Porsche on pole for the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hour

FIA WEC | 2015 World Endurance Championship

Le Mans 24 Hour (Practice & Qualifying)

Article and Images by – Jarrod Moore

Situated 210kms south west of Paris France, the 13.629km Circuit de la Sarthe will this weekend host the 83rd running of the classic Le Mans 24 Hour race which starts on Saturday and concludes on Sunday.

The third round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship is the only 24 hour race on the calendar and has a lead up like no other in motorsport.

Teams will be working on their 2016 race strategy well before this year’s event has even started, such is the pressure to race and win this prestigious event.

Sunday the 7th of June marked the start of the Le Mans festival with teams arriving at the track for official scrutineering. Teams were seen scrambling at the last minute to make changes prior to their final inspection and FIA approval before a barrage of team press conferences and driver interviews.

Wednesday saw teams turn their attention to the Sarthe circuit for their first practice session.

With only a short amount of time, drivers took the opportunity to make any last minute adjustments prior to the first qualifying session with Audi, Toyota and Porsche showing considerable pace.

The 2015 event marks a significant event in Nissan Motorsport’s history with the return of the famous Nissan GTR-LM after a 15 year layoff.

At their press conference today, a spokesperson for the brand suggest that Nissan decided to skip the UK and Belgium rounds of the 2015 World Endurance Championship to concentrate on testing of their unique front wheel drive chassis.

Images by Jarrod Moore

The three GTR-LM Nissan’s will be playing catch-up this weekend considering the blistering pace and reliability of their main competitors, none of which are using their hybrid systems to their full potential.

With Audi, Toyota and Porsche having a distinct reliability and straight line speed advantage, Nissan have a considerable amount of work to do to finish in the top six this year.

Audi stated that they never intended to make qualifying a priority although showed good pace during the first session.

However it was Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Mark Lieb in the number 18 Porsche that stunned Audi as it decimated the field by setting a new lap record of 3:16.887 to be three seconds quicker than the closest Audi.

Qualifying Times

1. Jani/Lieb/Dumas GER Porsche 919 Hybrid 3m 16.887s LMP1
2. Webber/Hartley/Bernhard GER Porsche 919 Hybrid 3m 17.767s LMP1
3. Hülkenberg/Tandy/Bamber GER Porsche 919 Hybrid 3m 18.862s LMP1
4. Duval/di Grassi/Jarvis GER Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron 3m 19.866s LMP1
5. Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer GER Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron 3m 20.561s LMP1
6. Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Rast GER Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron 3m 20.997s LMP1
7. Wurz/Conway/Sarrazin JPN Toyota Gazoo TS040 Hybrid 3m 23.543s LMP1
8. Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima JPN Toyota Gazoo TS040 Hybrid 3m 23.767s LMP1
9. Heidfeld/Prost/Beche SUI Rebellion R-ONE AER 3m 26.874s LMP1
10. Imperatori/Abt/Kraihamer SUI Rebellion R-ONE AER 3m 28.930s LMP1
11. Monteiro/Trummer/Kaffer AUT ByKolles CLM P1/01 AER 3m 36.825 LMP1
12. Tincknell/Krumm/Buncombe JPN Nissan GT-R LM Nismo 3m 36.995s LMP1
13. Mardenborough/Chilton/Pla JPN Nissan GT-R LM Nismo 3m 37.291s LMP1
14. Howson/Lapierre/Bradley HKG KCMG Oreca 05-Nissan 3m 38.032s LMP2
15. Ordonez/Matsuda/Shulzitskiy JPN Nissan GT-R LM Nismo 3m 39.992s LMP1

2015 24 Hours of Le Mans Schedule

Next on the agenda will be the Drivers Parade which is due to start at 17:30 on Friday with the 83rd running of Le Mans 24 Hour to start at 15:00 on Saturday 13th June, 2015.

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