Le Mans test day – morning session

The first part of the test started under perfect blue skies.

Some cars went onto the track right way after the green flag.

Toyota Gazoo Racing was the first to top the timing sheets, but with some laptimes that weren’t representative for the car’s actual speed. You have to remember that the track was very green and slow at the start of each day.

Porsche started out being fastest in both GTE Pro and GTE Am, but was running about 6 seconds slower than the expected timres.

Ford Chip Ganassi was the next to jump to the top of GTE Pro with both #67 and #68.

The first red flag of the day came after 50 minutes of driving. Project 1 Porsche #56 had an incident on the track. Jörg Bergmeister was able to drive the car back to the pits, so it wasn’t anything major.

After about 10 minutes of stoppage, the session went green again.

United Autosports #32 was unlucky to get a puncture, but was able to crawl into the pits.

Toyota Gazoo Racing #8
Photo: JJ Media

Rebellion Racing was the main rival to Toyota Gazoo Racing, with both cars in P3 and P4. Thomas Laurent in the Rebellion Racing #3 didn’t want to hold back, and jumped in between the two Toyota Gazoo Racing cars – but still running 10 seconds off the times from last year.

There was a Slow Zone after about 90 minutes of running. Ate De Jong in the Algarve Pro Racing #25 had a trip to the gravel, and while his car was being recovered, there was an area on the track, where the cars had to slow down to 80 kph.

Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 had jumped to the top of the GTE Am, while Porsche was still present towards the top.

G-Drive Racing #26 had taken the lead in LMP2 ahead of IDEC Sport #48 and Graff-SO24 #39.

Corvette Racing #63 was near the top of GTE Pro as well, with third fastest time behind the three Fords. But Ford bounced back and made it a 1-2-3-4.

Another Slow Zone was called halfway through the session, when the DragonSpeed #10 had stopped on track between the first and second chicane.

Racing Team Nederland #29 had some technical issues on their car, and lost quite a bit of time in the garage with some changes. They did however return to the track, and managed to do some laps later on.

With about 90 minutes left of the morning session, we had another Slow Zone. That was due to the Aston Martin Racing #98 having lost a lot of oil. Mathias Lauda was in the car when it happened, and he explained that he had been forced onto a curb by an LMP2 car, which had knocked a hole in the engine.

Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67
Photo: JJ Media

Racing Team Nederland #29 stopped on the track with Jan Lammers on the track. After a few minutes of resetting, he rejoined.

Then there was a red flag with an hour left of the practice.

There had been a collision between the Aston Martin Racing #95 with Marco Sørensen behind the wheel, and the SMP Racing #35 with Harrison Newey.

The practice wasn’t resumed, but the information is currently limited. The fact is that it was quite a heavy accident, with a lot of damage to the armco, when you shorten the session by 50 minutes.

The first reports are that Marco Sørensen is fine, and that is the most important thing.

Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was the fastest car in LMP1, G-Drive Racing #26 was fastest in LMP2, Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 in GTE Pro and Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 in GTE Am.

The afternoon practice session is planned to start at 13.30.

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