The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans is finally here with the main race scheduled to take place on 13-14 June 2015. The final preparations kicked off yesterday at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France. Monday was all about scrutineering, today the drivers will have their official photoshoots and practice on the simulators as well. Free practice begins tomorrow followed by qualifying on Thursday. The traditional parade will take place on Friday before the main race kicks off on Saturday!
This will be the 83rd running of the 24 Hours race which also marks the third round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship. Entries for this year’s race are automatically invited from several endurance racing series around the world. They include United SportsCar Championship, the European Le Mans Series, and the Asian Le Mans Series. Class winners from the previous Le Mans race also get an automatic invitation.
In this live blog, we shall report live coverage from the Circuit de la Sarthe day by day till Sunday. Our photographer Rajan Jangda is on location to provide us with live photos as events unfold. Above you can see some of the photos from Scrutineering yesterday.
This year’s entry list consists of 56 cars hailing from the aforementioned racing series. 35 entries are from WEC, 13 are from ELMS, 3 from USCC, 2 from ALMS while the rest are one-off entries.
The entries will fall under four classes available for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans. Essentially these are the same classes found in the FIA WEC. They include the Le Mans Prototypes which are the fastest of the lot – this class is further divided into LMP1 and LMP2 differentiated by speed, weight and power out. The other class is Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance or LM GTE which is further divided into LMGTE-Pro and LMGTE-Am.
2015 Test Day
The official tests for the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans were held in the last weekend of May. Porsche will head to the race with the fastest cars after setting the quickest times during the tests. The German carmaker put two of their cars in the top of the timesheets during both test sessions sharing the podium with Audi while Toyota experienced a bit of a slow test day. A full Test Day report can be found here.
Audi has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans consecutively since 2010, they have a total of 13 wins. Nevertheless, Porsche has the most number of wins at 16, Ferrari ranks third with 9 wins followed by Jaguar with 7 wins and Bentley in fifth with 6 wins. As for the drivers, Tom Kristensen has the most number of wins at 9 followed by Jacky Ickx with 6 wins.
Where to Watch the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans
Eurosport will provide full live coverage across the UK on Saturday and Sunday. Motors TV will have a live commentary team on Channel 413 on Sky Digital and Channel 545 on Virgin Media. FOX Sports will provide live coverage across Saturday and Sunday on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.
You can also listen to Radio Le Mans for live coverage, a 24-Hours of Le Mans app is available with live updates going up tomorrow (Wednesday).
24 Hours of Le Mans Live Blog
Update: Saturday, June 13
Today is the day! At 15:00 hrs local time the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans will go live. As of now, the drivers have completed a morning warm up session in which Audi has posted the fastest times with all their cars. The #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was fasted with a best time of 3m19.423 leading the #8 and #7 cars. Today’s pole starter #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid was fourth fastest.
Elsewhere, Aston Martin led the GTE-Pro class while the Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 was fastest in the GTE-Am class. The Larbre Corvette hit the barriers after going off the Porsche curve, the team is working hard to repair the car in time for the race. This was the same location where the Corvette Racing C7.R of Jan Magnussen crashed. Magnussen will miss the race as his car was damaged beyond repair.
Update: Friday, June 12: 2016 Ford GT GTE Unveiled
Ford has finally unveiled its highly anticipated World Endurance Championship racer based on the 2017 Ford GT. The new Ford GT GTE will be racing in the GTE-Pro category in FIA WEC joining the likes of Aston Martin Vantage GTE, Ferrari 458 GTE and more. In North America, the new Ford GT racecar will compete in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Le Mans was an excellent choice of location by Ford for the unveiling of their new GT racecar; the American car maker has a rich history in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that boasts of four consecutive wins from 1966 to 1969. Discover everything about the 2016 Ford GT GTE here!
Update: Friday, June 12
Traditionally Friday is a rest day for the drivers before the main race on Saturday. The drivers will be interacting with fans carry as part of their PR activities at the track. There are no ready made predictions in a race like Le Mans or any other 24-hour race for that matter. Qualifying plays a minimal role in determining the winner as the hardest part of this event is staying in the race throughout the 24 hours as well as managing your limited resources.
Update: Thursday, June 11 Qualifying 1 and 2
Despite Audi setting the fastest times on Thursday, none of the cars were able to match the times posted by Porsche on Wednesday. Thus Porsche will start the main race from Pole with all the three cars at the front grid. The #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid will lead from P1 followed by the other two. Audi will start the race from 4th, 5th and 6th ahead of two Toyota TS040 Hybrids. You can read the full Thursday Report here; meanwhile, enjoy these night photos from the two qualifying sessions!
Update: Thursday, June 11
There are two more Qualifying Practice sessions remaining all which will be held tonight. Updates will be posted here as soon as they are available.
Update: Wednesday, June 10
Porsche is on the verge of breaking Audi’s winning streak at Le Mans which has dominated since 2010. Mark Webber posted a time 3m21.362 to set the fastest lap during free practice in the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, the sister car #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid had posted a quicker time of 3m211.64 but was nullified for cutting into the final chicane in order to avoid a collision with a GTE car.
During Qualifying Practice 1, all the three cars entered by the German manufacturer filled the podium after the night qualifying session with Jani putting the #18 car in first place after posting a record time of 3m16.887. He broke the previous qualifying lap record of 3m18.513 set by the Peugeot 908 HDI-FA of Stéphane Sarrazin. Find the full Free Practice and qualifying report here. Meanwhile, enjoy these night photos from the two sessions.
Update: Wednesday, June 10
Ford has confirmed that at this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, a “major Ford Performance news announcement” will be made. It is speculated to relate to the latest-generation Ford GT endurance racer. Full report here.
Update: Tuesday, June 9
Here is the official photo of Class 2015 by John Rourke from Adrenal Media. Today was all about having the drivers Drivers Group Photos as well as interacting with a few of them. There was also an autograph session where fans brought, the drivers included Patrick Dempsey, Mark Webber and more. Jeff Carter from MacLean Photographic was also part of the picture team.
Update: Monday, June 8: Scrutineering
Monday was the official scrutineering day with administrative checks taking place as well. Fans from all over the world were gathered at the circuit eager to meet their favorite drivers and witness some of the fastest racecars on the planet. The simulator zone was open to the public allowing fans to experience realistic driving conditions. The circuit offers complete family fun day activities including Go-Karting at the Alain Prost kart circuit.
The following are additional photos from scrutineering, keep checking back for more updates. Tuesday’s activities include drivers’ official photography session as well as the autograph session.