Two weeks before this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, the FIA has granted weight breaks to the Ford and Aston Martin GTE-Pro challengers, taking 20 kilograms off the minimum required weight of each chassis while also adding 10 extra kilos to the Ferrari 488 GTE.
Sportscar 365 confirmed the changes earlier today, also detailing a reduction in restrictor openings for the Aston (0.4mm x 2) and a slightly smaller restrictor for the Corvette, down to 29.1mm (x2) versus the 29.5mm restrictors which the car runs in IMSA. GTE-Am Ferraris get a 10-kilo weight break, with AM-class Astons benefitting from a slightly bigger restrictor opening.
No changes have been made to the Porsche RSRs as far as I know, despite the cars being more than two seconds off the lead pace at Spa. Fastest GTE-Pro tour was Sam Bird’s Ferrari on Lap 3 with a 2:18.485. Compare that to reigning champ, Richard Lietz, on Lap 3 with a 2:21.0, or the overall fastest RSR tour on Lap 46, when fellow champ, Michael Christensen, managed a 2:20.461, and it’s hard not to wonder how things will pan out in France over 24 hours, with the 911s so far off the front-running pace.
A lot can happen in 24 hours, especially if the weather in France right now doesn’t calm down, but with general consensus that the Ford GTs were sandbagging in Spa, where will their ultimate lap times top out? And how close can the RSRs get to that in the dry? A serious kicking could be on the cards here.
Regardless of how it looks at the minute, they don’t give out trophies for lap times and the Ford GTs have been a bit fragile. Four GTs are entered for Le Mans, as the blue oval tries to rekindle its glory days for the fiftieth anniversary of the GT40’s first win at La Sarthe, which was also the first Le Mans win for an American manufacturer. I’m really looking forward to this year’s Le Mans and won’t mind too much if we lose, as long as there is good racing for the duration. That’s pretty much guaranteed.