The sun is rising high into the sky, the temperature is jumping, it’s nearly my birthday, and the sports car would is heading for an otherwise unremarkable stretch of public road in central France.
There are now less than three weeks until the traditional French tricolour falls to begin the 77th running of the world-famous endurance race, and as the date draws nearer, the picture of the field that will take the flag is growing ever clearer.
A field of 55 cars that was unveiled in February has gone through more evolutions than recent years, with four confirmed cars and two reserves withdrawing their entries in the intervening months, granting entries to teams that would have doubted whether they’d race at Le Sarthe.
Now, following the May 22nd cutoff date, no further reserve cars will be called, and new drivers are confirmed in teams day by day.
Which means it must be preview time, and you know a preview is big when it’s necessary to give it a preview in itself.
Over the coming weeks there will be a preview for each of the four Le Mans classes—LMP1, LMP2, LMGT1 and LMGT2—and for those unfamiliar with these classes, they are exactly the same as would be found in the American or European Le Mans Series, the arbitrary “LM” tacked on simply designating “Le Mans”.
Each preview will run through all the teams in that class, looking at their form at Le Mans, their driving lineup and (perhaps most importantly for a full day of racing) the equipment underneath them before assessing their chances. It’s not completely impossible rather than exact positions each team will be graded as either “winner," “podium," “finisher,” or the dreaded “DNF” as their chances of glory decrease.
That doesn’t necessarily mean there will be one predicted winner, or two predicted podium—as it’s their chances, and you can’t factor in twice-round-the-clock worth of randomness.
Then it’s over to the 13th and 14th June to prove me completely and utterly wrong.
Shortcuts to the previews.
LMGT1 - read it here
LMGT2 - read it here