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Aston Martin Valkyrie could race at Le Mans if regulations allow it

With 1,130 horsepower at its disposal thanks to a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine with a KERS-style electric drivetrain, the new Aston Martin Valkyrie is a highly potent machine on the road and even on the track. It will even be offered as the track-exclusive Aston Martin AMR Pro race car. A stint at the world’s oldest sports car endurance race – the 24 Hours or Le Mans – could be possible in the future for a racing version of the Valkyrie, according to Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer in an interview with Autocar magazine.

Racing at the Le Mans today would seem weird for a track-only version of the Aston Martin Valkyrie. The track-exclusive AMR Pro version of the Valkyrie has been tweaked – boasting more power and more aerodynamic devices – to deliver a kind of performance near to Formula One racers or Le Mans Prototype units. However, it cannot compete in the top class of the Le Mans – the LMP1 – as restricted by the current rules and regulations set by the motor racing’s governing body, the FIA.

Currently, FIA rules for the Le Mans – in particular the LMP1 category – only allow prototype racers to enter the event. The focus of the Le Mans or any other endurance race is on prototype racers, not relying on just speed, but also reliability and efficiency. This is why hybrid systems have recently become the overall winners of Le Mans’ top category. Since only prototype racers are allowed in the top class, there is no way for a race version of the Aston Martin Valkyrie to participate. After all, the Valkyrie is a road car but with amazing power, and any version based on it becomes a road-derived race car.

Read the entire article Aston Martin Valkyrie could race at Le Mans if regulations allow it

Ken Block drives a pre-production Ford GT at Le Mans

You would expect a lot of news about the 24 Hours Le Mans just after the event finishes. But this time, we are not going to talk about the results. Instead, we are going to talk about how Ken Block took the Ford GT out for a spin just before all the racers hit the track.

Though the Ford GT was not able to repeat its class win at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team still managed to score a second place finish for one of the entries driving a Ford GT. Before the 24-hour long event began, Ken Block took the road-going GT around the Circuit de la Sarthe for some fun.

Block posted on Facebook that “It was a pretty amazing experience to be able to drive this circuit in the GT and have the whole thing to myself”, suggesting that he was on the track by himself, driving the pre-production example of the GT. This was also Block’s first trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Read the entire article Ken Block drives a pre-production Ford GT at Le Mans

Bizarre pitlane incident broke Toyota’s winning streak at 2017 24 Hours Le Mans

Toyota driver Kamui Kobayashi snagged the lead position ahead of this year's 24 Hours Le Mans by setting an impressive lap record. His number seven car is seen as the heavy favorite to win in one of the world's most grueling races. But in a series of unfortunate events, a clutch failure sent the #7 car to a shocking retirement, just shy of the 10-hour mark after breaking down on the track and failing to maneuver the race car to the pits. It seems that the clutch failure was the outcome of a truly unusual occurrence on the pit lane.

The unexpected clutch failure that doomed Toyota's leading Le Mans 24 Hours challenger was an indirect effect caused by Kobayashi mixing up an LMP2 driver in the pitlane for a race marshal. Kobayashi, who took over the #7 TS050 Hybrid he shared with both Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway to pole position with a record-setting lap in qualifying rounds around Thursday, had a snug lead when the race car was struck with a clutch problem in the 10th hour of the race. The clutch unfortunately overheated during a safety car period where Kobayashi took over Conway and was positioned at the end of the pitlane in front of a red light awaiting the train of cars assembled at the back of the safety car to pass.

Then what Kobayashi perceived as the marshal giving a thumbs up for him to leave the pits, he then started to speed off when he was told over the radio to immediately stop, in the process the constant stopping and starting the car caused the clutch to overheat, ultimately damning the #7's race. The "assumed" marshal is in fact the LMP2 driver Vincent Capillaire, who was donning an orange and black fire suit and helmet, an outfit that looks nearly identical to the orange safety coveralls and helmets worn by the track marshals.

