Featured 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans - LMGTE PRO Preview

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    Le Mans 2018 GTE PRO Preview.jpg
    Champions from multiple categories of racing, a whole bunch of exotic GT cars with considerable works support, LMGTE Pro is arguably the hardest fought category of LM24.

    Aston Martin look set to be one of the headline manufacturers at Le Mans this year, the British marque bringing two of the striking new Vantage AMR machines to the 24 hour classic. With the beautiful Vantage AMR taking its first baby steps in the world of top level GT racing, Aston Martin will have their work cut out to make inroads at the head of what is set to be a fiercely fought category.

    Defending champions Ganassi will once again be strongly represented on the grid next weekend, the legendary American team fielding no less than four of the exceptionally competitive Ford GT machines, two under the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK banner and a further two cars flying the colours of the United States.

    Both teams look to be in with a serious chance of LMGTE PRO honours, with some of the very best GT drivers looking to try their luck under the legendary Ganassi name. For the UK the team will be spearheaded by multiple World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx. The 43-year-old Gurnseyman teaming up with none other than IndyCar star Tony Kannan and fellow Brit Harry Ticknell.

    For the US side of the operation the two GT's present something of a star line-up. Multiple IndyCar champion Sebastien Bourdais, experienced racer Dirk Muller, American talent Joey Hand and former IndyCar champion Scott Dixon just some of the incredible talent set to be on show at the Circuit de la Sarthe next Saturday and Sunday.

    With Ford again hitting the event in big numbers, fan favourites Chevrolet will have to work hard to bring the silverware home once again, redoubling their efforts for the big race with some serious talent behind the wheel of the big yellow cars. Jan Magnussen again returns for the team, partnering up with former outright Le Mans winner Marcel Fassler and long time Chevrolet men Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. Joining this impressive list of drivers for the two CR7.R cars will be DTM star Mike Rockenfeller and Antonio Garcia, forming one of the strongest line ups in any category set to race at Le Mans this year.

    Not wanting to be out done by their illustrious competition, BMW will head into the event with two works M8 GTE's, looking to put some much needed mileage in the very promising German car as they look to pick up where they left off from the recent World Endurance Championship season.

    Although apparently lacking slightly in outright speed, BMW have a set of vary capable and experienced drivers, something the German marque will look to leverage into a solid result after 24 hours of racing in France, leaving plenty of pressure on their more established rivals as well as fellow German manufacturer Porsche, who despite running an impressively refreshed 911 GTE, still seem to be a little behind the ball in comparison to their immediate rivals on the run up to Le Mans.

    Porsche have, for the most part, come with strength in numbers at Le Mans this year, fielding four works cars for an impressive list of established drivers. Without much success from the opening WEC round to celebrate, the German team will be working hard at Le Mans to get their season back on track once again, and with some of the most sought after talent on the grid representing the team, it would be foolish to overlook this long established endurance racing brand for big results come the end of the race.

    When looking at potential winners, one would be hard pressed to look too far away from Ferrari and AF Corse this season. The Ferrari 488 GTE Evo is proving to be a potent weapon in the hands of AF, and the Italian outfit will surely be looking to build on the strong form displayed so far to take a shot at the big race trophy. Supported by two very well turned out cars featuring a very talented driving strength, including Le Mans rookie and Ferrari Formula One Young Driver Antonio Giovinazzi, it could be a very good event for the popular Italian team...

    Much like in LMGTE AM, it is practically impossible to predict a winner ahead of the big race next weekend...

    Provisional LMGTE PRO Grid

    #51. AF Corse - Ferrari 488 GTE Evo
    Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Daniel Serra

    #52. AF Corse - Ferrari 488 GTE Evo
    Toni Vilander, Pipo Derani, Antonio Giovinazzi

    #63. Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
    Jan Magnussen, Antonio García, Mike Rockenfeller

    #64. Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
    Oliver Gavin, Marcel Fässler, Tommy Milner

    #66. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK - Ford GT
    Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, Billy Johnson

    #67. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK - Ford GT
    Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, Tony Kanaan

    #68. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA - Ford GT
    Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Sébastien Bourdais

    #69. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA - Ford GT
    Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon

    #71. AF Corse - Ferrari 488 GTE Evo
    Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, Miguel Molina

    #81. BMW Team MTEK - BMW M8 GTE
    Martin Tomczyk, Nicky Catsburg, Philipp Eng

    #82. BMW Team MTEK - BMW M8 GTE
    Augusto Farfus, António Félix da Costa, Alexander Sims

    #91. Porsche GT Team - Porsche 911 RSR
    Richard Lietz - Gianmaria Bruni, Frédéric Makowiecki

    #92. Porsche GT Team - Porsche 911 RSR
    Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

    #93. Porsche GT Team - Porsche 911 RSR
    Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber

    #94. Porsche GT Team - Porsche 911 RSR
    Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard, Sven Müller

    #95. Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage AMR
    Marco Sørensen, Nicki Thiim, Darren Turner

    #97. Aston Martin Racing - Aston Martin Vantage AMR
    Alex Lynn, Maxime Martin, Jonathan Adam

    Can't get enough of #LM24?
    Continue reading the rest of our 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans files or subscribe to our social media channels for instant updates during the 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    Looking forward to the big LMGTE PRO fight? Who do you think will come out on top? Who will you be supporting from the category at Le Mans? Let us know in the comments section below!
     
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  2. farjam

    farjam

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    Ford's squad , nice :D
     
  3. Raikku

    Raikku

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    Toni "Tontsa" Vilander, The boss!
     
