Le Mans 2012

Starts tomorrow with something like 20 hours of coverage on Speed. I’m curious about the experimental Nissan Delta Wing, and at least Toyota showed up with a Hybrid to keep things interesting rather than just an Audi parade.

The Nissan Deltawing:

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That’s one weird car, but apparently it runs quite well. BTW, it is not part of the competition per se, but something the ASO (Le Mans organisers) do every year to promote new ideas and technology. Next year, an all-electric car will join the race.

Nice to see Toyota making an appearance now that Peugeot threw in the towel, though it won’t get really interesting until next year when they’ve ironed out the wrinkles.

Not showing for everyone else? It shows for me, just to lull me into a false sense of security, of course.

The Nissan qualified down around 30th, but then I don’t know how it would fit into the classifications anyway assuming they aimed at making it fit the class.

Toyota returning is great, and hey, they qualified third in front of a number of Audis, though new cars and 24 hours are not always the best of friends.

Toyota has some really bad memories from Le Mans with their GT-One project, but I wish them the best of luck, as long as Tom Kristensen wins.

BTW, guess who has two thumbs and won’t be near a TV this weekend? Life is so unfair.

When did Nissan steal the Batmobile?

thoughts and observations:

-good race shaping up between the hybrid Audis and regular Audis
-Peugeot returning next year or year after
-year after that, could have many more factory backed teams because engine regulations are being dissolved. The only thing that will be enforced is fuel consumption
-commentators said that the Nissan Batwing is half the weight, half the power and half the drag. Interesting way to attack the race but doesn’t look like a threat. Yet.

Aston Martin and Corvette are really going at each other in the GT class!

One of the benefits will be hard to see since it had a problem with the gearbox - oh damn, the Aston Martin in the kitty litter - leaving it in the pits for a long time, but being able to normally stay out of the pits for gas, and even longer between tire changes, can make back up for time lost.

Ferrari driver can’t be bothered to notice he is being passed and smacks into one of the Toyotas and obliterates it. What a shame. The other one is still hanging in at second.

And the other moron Toyota driver immediately clobbers the Deltawing into the wall on the restart. Loses laps trying to get the lead. Sigh. Deltawing still parked on circuit.

The Deltawing retired. I understand they were asked to keep speeds down…be fun to see them turn up the wick on that car.

It was more a test run than actual competition for them. Proof of concept to some degree. Other than the best competition for the overall win going out, it was a pretty good race with lost of interest across the classes. Sports cars are so seductively beautiful in comparison to the skeletal open wheel or just plain butt-ugly Nascar.

I always found sports cars weird, or maybe it’s the lack of popularity in the states so I never got to get familiar with them. But I do love open wheel cars, just something about them. You know they’re made for one thing and one thing only, racing. NASCAR stock cars on the other hand just take the most boring sedans and plaster them with a million logos and decals.

I never paid much attention to sports cars until I went to an ALMS race at Lime Rock. From then on I was hooked and I now follow the ALMS religiously, to where it is by far my favorite series. The cars are extremely cool (ALMS races almost always have an open paddock, so you can get nice and close to them) and there is much more action on track than something like Indycar due to having the different classes out there racing at the same time.

It is harder to follow because of the different classes (ALMS has 5, which is definitely too many), but it’s worth it. IMO the current ALMS GT field has some of the best racing in the world.

This is the kind of racing through traffic that I love about it (pass was for the class win). And since I have that video open, this pass is worth watching just for the comedy value.

Laguna Seca is my favorite track in the whole world - it not only is one I can get to occasionally, it is a world famous section (the nasty corkscrew), and you can sit up on the hill just opposite the corkscrew and watch like 75% of the entire circuit. The local one - Long Beach -is fun to watch, but too many fences for good photography. The down side of the ALMS series is it can be a bit of a thin field sometimes.

Two Porsches and a VW Beetle!