Read the entire article Bizarre pitlane incident broke Toyota’s winning streak at 2017 24 Hours Le Mans

Porsche 919 Hybrid takes victory at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hour Race

Let’s give a round of applause to Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Earl Bamber for surprising a lot of people as they made the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid last until the end of the 24 Hour Le Mans after a long stop in the garage during the fourth hour of the race to replace the front axle motor. This victory marks Porsche’s 19th Le Mans 24 Hour win. In fact, they were just one of the two LMP1 cars that made it to the finish.

An LMP2 car, the #38 DC Racing Oreca 07 that was driven by Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent came in second. Many thought that the #38 would be the champion after the Porsche’s mishap at the 21st hour with an oil pressure issue. However, the Jota Sport run isn’t just strong enough to take over the power of the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid. In under two hours, Bernhard managed to take the lead getting itself back on track. To make things even more interesting, the Porsche circulated around 13 seconds a lap quicker than the Oreca. Like Bernhard, this is the second time Bamber won at the Le Mans 24 Hour race, while for Hartley, this would be his first ever victory at La Sarthe.

Though the #38 DC Racing LMP2 did not make it to the first place, they still came first in its class, and they did quite well just finishing one lap behind the LMP1 Porsche. The last time a secondary class came in the top three was back in 2005. This win also marks Jota Sport’s second class win.

Read the entire article Porsche 919 Hybrid takes victory at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hour Race

Two months ago, the premium British automaker Aston Martin gave us their new AMR line-up with a pair of rare super cars, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show back in March. The first vehicle was a slightly updated Rapide christened as the Rapide AMR, and the other vehicle was a track-focused Vantage with a race-car copied V8 named the Vantage AMR Pro. Now the British marque will add another super car to that line-up that will be called the Vantage AMR sans the Pro part that will get a racy body with an array of carbon fiber parts.

The staff of Aston Martin will provide customers with an option to avail of the Vantage AMR with one of the following exterior two-tone schemes namely Scintilla Silver with Grey, Ultramarine Black with Blue, Stratus White with Orange and Zaffre Blue with Red. Aside from the color options mentioned, you can also opt for the "Halo Pack" that includes a combination of Stirling Green paint with bright Lime Green accents in the fashion as the WEC-winning #95 Vantage GTE of last year.

This race-car inspired set can be yours with the Union Jack-glazed AML wings badge, but no worries as there will be no additional cost for this. For the interior, there are a lot of configurations to be offered but these will specifically depend on the exterior's aesthetic. All of these models will be fitted with premium carbon fiber seats and a combination of leather and Alcantara made especially for the coupes. Meanwhile, the roadsters will flaunt an all-leather finish.

Read the entire article Watch out for limited edition Aston Martin Vantage AMR at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

While a bunch of cars will take over 24 Hours Le Mans this racing season, there’s a glow-in-the dark Chevrolet Corvette that is destined to steal the spotlight. Coming to Le Man’s for this year’s GTE Am category is the bright and colorful Corvette C7.R art car that will be driven by Christian Philippon, Romain Brandela and Fernando Reese.

Designed by street artist Ramzi Adek, the glow in the dark livery will be featuring a graffiti-inspired paintwork in different shades of neon colors. Now we can be sure it won’t go unseen in the dead of the night.

The #50 Corvette was first seen last weekend at the Circuit de la Sarthe while undergoing official tests. As opposed to the traditional yellow body paint, Adek’s product looks totally different from the many Corvettes that took part in this competition.

Read the entire article Watch out for this Corvette with glow-in-the-dark livery at Le Mans

Amid the frenzy surrounding the 85th 4 Hours of Le Mans affair at the notable Circuit de la Sarthe in France, gamers all around the world will be ecstatic to hear that the strenuous endurance race will have a counterpart in the thrilling world of sports. Gamer boys and girls alike, this will be your chance to let your skills be known to the gaming community.

To be more specific, famous German automotive maker Porsche and the American multinational tech company Microsoft have teamed up once again at the previously held New York Auto Show with Automobile Club de l'Quest (ACO) to organize an event together that will be widely known as the "Forza Racing Championship (Forza RC) Season 3: The Porsche Cup."