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  4. BrainsBush

    BrainsBush

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    After visiting the WEC @spa both Ford and Aston Martin, if it is only because of their sounds, are my personal favorite. This "GT Pro" class is very close to each other. Hopefully LMP1 will get also the same battles (next year). Looking forward to the 24 heures du Mans
     
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  5. Koen Verlinde

    Koen Verlinde

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    I hope we get a battle that doesn't turn out to be completely destroyed by BoPsandbagging prior to this event. Ford already did it a few years ago, I hope ACO has learned from it.
     
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  6. Richard Dastardly

    Richard Dastardly
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    GTE-AM is the hardest fought on track, I reckon. GTE-Pro is certainly the hardest fought in the political area, which in this class is the only thing that matters as long as you can finish a race. You can't really believe AMR's car was so much off the pace because it's bad? the drivers at Spa were saying they were as fast as anyone in corners, just had no power. That's BoP in action. This class is a sham.
     
  7. Koen Verlinde

    Koen Verlinde

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    No, I don't believe any GT3 or GTE in this case is badly designed. Also why I raise eyebrows when I hear about "developing a car", I mean, the BoP will intervene one way or another so most of the work you're doing will be wasted anyhow.

    Just like with so many things in real life I understand and value the BoP for what it is on theoretical level, but it seems that actually implementing it becomes worse the more time passes by.
     
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  8. snyperal

    snyperal
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    I'm looking forward to following the gte pro class closely.
     
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  9. Jason Mullin

    Jason Mullin
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    Anyone here in the states know where we can livestream the race, or what network is carrying?
     
  10. AbeWoz

    AbeWoz
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    MotorTrend On Demand and Velocity Channel should have it.
     
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  11. Tbear

    Tbear
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    They Do. I just signed up a couple days ago. It's not IMSA TV and it's not Fox Sports and it ain't free, but it's cheap and it does work and I'm not getting ripped off by US Cable TV companies.

    Post 52 THIS thread has details.
     
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  12. Rodent

    Rodent
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    I'll gladly admit I have a GTE bias when it comes to Le Mans, heck racing in general but man that line up is great.

    Any of those cars/drivers has the capacity to walk away the winner. I wouldn't be surprised if it comes down to a last lap drama like last year.

    And since I've already declared bias I certainly wouldn't be opposed to Ferrari winning again, it's been a while. Forza #52
     
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  13. Tbear

    Tbear
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    PREACH IT, BROTHER!!!!!!!!!

    Aston Martin, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Chevy ... I'd LOVE to see Nissan, Mercedes, Bentley, Jag and Audi in the mix, but it's a great line-up.

    1. Although I LOVE the Ford GT deeply and passionately ... and I KNOW this is gonna get me in even more trouble, but I really wish that Ford had developed the GT350 Shelby Mustang to compete in this class ... I think it's more in the spirit of the class than a purpose built, thinly disguised prototype, no matter how wonderful it is.

    2. I wonder how much longer we'll be seeing the C7.R Corvette in a front engine, rear drive layout ... or the Ford GT350 Shelby Mustang for that matter. Do you think we'll see a change to mid-engines for both cars in less than two years?

    3. Seriously ... can you imagine a LM-GTE Pro class with cars from ALL the great manufacturers: Aston Martin, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Chevy, Nissan, Mercedes, Bentley, Jag, Audi, Lambo, Maserati, Alfa Romeo? I'm so boggled by the thought I'm sure I missed a couple.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  14. Rodent

    Rodent
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    Probably, though I really hope it doesn't come to pass. The Vette C7.R is what I want my american sportscars to be, it's loud and steeped in muscle car ancestry. I fear a mid engined V6 will not invoke the same feel. The C7.R has been successful to so clearly a front engined V8 beast can still bring the fight in racing.

    So I'm 100% with you on that Ford should've developed a GTE speced Mustang. :D Even though the Ford GT is very cool in it's own way. ( And even though I want Ferrari to win this year I'd be down for Tony Kanaan walking away the winner as well :) )
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2018
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  15. Bram Hengeveld

    Bram Hengeveld
    RaceDepartment Founder Staff Premium

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    I have just found a new desktop background image. Fantastic shot.
     
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  16. Jason Mullin

    Jason Mullin
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    Absolutely agree.
    We no longer have cable, just 100mb Spectrum internet here in GA for $69.99/month.
    Still surprised we have internet options that fast sitting on top of a mountain.
     
  17. Tbear

    Tbear
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    Howdy Neighbor!!

    I live almost exactly halfway between Chattanooga and Atlanta ... I think you and I might be sitting on the same mountain getting ripped off by the same cable company.

    My sons in New Jersey can't believe how bad our cell phone reception is. We NEED a hard wired land-line just to have reliable telephone service.
     
  18. Tbear

    Tbear
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    DTM Racer? Nice flairs and aero. It needs blue stripes to go with the rest of the US racing colo(u)r.

    I'd LOVE to see this thing rip the freakin' doors off Ferrari and Porsche ... and Corvette!

    ford-mustang-shelby-gt350-racecar-render-102876_1.jpg
     
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  19. Jason Mullin

    Jason Mullin
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    I hear you!
    We're sitting on the east side of sand mountain, my back porch looks over Trenton, GA.
    AT&T is all that works up here cell wise.

    Thank you for the direction on where to watch 24H LeMans I'll get signed up!
     
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  20. AbeWoz

    AbeWoz
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    yup yup. not to mention they have all the Blancpain series stuff, as well as Aussie Supercars and tons of other racing content.
     
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