Audi was repaired in time. A new Oreca was nice fifth, Pescarolo with his own car eighth while a Peugeot entered under Pescarolo's banner ended up a race in the most serious accident of the weekend. Fortunately Treluyer was claimed unhurt. The winning Peugeot driven by Alexander Wurz, Marc Gené and David Brabham did 382 laps, which is more than Audi ever managed to cover could have been much more without so many annoying safety car periods.
13.6.2009Disappointing Safety Car periods(Le Mans)

Just like it has been common in American races for ages, an unpleasant habit to call a Safety Car for every little reason unfortunately seems finding its home also at Le Mans. With less than a quarter of the race covered, we had already two yellow periods for small accidents that even did not lead to a car retirement. Any hopes for a distance record from 1971 are gone, as well as some of the team strategies. In the meantime, after 5 hours of the race Peugeots are quicker than Audis just like last year despite both makes were very close on performance during practice. But generally we wish to have a true Le Mans race, not a Daytona-like finish with multi-car in the lead lap, but only thanks to frequent SC...
13.6.2009Le Mans drama continues(Le Mans)

Unlike the last year when we saw all six factory diesel powered car completely dominate the race, this year the situation is quite different. Earlier in the race two Peugeot collidied in the pitlane, one of them being substantially delayed (no.7, still not better than 13th), Audi no.3 is in the pits with fuel feed problems for more than an hour, still stationary in the garage 33 laps behind the leaders. And a few minutes ago we lost another Audi completely, no.2 running third so far, in an accident, aparently following some breakage. Thanks to all those problems, we have two of three problem-less running Aston Martins very high in the order, at times even third, and almost regularly fourth.
12.6.2009Aston Martin crash due to new regulations(Le Mans)

Fastest Aston Martin was crashed yesterday during the second part of the qualifying session actually preventing usually very quick Tomas Enge from setting a super fast time to get inside the diesels. Jan Charouz, who drove the car during the accident, reported that there was no mechanical problem, but the accident was caused by too low downforce. One again the ACO rule makers proved to be stupid. There are no real cost reductions after teams had to adopt uglier narrower rear wing but now the wing proved to be more dangerous as well. Hopefully no driver or spectator would pay his life for technicians stupidity and we have the Le Mans race accident less. After the rules were changed in 2004 to allow car fly while moving sideways, now with small wing the driver may lost control whenever. Charouz reported that the same problem caused the Jos Verstappen accident earlier this year during testing and that it is all quite unpredictable. We just hope that the guys at ACO get some piece of clever mind and would alter the rules soon than it would be too late.
12.6.2009Peugeot ALMS participation (ALMS)

Peugeot today confirmed they will do Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca race of the ALMS series. On the other hand, Audi, which was supposed to return to ALMS soon than others expected, has no budget after Le Mans. Too bad for the dominant sports car manufacturer in the 21st century...
12.6.2009Sports car teams saved from F1(LMS)

Several principal sports car teams expressed their intention to try to break into the F1 waters. Aston Martin's Prodrive, Lola Cars and Epsilon Euskadi sent their applications for the 2010 F1 World Championship. RML was among other teams to be rumored to move to Formula 1. Maybe, the team owners are sad, they are not listed among the new F1 teams for the new season but we, as a sports car enthusiast, consider it a good development of the situation because we remember that we would not only lose several good teams from sports car racing but many of them would likely get into financial troubles and/or even ceased to exist. To name a few samples when successful sports car team moved to F1 to fail to show anything and then disappeared from the scene for decades or for ever were Aston Martin after its only Le Mans win in 1959, World Sports Car Championship Walter Brun with his Eurobrun F1, Zakspeed, Alfa Romeo after 1977, Renault after winning Le Mans in 1978, Willy Kauhsen in 1979 and so on. Well, some teams could recover, like Spyker who manage to keep their sports car programme along with their unsuccessful F1 programme, and there were also formerly sports car teams, which could continue in F1 for a long time, like Ligier since the mid 1970s or Sauber two decades later.
12.6.2009Renault to return??(Le Mans)

According to, there were some rumours heard in the paddock of Le Mans that Renault might be considering its return to Le Mans. If it happens, it would be in the LMP class.
21.4.200951 cars for Spa 1000 Kilometres(LMS)