If you participate in the recently ongoing qualifying rounds and successfully make it to the finals, then you are eligible to compete in a 24 hour marathon. But here's the awesome catch: the said marathon will be held at the same time as the actual Le Mans race. This exciting announcement will surely draw in hundreds of gamers around the world as this is a one of a kind opportunity that is difficult to pass off.

Read the entire article Forza 6 Marathon during Le Mans is made possible by Porsche and Microsoft

When it comes to hybrid propulsion, the first name that comes to people’s mind will always be Toyota. That being said, the brand has recently revealed its latest model to have this technology and it is not something that you get to see running beside you on the highway.

Dubbed as 2017 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, this LMP1 is based on last year’s TS050 Hybrid but has been redesigned completely that the only similarity is the basic carbon-monocoque chassis. Powering this endurance racing prototype is the twin-turbo 2.4-liter V6 engine, which when coupled to the electric motor, is capable of 8-megajoules (2.2 kWh). While it may initially appear to be the same engine as last year, this one has been redesigned from the ground up.

The engine is not the only one that experienced a modification as the entire vehicle itself has been reshaped in order to comply with the different changes on the regulations. In particular, vehicles are required to be designed to run a bit slower compared to the previous year’s model in order to improve safety. The design delivers low downforce when running at higher speeds on the circuit with the expectation of offering a higher downforce for the more technical tracks.

Read the entire article Toyota reveals new LMP1: the 2017 TS050 Hybrid

The rear engine layout is considerably Porsche 911’s ultimate selling point. Over the years, the arrangement of the engine has proven to be more capable for racing. But then, Porsche apparently gave its 911 a rather unusual overhaul. The latest Porsche 911 RSR (yes, the same car that would take part in the “24 Hours of Le Mans”) now has a new mid-engine.

But that’s not all. There are 19 other racing events in the GTE category where the 2017 Porsche 911 RSR will be part of. So this must be something really big.

According to Porsche, the much larger diffuser at the rear was in place after they positioned the 4.0 Litre horizontally arranged 6-cylinder engine at the middle. Porsche realised this new layout significantly improves handling and provides better balance as compared with the rear engine layout.

Read the entire article 2016 LA Auto Show: Porsche gets ready for Le Mans with mid-engine 911 RSR

We are faced with the sad truth that by the end of this season, Audi will no longer be racing in the FIA WEC, including at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Audi has recently announced its termination in the said sports car racing program to shift its focus primarily on the Formula E championship and its partnership with Abt Schaeffler team. At the same time, the German automaker will also maintain its DTM program. As for the World Rallycross, a decision is yet to be made but it looks like Audi will still support the EKS team which is headed by DTM’s long-time driver Mattias Ekstrom.

In an official statement by Audi’s Chairman of the Board of Management Rupert Stadler, Audi will be upgrading its motorsport segment to become at par with its increasingly electric production cars. In short, Audi will be venturing to electric powered motorsport in the near future.

Read the entire article Audi officially pulls out of FIA WEC, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans

Infiniti Le Mans 2030 Concept envisions autonomous night driving during the 24-hour race. Realistically, Le Mans could be considered as the hardest race for specialty race vehicles and production race vehicles. Quite a number of brands have boosted their image as well as credibility by taking part in this 24-hour event. As such, many car designers consider Le Mans as one of the world’s most open and relevant racing events in the world.

Thus, the theme for 2017 Michelin Challenge Design was “Le Mans 2030: Design For The Win.” This competition was conducted in collaboration with the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO), organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hour race. This year’s competition allows designers to present their vision of the future.

After a strenuous selection process, the jury for the 2017 Michelin Challenge Design picked the design entered by Tao Ni of Wuhu, China -- the “Infiniti Le Mans 2030.”

Read the entire article Infiniti Le Mans 2030 self-driving concept wins 2017 Michelin Challenge Design contest

The 24 Hours of Le Mans or sometimes called the “Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency” is an annual active sports car race held near the town of Le Mans in France. It is considered as the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing since it started in 1923. The race is held along the Circuit de la Sarthe which is mostly composed of closed public roads and a specialist racing circuit. It is one of the ultimate tests of endurance in the automotive world where teams are to race for 24 hours without sustaining any mechanical damages on their vehicles. They must also be able to balance speed while speeding through the race track.

