Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Le Mans Preview Part 4: GT2 - Porsche vs the rest

It's a bit of a case of been-there-done-that in GT2, with a whole raft of Porsches in this, the slower of the two GT classes. The difference this year is that the non-Porsche entrants are very strong, and could quite easily win.

On the Porsche side of the fence, there are two teams who stand out as clear favourites. From the US, Flying Lizard bring an RSR with a great driver team that includes factory Porsche driver Pat Long and the very fast Johannes Van Overbeek. The Lizards have great experience in the ALMS, and are my tip for the GT2 win.

Close behind them should be the French IMSA-Matmut team, run by driver/owner Raymond Narac. IMSA have gotten their hands on Pat Long's Penske Porsche team Romain Dumas, and have also bagged some factory support after a great year in 2005. Should the Lizards have any mishaps, you can bet these guys will be ready to pick up the pieces.

Elsewhere in Porsche world, we've got teams from Belgium, England, Japan and Germany along with additional entries from France and the USA. Some tidbits of info on each....

Gordon Racing (Belgium): Watch for the legendary Gulf colours on this car.

Sebah Automotive (UK): A solid pay-driver line-up that includes Dane Thorkild Thyrring and Christian Reid. This is the black and bright blue car.

T2M and Team Taisan ADVAN (Japan): A couple of teams from Japan running Yokohama tyres. They may do a little better if it rains. They are the only teams running the old GT3RS model. T2M are yellow and Taisan are black and red.

Seikel (Germany): Squeeked in from the reserve list. This is in fact the Farnbacher Porsche entered under the Seikel name. A rather anonymous white paintjob with "Maldives" sponsorship.

Petersen-White Lightning (USA): The Petersen entry has basically been "bought" by Tracy Krohn's team, hence the presence of Tracy and his regular team-mates Nic Jonnson and Jorg Bergmeister. Should be pretty fast, and Petersen have actually won GT2 in the past. White car with Krohn's traditional bright green flashes.

Noel Del Bello (France): Another white Porsche with a ChampCar champion Seb Bourdais' dad Patrick in the lineup.

Okay, that's the boring old Porsches out of the way. Who's taking the fight to them?

Most significant is the pair of Panoz entries, one from Multimatic (who build the racing versions of the car) and Team LNT from England. Panoz won their class at Sebring, so if they can hold together, they could definitely win, probably with the Multimatic entry.

Ferrari have one representative in GT2 from the Scottish Ecurie Ecosse team. The new F430 has proven to be very fast, albeit a tad fragile. In the FIA GT race at Silverstone, 3 of them retired with the very same failure, so hopefully they've got that fixed.

Finally, in the "isn't that odd" category, those strange Dutch Spykers are back, with two cars that now have roofs. This should help improve aero efficiency and therefore top speed, and the other big help for speed will be the remarkable group of drivers they have. Most notably the hugely experienced Tom Coronel has signed on, along with fellow Dutch touring car ace Jeroem Bleekemolen. Also, returning to Le Mans for the first time since his outrageous somersault in a Merc in 1999, is Peter Dumbreck. Dumbreck actually just won a Japanese SuperGT race a few weeks ago, so still has some good pace.


SelectaLease said...

Such a great looking car.

Anonymous said...

Oh my God. I love Porsche vehicles. I got one and I should say I am completely satisfied. The model, the salon, the speed and the rest simply drive me crazy. I bought it a year ago and so far no problems. The dealership offered the best customer service. Porsche Usa is awesome. I learned about the company on and despite all the negative feedbacks I still desided to do that.