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Friday 11th June 2010


Le Mans 2010: Let's Hear It For The Brits...

The PH 'duffers guide' to who to cheer at La Sarthe

Jag is back at Le Mans at last
Jag is back at Le Mans at last

Aston - should lead the LMP1 petrols
Aston - should lead the LMP1 petrols
It's that time of year again: Le Mans is back, and all this week a sizeable expeditionary force will have been heading from all corners of Blighty to an otherwise small and relatively undistinguished city in north-west France to spend a weekend drinking beer. Oh, and watching one of the greatest motor racing spectacles in the world...

Of course the big question is who you cheer on as you build-up that little green bottle stack and munch on various forms of meat between bread (the only type of food allowed at Au Mans).

We're proud to cheer for Nishy, even if...
We're proud to cheer for Nishy, even if...
Aside from a Ginetta-Zytek with a trio of Mansells at the wheel and a certain PH Smiley emblazoned on the rear wing end-plates, there are plenty of crews for the PHer to support, be it for patriotic reasons (driver or car), or perhaps even Porsche-philia or an enduring love of BMWs.

Here, then, is PH's selection of some of the most interesting runners and riders in this year's race.

LMP1:

...the regs are fixed in favour of diesels
...the regs are fixed in favour of diesels
As has been the case for the past three Le Mans, the battle for overall honours is almost certain to be a struggle between the two front line diesel cars - the Audi R15 TDI and the Peugeot 908 HDI FAP.

Each manufacturer is fielding three works cars and, while it's tempting to dismiss the Audis and Peugeots as cold corporate monsters with dull diesels, it's worth remembering there's something to cheer for even here.

The genial and talented Allan McNish (interviewed just last week by PH) is gunning for a Le Mans hat trick with Audi, while fellow former F1 driver Anthony Davidson has a shot at his maiden victory after jumping from Aston Martin to a seat in the number one Peugeot alongside Marc Gene and Alex Wurz.

Nigel and the boys, plus support!
Nigel and the boys, plus support!
Hunting the diesels - and gunning for the unofficial 'petrol victory' - is the trio of LMP1 Aston Martins, two run by the works team, one by the French Signature Plus outfit. British driver-interest here centrews on the 009 car, with Brits Darren Turner and Sam Hancock sharing a car with Danish racer Juan Barazi.

Finally, we mustn't forget the plucky Beechdean-Mansell outfit, with 'our' Nige and sons Leo and Greg taking on the big boys in their Ginetta-Zytek LMP1 (complete with PH Smileys). Hurrah for the underdogs...

Lola B08/80
Lola B08/80
LMP2:
The smaller, slower LMP2 class is looking a bit bare this year, with the Porsche RS Spyders conspicuous by their absence, but the pretty RML-run Lola B08/80, with its newly installed 3.4-litre Honda V8, provides some interest here.

LM GT1:
There are only eight entries to GT1 this year, but the trio of Ford GTs look great (and lady PHers can cheer-on the all-girl Ford GT crew of Rachel Frey, Natacha Gachnang and Cyndie Allemann).

They're joined by a pair of Corvette C6s, an Aston DBR9, a Saleen and the JLOC (Japanese Lamborghini Owners Club) Murcielago, which looks and sounds incredible, but is unlikely to make the finish.

What would Le Mans be without these?
What would Le Mans be without these?
LM GT2:
GT2 is going to be a tough battle, with Porsche, Ferrari, BMW, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Corvette and Spyker all fielding cars.

The traditional Porsche-Ferrari battle features six Porsches taking on five Ferrari F430s. The V12 Aston Martin Vantage of Rob Bell, Tim Sugden and Bryce Miller and the pair of works BMW M3s - including the fantastic 'Art Car' of WTCC hero Andy Priaulx - will be looking for victory too, while the US-run Jaguar XKR marks a welcome return to Le Mans for the leaping cat.

Author: Riggers

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12 comments on this story

Last comment was by TheRoadWarrior
on 12th June 2010