The Le Mans myth fascinates every motor racer
Le Mans – this name stands for myth and legends. A driver that succeeded in winning this 24h race that has been held since 1923 added a highlight to his CV. The endurance-racing classic is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and mentioned in one breath with circuits such as Indianapolis and the Nürburgring. And the grid of this year’s edition that will be held this weekend will feature five DTM drivers.
Le Mans – this name stands for myth and legends. A driver that succeeded in winning this 24h race that has been held since 1923 added a highlight to his CV. The endurance-racing classic is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and mentioned in one breath with circuits such as Indianapolis and the Nürburgring. And the grid of this year’s edition that will be held this weekend will feature five DTM drivers. Mercedes ace Paul Di Resta will contest the ‘24 Heures du Mans’ for cars in the LMP2 class, the smaller prototype category, and the same applies to Audi’s Loïc Duval. Meanwhile, DTM will be represented in the GT category by the BMW works drivers Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus as well as Audi’s Mike Rockenfeller. The length of the famous racetrack at the Sarthe that features a mix of permanent racetrack and public roads amounts to 13,880 metres. The weather forecasters predict extremely changeable conditions for the 86th edition of the race. And so, it seems as if the proverb ‘It always rains at Le Mans’, created by British Le Mans fans, once again will prove true.
Debut for Paul Di Resta in a Ligier
To the south of the city of Le Mans, a dream will come true for Paul di Resta. For the Scot who will contest the race in the LMP2 class together Philip Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque it will be the debut in this legendary race. But the Ligier trio has to cope with a difficult task. In the pre-event tests, seven Ligiers could be found on the eight positions at the very end of the field. Loïc Duval, however, may look forward to a more promising race. He will contest the event in an Oreca 07 entered by TDS Racing together with François Perrodo and Matthieu Vaxiviére.
BMW Team MTEK will contest the race at Le Mans with two of the new BMW M8 GTE racers in the hard-fought GTE category. And with Augusto Farfus, the driver line-up features a real endurance-racing expert. The Brazilian knows all the famous endurance-racing venues, from Le Mans through Sebring and Bathurst to Daytona. “For BMW, the 24 Hours of Le Mans are the greatest race in the year,” says Farfus who will alternate in the cockpit of his BMW M8 GTE with Alexander Sims und António Félix da Costa. “It was a long testing programme with limited sleep for the entire BMW M Motorsport family. And now it’s time to demonstrate what all this works has been executed for. It’s a pity that I couldn’t join the testing but in my last 24 Hours of Le Mans I made it to the pole position. Therefore, I’m convinced to the circuit well enough.” The sister car will be raced by the 2011 DTM Champion, Martin Tomczyk, Nicky Catsburg and DTM rookie Philipp Eng. “We have got two very good cars and are represented by six extremely competitive drivers,” Eng says. “The preparations were really intense and to now race on one of the most tradition-rich circuits in the world will be a fantastic experience.”
‘Rocky’ raves about the sound of the Corvette
Mike Rockenfeller will make his first Le Mans appearance as Corvette C7.R driver and will alternate with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. In his last Le Mans 24h Race to date, in 2012, the Audi ace raced an R18 Ultra together with Oliver Jarvis and Marco Bonanomi to finish third. “We want to be a factor in the battle for the win,” says Rockenfeller who already looks forward to this weekend. “But you can imagine that this will be tough, with 17 works cars in the GT-Pro class. Never before the field in this class was so competitive. But the Corvette won this race so often and also held the lead in last year’s edition up to the final lap. They know how to succeed in this classic. During the pre-event tests I was at Budapest and therefore, I still have to familiarise myself with the car, for the race. Those who already attended this event know the sound of the Corvette. A sound you always recognise when it’s passing by. That’s very cool.”
Bruno Spengler to test the M6 an Misano
Meanwhile, Bruno Spengler will have the chance of getting a first impression of the ‘„Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli’, this weekend. The 2012 DTM Champion contests Italian GT Championship race meeting at Misano with a BMW M6 GT3 for Roberto Ravaglia’s Team Italia. Back in 1989, the 61-year old Team Principal also secured the DTM title. “Together with Alessandro Zanardi I already contested the Spa 24h Race for Roberto Ravaglia’s team and I look forward to racing for them again,” reveals Spengler. “He is a great character and his team also is fantastic. To have the chance of racing at Misano represents a great opportunity for me as it’s the first time that I will be driving there. When BMW asked me I said yes right away. I’m excited and will take pot luck. Racing at a circuit you don’t know yet always is interesting.” In late August (24th to 26th August), DTM will hold the first night races in the history of the sport at the Adriatic Riviera.