Thread: ELMS Race 4 Hours of Le Castellet
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Old 29 Aug 2017, 14:53 (Ref:3762622)   #46
Akrapovic
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I presume that the cars are simply less aero dependant. They qualify about 18 seconds slower than F1 cars at Spa, so there's quite a bit of difference. Could be there's a much wider gap in driver skill levels too.

Here's some post race thoughts -

Traditionally, Paul Ricard has had problems with track run off violations. A side effect of ELMS adding the chicane to the Mistral was that track limit became a non-issue for the race. Signes, the fast right hander at the end of the Mistral, is usually where the majority of the track penalties are generated. By adding the chicane on the Mistral, the speeds for Signes were lower, and cars were not running wide and being penalised. ELMS has stumbled upon a fix for the track limits issues at Paul Ricard

The original intention of the chicane was to slow down the LMP2 cars. Concerns were raised that the more powerful 2017 LMP2 cars would be too fast down the Mistral. The full length Mistral is 1.8km, which brings it in slightly shorter than a couple of the straights at Le Mans.

The SMP win was a first in many ways. First LMP2 class win for SMP in ACO competition. First wins for Isaakyan and Orudzhev in an LMP. First win for the standard Dallara P217.

Isaakyan and Orudzhev have both won races in the World Series Formula V8 3.5 for SMP this season. Isaakyan leads the championship, with Orudzhev currently third. With SMP planning to run a Dallara LMP1 in WEC, todays win will have raised their stock even further.

The final stint for the SMP Dallara was a massive 51 minutes long. An LMP2 fuel stint tends to be around the 40-42 minute mark, depending on the circuit. 2 Full Course Yellows will have helped, but it was still an impressive effort, especially considering the fast lap times. The LMP2s all use the same spec Gibson V8, but is the Dallara easier to conserve fuel with?

There was no major difference between the performance of the high downforce kits for the LMP2 cars. Oreca did have the most cars running at the front, in the shape of DragonSpeed and Graff, but this wasn't purely through performance. The Dallara had the speed, but only SMP were able to capitalise on it. A Ligier finished third, but had the potential to be higher. An incident on the opening lap dropped the United Autosports Ligier to the back, putting it into recovery mode for the entire race.

A big factor in the LMP2 fight was the silver rated drivers performance. SMP had the luxury of running 2 very impressive silver drivers, allowing them to run a flexible strategy. G-Drive are also in a strong position with silver drivers, as Leo Roussel has been the star of the show at many events. The young French driver regularly matches Minassian and Lapierre on lap times. Picking a strong silver driver, or coaching your silver driver up to speed, is having a big effect on the championship.

Another possible effect of the chicane was the poor performance of the Norma. The new M30 has been the surprise of the LMP3 season, with teams being able to take the fight to the Ligiers. The car is particularly slippery as well, giving it great straight line speed. A win in the Le Mans Cup on Saturday looked promising, but the ELMS teams weren't able to replicate the performance, and the highest placed Norma was 10th.

The dread acronym "BoP" was mentioned in GTE driver interviews again. Ferrari dominated the GTE class, with Spirit of Race finishing 50 seconds up the road from the next closest car. A 10 second penalty robbed JMW of a solid second place. The Aston Martins struggled for pace all race. Works driver Darren Turner was unable to match the Ferraris for pace, and Nicki Thiim managed to drag the TF Sport Aston Martin to a second placed finish despite damaged dive planes. The Proton Porsche looked lost, as even Christian Ried was all at sea, trying to tame the 911 RSR. Unlike the automated WEC BoP, ELMS still uses a manual BoP.
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