In the early 1960s, Henry Ford II envisioned one of their American chariots to join the prestigious Le Mans race. From that dream came one of the most celebrated Ford creations – the GT40. Short for “Grand Touring” and representing its 40-inch overall height, the GT40 was built to make a name in the endurance racing circuit. It was a high performance racing car built to outperform its competitors in the field of international endurance racing. Its main goal was to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and to beat Italian automaker Ferrari, the then six-time defending champion.

True enough, the GT40 was built to stand out in the race circuit. It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for four consecutive years. First was the 1-2-3 finish in 1966 via the MK II version for which Ford became the first American manufacturer to win the said event. The next victory was in 1967 with the MK IV which was the only car at the Le Mans that was purely American made. And the next two winnings were in 1968 and 1969 for which the MK I GT40 became the first car in the history of Le Mans that had the same chassis and was able to win the race more than once. The GT40 truly has served its purpose during those years.

Read the entire article Ford GT marks another historical win at the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours

In recognition of Ford’s numerous achievements in past Le Mans races, organizers Automobile Club de l'Quest (ACO) allowed all four Ford GT cars to participate in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours. This comes fifty years after Ford's historic domination of the 1966 Le Mans with Ford cars occupying the first, second and third spots of the final result.

It turns out that the memorable 1966 Le Mans finish was just the start as Ford went on to win four consecutive times from 1966 to 1969. Dave Pericak, Ford Performance global director, thanked ACO for allowing all four Ford GTs on the Le Mans entry list, adding that no one is really guaranteed entry to the prestigious annual race.

Representing Ford in the race will be its all-new generation Ford GT super car, the zenith of Ford's Performance Division. This model is set to compete for the GTE Pro Class this coming June18-19. The new car will feature a lightweight carbon fiber body, an efficient but powerful Ford EcoBoost engine, as well as an aerodynamically tested-design.

Read the entire article Four Ford GT race cars to compete in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race

Porsche had a decisive win at the Le Mans 24-Hour race with an incredible one-two finish – its 17th overall victory at the famous race. The trophy went to the drivers of the Porsche 919 Hybrid: Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hülkenberg (GER) and Nick Tandy (GB). It was 45 years ago that Porsche had its first overall win at La Sarthe.

Coming in second was their sister car driven by Timo Bernhard (GER), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS). Fifth place went to the third Porsche 919 Hybrid that entered the race. Driving it were Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (GER). This victory cements Porsche’s legendary status at Le Mans as no other automaker matches its record for the most number of wins at the toughest endurance race in the world.

The last time that Porsche won was in 1998. It was also a one-two finish. In first place were drivers Allan McNish (GBR), Laurent Aiello (FRA) and Stéphane Ortelli (MC) who drove the Porsche GT1. According to Porsche AG CEO Matthias Müller, their victory is well-deserved but was something that they didn’t dream of. He praised the team for “a great job” in the past three or four years.

Read the entire article Porsche wins big at 2015 Le Mans 24-Hour race with 1-2 finish

At this year’s 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours race, Renault officially unveiled the Alpine Celebration Concept, a vehicle that previews the upcoming sports car from the French manufacturer. Clearly inspired by the iconic Alpine A110, the Alpine Celebration Concept celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Alpine brand founded by Jean Redele.

As you can see from the photos, the concept is a two-seater coupe with sleek, flowing lines underlined by the deep blue colour scheme. The color scheme is enhanced by hints of orange inspired by the Alpine models which raced at Le Mans from 1963 to 1960, the M63, M64, M65, A210, A220 as well as the A110.

According to the press release, the concept retains its familiar style and set of values, showing a seemingly floating spoiler which frames the bold front end and expresses strength. Moreover, we find straight, sharp lines of the side sills, while the thin mirrors seem to be suspended free of its housing. Carbon fiber details are seen on the car’s body such as the front spoiler, side sills, rear air intakes and mirrors.

