THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS 2015
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The 24 Hours of Le Mans is revered as being one of the greatest tests for any driver thought out the world. This year, we as a Group and as a nation are proudly support four different drivers, over three different racing teams. But first, a little background on why this race is just that important.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest running sports racing in endurance racing. Having started back in 1923, the track is located in France, near the town unsurprisingly named, Le Mans. The race is heralded as being the most prestigious of automobile races in the world also named the 'Grand prix of Endurance and efficiency'. The challenges arise as the teams have to complete the most amount of laps possible within the 24 hours. This makes it a sprint race like no other as along with the never-ending pursuit for greater speed, the manufactureres must balance this with an unwavering efficiency to last the entireity of the race. Apart from mere mechanical and racing consumables like tyres, oil and primary fuels the next challenge that teams face is that of the human nature. Drivers will often drive in excess of 2 hours before swapping between co-drivers to then recoup by eating and resting, testing the driver's physical limits as well.
Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber- Porsche LMP1 Class in the Porsche 919 Hybrid
The Porsche 919 Hybrid is the latest iteration of their world-class endurance racing vehicle. As can be expected of modern racing cars, the design from porsche is one of flowing dynamics. The car is long, short and proportionately wide with every surface being optimised to reduce drag and maximise performance and cooling. The car is virtually a spaceship made from Carbon Fibre, alumininium honeycomb, Magnesium alloy wheels and lithium-ion batteries. Brendon's latest car has a relatively small combustion engine in it when contrasted with the older famous Le Mans race cars. The 919 Hybrid has turbocharged 2-litreV4 engine that still manages to push out over 500 horsepower alone. The car is however a hybrid, so we have to take into account the other electric generator units which are found on the front axle. This plants more than 400 additional horsepower, bringing the grand total up in excess of 900 horsepower.
Brendon Hartley (25): Following a test day, “It feels fantastic to be back in Le Mans and out on track with our red number 17 for the first time. It was a productive start in the morning with testing in the dry, and then it was also good to gather experience in the wet. For the afternoon session we made a big step forward and the pace on the dry track was really good.” Racing alongside Brendon in the #17 car is Mark Webber of Australia, and Timo Bernhard of Germany.
Earl Bamber: Typically known for his prowess in the GT series, Early joins Nick Tandy and Nico Hulkenburg (Formula 1 driver) in the white livery #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid. The three drivers will change during refuelling, but the time it takes is too long for it to be finished during a pit stop for fuel only. So driver changes only happen when new tyres are required. The team are looking for another good result, in the LMP1 class!
Mitch Evans - LMP2 Class with Jota Sport
With a debut victory for Mitch at Spa Francorchamps with Jota Sport Mitch is looking towards another podium at Le Mans. The steed of choice is the Nissan powered Gibson 015S which he tested at the Aragon circuit a couple of months back. He previously commented on the race with; "I visited Le Mans for the first time last year and honestly didn't realise the size of the event – in terms of the track itself and the spectacle as a whole. I'd watched it previously on television but you cannot appreciate the magnitude of the event until you actually visit the place. I can't wait to experience my first laps around there at the test in May. I am so excited and can't wait to get started."
Richie Stanaway - GTE-Pro Series
Visits to Germany's Nurburgring, the streets of Monaco and the famed Le Mans circuit over three consecutive weekends sounds like the dream European holiday for a motor racing fan. Tauranga's Richie Stanaway's dream is his May racing schedule, headlined by a breakthrough GP2 victory at the Monaco GP last weekend. The 23-year-old is racing through the most intensive stretch of his 2015 campaign that includes two main racing programmes, some one-off opportunities and a behind-the-scenes Formula 1 role.
This weekend's assignment is at Le Mans where Stanaway drives one of three Aston Martin Vantage V8 entries in the GTE-Pro category. Tomorrow is the official test day for Le Mans, the only day that teams get to run on the circuit before practice begins for the June 13-14 endurance classic. Stanaway hasn't raced at Le Mans before but brings class-winning form to the world's biggest endurance race. With teammates Fernando Rees (Brazil) and Alex MacDowall (GB), they won GTE-Pro at the most recent FIA World Endurance Championship six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
"It's definitely special to be racing at such amazing tracks," Stanaway said. "Aston Martin is in with a really good shout at Le Mans but anything can happen there. The plan is just to keep our heads down and get on with the job. I did the Le Mans test day a couple of years ago so I know the track. But I haven't done the race before so the scale of the event and the atmosphere will be new to me."