LE MANS
Pre Le Mans
-
14/06/2001
 
Preview
LMP675s
 
The inclusion of a WR is a sure sign that this is Le Mans. A one race wonder, French, but why not? The team have had a troubled ten years in and out of the race; on pole and not qualifying showing the extremes they've touched. '97 was touched by tragedy, but the WRs have always had something different, and occasionally hint at a giant-killing effort. May the little guys be given a chance for as long as the race exists. One day, it might all come right for them. Engine problems usually cause the retirement.


A 3:52 from Claudia Hurtgen at the Test Day may be close to the limit of this car in current configuration. Almost definitely looking for 'steady' rather than 'quick' in the race, hoping to match the effort of last year's Multimatic Lola B2K / 40. No sign of the rumoured 3.4 Judd in the Roock KnightHawk Lola, which continues to use the (larger) Nissan. It is a cost effective customer car, converted simply and quickly for 675, but is that what this class is all about?

Wednesday or Thursday should see the best from the MGs, rather than Saturday or Sunday - unless a minor miracle takes place on engine development. Purpose built for the class - quite a novelty - and its potential is absolutely huge. Expect a demon lap in Qualifying that will put one car, at least, in among the 900s. The race is a month or two too soon, but the cars are sparkling devices that became a credit to everyone involved, once initial (non-engine) teething troubles were eliminated. Engines are such a key part of the equation.....especially for a 24 hour race. MG fans had better have an alternative lined up as their favoured marque during the night.


Francois Migault is an unlikely third driver in the Pilbeam, which has had an amazingly successful season already. Turn up at Donington, win the 675 class in the ELMS first time out. Simple, this racing game. Had to manage without the 3.4 Nissan at the Test Day, where a best of 4:01 was hardly representative. Could be a very interesting race between the Roock Lola and Rowan Pilbeam for quickest survivor in 675. Won't even think about getting compettive on Wednesday or Thursday. Martin O'Connell is very highly rated.



No van de Poele - gone to Bentley - so Hideshi Matsuda takes the place. David Murry takes the spare seat in the Milka Duno / John Graham car. Didier de Radigues leads the team, as he did so to an excllent class win at Jarama. 3:44 at the Test Day was hinting at the potential of the lightweight Reynard, which seems to be a vastly better car than the original 900 chassis. Jarama suggests that early 3.4 Judd troubles have been solved, but ready for 24 hours? Who knows? Dick Barbour won the GT class last year, before scrutineering problems intervened.

VW engines didn't last last year, and only one car this team, largely unchanged. The VW building was the feature of the paddock in 2000, but the ROC Reynard - with Jean-Denis Deletraz at the wheel too - is unlikely to be a main feature of the race. Could still be very quick in Qualifying.




How many of the 675 class will still be around after 24 hours? Anyone like to suggest more than two?




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