On Saturday, the 24 hours of Le Mans marathon will start on the French circuit of Sarte – in 2023 the legendary race will celebrate its centenary, which of course brings it special attention from the public.
But the main factor that keeps the public’s interest at the highest possible level is the largest number of strong factory teams in many years. Suffice it to say that for the first time in 50 years at Le Mans factory Ferrari 499P sports prototypes compete in the most powerful and prestigious category.
And they don’t just participate, but start from pole position: on Thursday evening the last qualifying session, the so-called “Hyperpole”, was held, and the Italian Ferrari driver Antonio Fuoco, part of crew no. 50, showed the best time . He completed the lap in 3:22.982. Ferrari’s second hypercar starts the race from second position – Alessandro Pier Guidi, Fuoko’s partner, lost less than eight tenths to him. For example, the entire front row at Le Mans was occupied by bright red Ferrari sports prototypes.
In qualifying they proved capable of higher speeds than race favourites, the Toyota factory team cars.
There were some dramatic episodes: during the half-hour final of qualifying, the Cadillac V-Series.R hypercar belonging to the Chip Ganassi Racing team caught fire. This happened when Sebastien Bourdais, who was driving him, showed the third fastest time of the session. Fortunately, the Frenchman was not injured and of course the races were immediately stopped by red flags.
Bourdais’ time was canceled and when the races resumed, Kamui Kobayashi, a Toyota driver, climbed first to the third line of the protocol, but then Brandon Hartley, his partner, and at the end of the session, Felipe Nasr, a Porsche Penske driver also overtook him.
In the LMP2 class, Frenchman Paul-Loup Chatin of the IDEC Sport team was fastest, but lost just 0.122 to Pietro Fittipaldi driving the sports prototype Jota.
In the GTE-Am category, the best time was set by American Ben Keating, driving the Corvette Racing factory team’s Chevrolet Corvette C8.R sports car, outperforming its closest rival by more than a second and a half.
At the same time, it should be noted that the crew of the Hendrick Motorsports team, including Jenson Button, who performed outside the standings, circled in qualifying on a NASCAR car specially modified for Le Mans, a few seconds faster than the fastest racers . in the GTE-Am class.
However, the pole position at Le Mans has more of a symbolic than a practical meaning, as success in the 24-hour marathon does not depend on speed in one fast lap, but on stability and reliability throughout the race.
Source: F1 News
I am Christopher Clyde, an experienced journalist and content writer with a passion for sports. I have been writing about Formula 1 news for the past five years and am currently employed as an author at athletistic.com, one of the top sports websites in the US.