A great race we can expect in Belgium, which RSC is going to visit for the third consecutive time. Originally published entry lists was updated recently with new cars. With inclusion of the awaited Lavaggi, two more GT1s and a Essex Porsche Spyder, along with long time before announced Peugeots, we have now 51 cars on the list, notably more than last year when the global economics was doing still quite well, and all that even after withdrawal originally showed Horag Porsche RS entry, missing third Peugeot or a Porsche Spyder in Japan.
21.4.2009New Oreca car for Spa(LMS)

As it was announced already during the Spanish LMS race, Oreca is going to run a new car in Spa. We understand it is just a completely new body solution on existing Courage chassis but we hope we can still look forward to a nice car. The team apparently tried many solutions, to our surprise even a coupe, which was not unfortunately adopted, but still the team claim that aesthetic or elegance of the car was taken into an account too. This is, we believe, also important, especially considering a fact that a good looking was always a strong element of the sports car racing and with current rules with mostly ugly narrow rear wings any effort to make a car looking good is very welcome. While most people we spoke to think Audi did not care about the aesthetic at all, our personal impression is that the new Pescarolo in Barcelona represented the best solution of a narrow wing on a very short rear overhang introduced into top sports car racing in 2004, despite we prefer closed cars in general.
21.4.2009Only 12 cars for the Bugatti Test(Le Mans)

Test days on the short Le Mans Bugatti circuit, which was scheduled late following cancellation of full Le Mans test day, did not attract most of the Le Mans teams. Only 12 cars are on the provisional entry list less then a week before the first session starts. The hottest candidates for the fastest times are two Pescarolos and the Speedy Lola Coupe LMP1. There is a single GT1 (Luc Alphand Corvette), in LMP2 we could see a first comparision between last year's Porsche Spyder and latest Lola Coupé, both assisted by a Zytek, then there is a private Oreca-Courage and four cars of four different makes in GT2.
5.4.2009Aston Martin wins at its debut(LMS)

The first Le Mans Series race held in Spanish Catalunya brought very interesting battles and also some surprises. Firstly Audis, which were supposed to represent the main opposition to the new factory Aston Martin team, proved to be easily outpaced by most of the LMP1 field. Another surprise brought the qualifying session when a quite new LMP team Strakka Racing with a Ginetta-Zytek took the pole. The race itself was a very interesting battle between the new Pescarolo no.16 and both factory Lola-based Aston Martins, which were early in the race joint by Speedy Lola Aston Martin. While one of the Aston Martins retired later in the race, the battle between the Pescarolo no.16 and the Aston Martin no.007 was open until the end of the race, which was broken by several safety car periods. In the end Mücke, Enge and Charouz took the honors bringing the first prototype international victory to Aston Martin since the early sixties. While Lola won LMP2 after more than a year, Lamborghini could celebrate its first LMS class win. Porsche beat Ferrari in the slowest class. A welcome surprise was a performance of WR-Zytek running as high as fourth in class before being slowed down by failures later in the race. Oreca, running their 2008 cars for the last time, had a good race as well, finishing on the podium, while both Audis, never running better than fourth, completely failed to show any result after both cars were broken.
4.4.2009Withdrawals from Le Mans(Le Mans)

This week two teams announced their withdrawal from the Le Mans 24 Hours entry. Earlier it was Gigaware Aston Martin from GT1 because of their full commitment to the NIssan program. Recently it was Epsilon Euskadi that withdrew both their entries, one of which was on the reserve list. This is particularly sad because this team featured arguably to most beautiful cars on the gird last season and was the first one to confirm their 2009 program with brand new cars. Then they withdraw their cars from full LMS season to concentrate on Le Mans... Unfortunately both top class car are replaced by slowest GT2s from the reserve list. at least one of them is a Porsche RSR entered by a Chinese team, for the first time in the Le Mans history.
2.4.2009Full Speed Racing to FIA GT(LMS)