Read the entire article Alpine Celebration Concept debuts at 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours race

If yesterday it was just a rumor, today it became official: Ford will be back at Le Mans in 2016 and the all-new GT supercar will compete in LM GTE Pro class. According to the American manufacturer, the al-new Ford GT race car will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s 1966 overall victory (1-2-3).

The new Ford GT race car was unveiled today at the famous circuit in Le Mans and will be prepared to run the full 2016 schedules of the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

The competition debut will be made in January 2016 at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Florida. Ford’s new vehicle will be powered by a 3.5-liter V6 petrol engine that debuted in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014, but there are no details regarding the power delivered.

Read the entire article 2016 Ford GT race car officially unveiled, prepares for Le Mans

Nissan marks a historic event 25 years ago with the unveiling of a special livery that will be used on the No.21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO at Le Mans. During the Group C generation exactly 25 years ago, the Nissan R90CK arrived at pole position at the Le Mans circuit with the very able hands of Mark Blundell who achieved a 3:27.020 lap.

The No.21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO is the third LM P1 car by the automaker. Racing it will be present Super GT Champion Tsugio Matsuda (JAP) and Lucas Ordonez (ESP) and Mark Shulzhitskiy (RUS) who are the two winners of GT Academy.

There will be a special parade at Le Mans for the No.24 Nissan R90CK to mark the anniversary of the pole lap achieved by Mark Blundell. The 1100bhp car isn’t capable of reaching the soaring speeds of 366 km/h (227 mph) that it hit in 1999 but it’s still expected to turn people’s heads.

Read the entire article Nissan uses retro livery on GT-R LM Nismo for 2015 Le Mans

Porsche has shown off its liveries for the upcoming Le Mans race. The 2015 Porsche Le Mans race cars will make their world debut at the official Pre-test. These race cars will be seen in their individual colors. For the first time ever, the three Porsche 919 Hybrids will feature their base colours of red, black and white. They’re dubbed as Tradition, Technology, and A Return.

Following tradition, Timo Bernhard of Germany, Brendon Hartley of New Zealand, and Mark Webber of Australia will drive the red prototype with starting number 17. The car number and color pay homage to Porsche, which in 1970, achieved the first of 16 overall wins in Le Mans.

Porsche possesses the record for the most number of victories at Le Mans, which is considered by many to be the most demanding endurance race in the world. In addition, red is the color of the base of the Porsche 917 KH (short-tail) in "Salzburg Design" that raced on June 14, 1970, approximately 45 years ago.

Read the entire article Porsche unveils liveries of 2015 Le Mans race cars

Ford will celebrate in 2016 the 50th anniversary of its first of four consecutive victories from the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. In order to properly celebrate the anniversary it appears that Ford is preparing the biggest surprise for its fans and will bring back the GT for 2016. According to company insiders, Ford already started working on a mid-engined supercar that will take on other high-performance models.

What’s more interesting is that Ford is also preparing to return to Le Mans and take to the top of the podium. The old Ford GT used a 5.8-liter V8 engine but raking in consideration that the manufacturer started supplying engines to Daytona Prototype cars in the Tudor racing series, we might see that engine on the upcoming supercar.

A 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine that delivers 600 hp helped a Chip Ganassi Racing/Felix Sabates Riley car win the 12 Hours of Sebring. Still, a proper supercar needs a proper V8 sound and the current 5.0-liter V8 used by the 2015 Mustang GT could also be a solution.

Read the entire article Ford already working on a GT successor, could return to Le Mans

Toyota Racing should be jubilant for taking the third place at the Le Mans 24 Hours, but was instead frustrated since it could have finished first no thanks to a multi-car accident and an electrical problem.

The team’s No. 7 Toyota Hybrid TS040 – piloted by Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima -- started from a pole position and had been having a strong lead until it fallen prey to electrical issues near the 14-hour mark, causing it to retire from the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The team’s No. 8 Toyota Hybrid TS040, piloted by Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi, finished third at the Circuit de la Sarthe on the weekend but still managed to hold to their lead in the World Endurance Championship. It was also Toyota’s fifth top-three finish at Le Mans.

Read the entire article Toyota Racing frustrated by the failure at 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours race