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Le Mans Test Day: Saturday Paddock Notes

DSC's notes from the final set up day at La Sarthe

LMP2 rain lights dimmed

DragonSpeed lead engineer Leon Gutfreund has revealed to DSC that after a discussion between the teams, the ACO has opted to make a change to the rain lights on the LMP2 cars, which have been deemed too bright at night.

From Le Mans onwards, all the LMP2 cars have undergone a software change which means that when the team turn the high-beam on, the rain lights dim to make them less dazzling for slower cars.

Manor set for second Le Mans

DSC caught up with Manor’s John Booth, who spoke about the team’s pre-Le Mans prep work.

The British outfit were out testing at Spa-Francorchamps as part of a Toyota-organised test for two days. It handed the team a chance to get some tyre work done on the first day, and aero work on the second with one of its 07 Gibson’s running the Le Mans aero package.

Booth was impressed with the new kit, explaining that the lap times were good, better than expected with the lower downforce set up round Spa.

“Straight-line speed could reach 340 kph here at Le Mans,” he said.

Also at the test was Jackie Chan DC Racing, TDS Racing, ByKolles Racing, Toyota, Tockwith, Ford Performance and DragonSpeed, making for a busy circuit!

Laptime predictions in LMP2

This year the LMP2 lap record is set to be broken, with the 2017 cars more powerful than the previous generations. The question therefore is, by how much?

Signatech Alpine’s Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao believe that the LMP2s will manage 3:26s in the dry, with 3:25s possible in the right conditions.

The duo also confirmed to DSC that tomorrow will be their first run with the new low-drag kit, the Alpine squad opting not to go testing with it prior to Le Mans.

Vaxiviere’s status still in doubt

TDS Racing driver Francois Perrodo has confirmed to DSC that there’s still a question mark over whether or not Matthieu Vaxiviere will race with the team at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

Vaxiviere, who injured himself in training, will test tomorrow, along with Nicky Catsburg, the Dutchman here acting as a reserve driver.

“Matthieu will drive tomorrow, and then decide on whether or not he can drive after,” Perrodo said. “Nicky (Catsburg) is also here and will complete his minimum 10 laps. We would like for Matthieu to drive with us, but it’s good to have a Plan B.”

Rees on racing with Larbre

Larbre Competition’s Fernando Rees spoke to DSC about his experience so far this year, racing the team’s C7.R.

“I was used to racing the C6.R from my time with the team a few years ago,” he said. “So when I raced at Monza I got up to speed quickly, but I could really see where the car has developed. The front-end in particular is much better.

“Since Monza we’ve been out testing at Val de Vienne. That was endurance focused, we also got some night running in too.”

When asked about the team’s striking art livery, Rees explained that it was hard to not let the cat out of the bag!

“I saw the original art work two months ago! It’s great. It’s been so hard for me not to post about it on social media!”

Menezes takes pre-Le Mans Saudi trip

Over the past few weeks, Gustavo Menezes has been a busy boy. At the tail end of last month he competed in the Race of Heroes in Saudi Arabia, representing the USA.

Menezes, along with fellow sportscar drivers Tommy Kendall and Townsend Bell, along with IndyCar and Champ Car racer Jimmy Vasser, represented the USA in the ‘Race of Champions’ style event in a converted football stadium. The drivers raced Polaris Slingshots, Camaro SS’, KTM X-Bows and Lotus Exiges in the tournament, Kendall emerging the winner.