' We learned today that we have not learned anything, 'commented a long-serving LMP1 engineer on the timesheet of the pre-test on Sunday ( May 31, 2015), which is the only chance for all participants in the 24-hour race to gain specific test experience on the Sarthe race track and to do coordination work.
Audi within striking distance of Porsche
The reason for the limited informative value: of the 8 hours of the test day, only about 2.40 hours took place under dry conditions, with two thirds of the test time r It was sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker.
The short period of time was enough for decent lap times: early on Sunday morning, the LMP1 teams from Porsche and Audi fought an impressive duel for supremacy in Le Mans. Porsche works driver Neel Jani led the time table after one and a half hours with a lap time of 3:21, 9 minutes - only two tenths of a second above the pole time of 2014. And that on a green track and without any rubber pads!
Then the rain came, and it remained a constant companion in the afternoon, with the exception of a small time window of 1.15 hours, when the route briefly dried out. It was precisely in this phase that Porsche driver Brandon Hartley managed to beat Jani's time again: 3.21.061 minutes is the final LMP1 best time of the day.
LMP1 times at an impressive level
The time itself is remarkable for several reasons: despite the little rubber pad, Hartley undercut the pole position time of 2014 by a good 7 tenths of a second. Second, the GT LM cars and the LMP2 prototypes were on average a good 4 seconds slower than the qualifying times from the corresponding classes from 2014.
In English: the track was a good 4 seconds slower, the LMP1 best time was almost a second better than 2014! Once again, rumors are booming that the LMP1 racing cars could possibly break all historic course records in 2015 in qualifying. Incidentally, the best value is 3.13 minutes - and dates back to 1971!
Audi stayed within striking distance of Porsche: In the first session, Audi marked positions two and three, the gap to Porsche was less than a second . The two main protagonists Porsche and Audi thus confirmed their speed from the first two races of the Sports Car World Championship in Silverstone and Spa - and must now be clearly the top favorites forthe 24-hour race.
Toyota far behind, Nissan at LMP2 level
Toyota lagged behind the three Audi and three Porsches in seventh and eighth, with a gap of 4 to 5 seconds. At Toyota, however, it was also made clear that they deliberately did not take part in the rally of times at the top and instead concentrated on setting up the race weekend. The gap between Toyota should therefore shrink during the race week, but on the other hand, Toyota will probably not be able to keep up with the speed at the top.
The eagerly awaited first appearance of the Nissan LMP1, which was due to failed crash tests Tests had to skip the season pretest in Ricard as well as the first two races at Silverstone and Spa, were disappointing: with a gap of 21 seconds (first test session) and 29 seconds (two session) you were in the middle and at the end of the LMP2 field - but Nissan starts, to emphasize it again, in the LMP1 class.
GT classification causes outrage
Almost as expected, Aston Martin set the absolute pace in the GT class, closely followed by Corvette. Ferrari and Porsche ranked just behind. By the way, by the end of the training day in Le Mans, there was still no clearly communicated balance of performance.
Supposedly, it should be based on the ratings of the 2014 World Championship race in Austin. That would mean that Aston Martin is allowed to drive with a larger restrictor than at Silverstone and Spa - which, to say the least, caused slight outrage at Porsche and Ferrari. Attempts to convince the FIA to reconsider the BOP were apparently fruitless. This means that Aston Martin and Corvette are the clear favorites in the Le Mans racing week. So we didn't learn much, but at least something ...
We have the pictures of the competition in Le Mans and the Nissan's first public appearance in our gallery.