Full Speed Racing announced earlier in the year a full year campaign in the Le Mans Series. They even wanted to field two cars but were told the season list is full. But following a fact they were not invited to Le Mans, they lost they primary sponsor for LMS so the team now announced they will race both cars in FIA GT. A bit sad how ACO/LMS is losing entrants to FIA GT because of some of their not the best decisions. The first LMS race has now just 43 confirmed entries, which is good in the current situation but definitely it is not worth to discourage any team to enter a full season entry because there are always at least 5 cars of the list that do not enter some races or skip the season at all. Some later LMS races are still possible for the Full Speed Racing team.
29.3.2009FIA GT3 entry list released(FIA GT)

A full season entry of the European GT3 Championship looks strong with 42 listed. There is still 16 entries a subject to the confirmation of the FIA as well as same number of cars still awaiting FIA homologation but that is not expected to be an issue. There is 12 different makes of cars in the list, all entered teams feature a 2-car entry. While there are as many as six Porsches and six Ferraris, five manufacturers are entered only by a single team (Ascari, Dodge, Jaguar, Morgan and perhaps surprisingly Lamborghini). Ford Mustang disappeared from the list while Audi R8 LMS and BMW Alpine B6 represent new cars in the championship.
3.3.2009Dome not in LMS?(LMS)

Recently announced Dome project, which was planned for the Le Mans Series by ECOSpeed is now not likely to happen since the team did not pay in time and Dome cancelled the order.
27.2.2009Asian Le Mans Series confirmed(International)

Yesterday ACO confirmed two races for the new Asian Le Mans Series. First race will be in Okayama, instead of originally planned Fuji, followed by Shanghai race in China. Winners of all four classes will get automatic entry for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2010. ACO plan to provide preferential travel condition for 10 European and 10 American teams, as well as 4 from Japan-China. The only really bad thing about the entire project is that both races will be split into two separate 3-hour heats...
27.2.2009Closed LMPs allowed in Czech Championship(National)

It was announced that closed LMP1 and LMP2 sports prototypes will be allowed to race in the Czech Endurance Championship along with current wide range of cars (Groups A, N, SP, Super 2000, Diesel 2000, ST, FIA GT, E1, DTM, H, Cup cars). No official statement whether any team would campaign such car regularly is known to us but it is possible that at least team Charouz could enter the new Aston Martin occasionally. Another team currently running DTM cars was apparently rumored last year to get a Lola but there is no confirmation of that either. Definitely it is an option for existing LMP teams running closed prototypes to test in race conditions outside the very few ACO races. But, realistically we cannot see any other make but Lola, or its derivate Aston Martin, coming in since most of the manufacturers seem to produce open top cars, unfortunately, although originally all expected them to disappear by end of this season.
27.2.2009LMP entries: Notes of interest(Le Mans)

A few comments about the 55 entries: Audi has 5 cars against Peugeot's 4 cars and Aston Martin's 3 cars. A surprise is a Peugeot entered by Pescarolo. It would be interesting to see the difference between a Peugeot and a Pescarolo run by the same team (supposing it will not be a full factory effort under a Pescarolo banner). Audi factory used only 2 of their 3 automatic entries but fortunately entered 3 cars, just took the risk of not being selected, which was unlikely anyway. The reason was to have just one 'North America' entry. One of Aston Martins is entered by AMR Eastern Europe, which is of course just different name for the Charouz effort, which was run by AMR last year anyway. Not sure if Aston Martins will be true Astons, or just Lolas with Aston Martin engine. While in LMS they are entered as Aston Martins, for the Le Mans itself they are entered as Lolas, which would effectively mean no Aston Martin return to the top class as a manufacturer. The LMP2 class is well supported too, topped by three Porsche Spyders, only bad surprise might be absence of Barazi Epsilon in the 55. On the other hand there are four coupes among the selected cars compared to just one last year.
27.2.2009ACO released accepted entries(Le Mans)

Yesterday ACO published long awaited list of accepted entrant for this year's race. The list contains 55 cars with 10 reserves, which is slightly more than in the past years, presumambly because of expected higher rate of withdrawals than usually. Bad news about the entry list is that there is no Larbre Saleen among the 55, and there is no Dome at all, including the reserves, despite both having been announced recently as a 'great' news. Larbre supposed to be in Le Mans for the 17 consecutive year but it was not enough for the ACO. We feel it would be better for the race to reduce number of GT2 cars instead.
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