Highlights from the 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day
A brief roundup of news and highlights from the official 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day prior to the final round of the WEC Super Season, the Super Finale!
• SMP Racing’s Stoffel Vandoorne set the fastest recorded speed in WEC history at the Le Mans test day. The Belgian, in the No.11 BR Engineering BR1-AER, became the first driver in the series to break the 350 km/h barrier (350.1), beating Lucas di Grassi’s 345.6 km/h in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in 2015.
• Former Le Mans winner and 2-time World Endurance Champion, Brendon Hartley, made his first official appearance for Toyota Gazoo Racing, completing the minimum laps required to qualify to race in the event of any issue for one of the team’s regular race drivers. The New Zealander will compete for the team next season in place of Fernando Alonso.
• The 2019 Test Day marks the first time in the WEC era where no class posted a faster time than the previous year. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No.8 TS050 HYBRID, LMP2’s No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 Gibson, LMGTE Pro’s No.63 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R (part season entrant) and IMSA’s No.62 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GTE were the fastest in each class.
• The new temporary pits between the end of the existing pit lane and the Module Sportif won’t be numbered but will be called A and B. They were formally opened by ACO President Pierre Fillon at the weekend and will be used by United Autosports’ pair of LMP2 Ligiers. The structures are entirely temporary, the 5-metre high walls built on either side being a planning requirement to protect both the pits complex and the race control building from any fire threat.
• There are many unsung heroes who work tirelessly towards the organisation of international sporting events such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but none more so than the 1300 track marshals. Without them, the racing would simply not go ahead. To show their appreciation for the marshals round-the-clock work, in rain or shine, drivers, engineers and team managers saluted them at the end of the Test Day Drivers’ briefing. Bravo les commissaires de piste!