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Le Mans News Notebook: From Test Day & Into Race Week

Testing, raw speed, awards and a forthcoming movie

Bugatti Testing

Toyota, Rebellion Racing (in unliveried bodywork), United Autosports, Porsche GT Team, Team Project 1 and Aston Martin Racing took advantage of a full day at the Bugatti circuit (4.185 km) to perform shakedowns ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans free practice and qualifying sessions on Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th June.

The day saw both wet and then dry track conditions.

2019/20 FIA WEC Entry

The entry list for the 2019/20 FIA WEC is set to be revealed at the Friday Press Conference at Le Mans next week.

DSC believes that the list will be somewhat over the 30 car mark. You can read our thoughts on what to expect here

350 Km/h

The Le Mans Test Day saw SMP Racing’s Belgian ex Formula One star Stoffel Vandoorne set the fastest recorded speed in WEC history, at Le Mans.

Vandoorne became the first ever driver in the series to break the 350 kmh barrier (350.1 kmh / 218.8 mph), beating the previous record, set by Audi Sport’s Lucas di Grassi in 2015 at 345.6 kmh.

H24

The Le Mans Test Day saw the hydrogen-powered prototype MissionH24 take to the track for a couple of laps on the full circuit in the break between the two pre-race test sessions.

The project engineers taking the opportunity to gather data to help the project progress.

Patrick Dempsey, Spirit of Le Mans

Patrick Dempsey, sometime IMSA and WEC racer, now team co-owner at Dempsey Proton Racing and, more recently, the Producer of a critically acclaimed documentary about fellow Porsche aficionado, three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Hurley Haywood, is to receive the 2019 Spirit of Le Mans award.

Dempsey drove a full WEC season in 2015, achieving second in class at Le Mans 24 Hours and victory at the 6 Hours of Fuji.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest :

“This year we are delighted to have elected Patrick Dempsey as Spirit of Le Mans. When he first took part in the race in 2009, it was as an amateur driver. He has come a long way since then, thanks to his hard work, his ability to concentrate on the task in hand, the way he soaks up advice and his absolute determination. This has made him a hardened competitor, as well as a racing enthusiast, a gentleman, full of humility, always eager to highlight the achievements of others and to encourage young talent. That is the Spirit of Le Mans.”

Ford v. Ferrari

The first official trailer has been released from the forthcoming movie Ford v. Ferrari, chronicling the epic battle between the Ford Motor Company and Ferrari and leading up to the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours.

The movie, now due for a delayed release in November, stars Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby and Christian Bale (with an extraordinary ‘British’ accent) as Ken Miles. Amongst the supporting cast is Alex Gurney who plays the role of his late and much-lamented father Dan.