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Old 19 May 2010, 20:42 (Ref:2694287)   #1
Aysedasi
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Le Mans Rookies (aka A Pointless Le Mans 'Anorak' Thread...!)

OK, so humour me.

In the build-up to last years race, Johnny Mowlem told Trussers and Hindy that perhaps part of the reason why he hadn't been able to land a suitable drive last year was due to the financial situation and the large number of Le Mans rookies in the race, I guess the implication being that many of the rookies had been able to get drives due to the money that they brought to the teams.

It set me to thinking and you know how dangerous that is.... So I had to satisfy my curiosity in some Truswellian-style research... Using the ACOs Liste des Engages, I counted the number of rookies last year - and the two previous years, and found:-

2009 - 36
2008 - 32
2007 - 35

So, not a huge amount of justification there for rookies perhaps keeping out established drivers in 2009, as compared to previous years.

To satisfy my curiosity further, I went back 10 years:-

1999 - 27
1998 - 35
1997 - 36

All of which would tend to suggest that the despite the drop in 1999, the 'rookie ratio' probably doesn't change all that much from year to year.

But I did notice two things

1. A decade or so ago, there may have been a similar number of rookies, but it seems to me that they tended to 'congregate' in the lower GT class, whereas in the later years, we've seen quite a lot of rookies in prototypes - for example last year 14 (10 LMP1 and 4 LMP2)

2. Last year, I was surprised when I realised that there were 5 driver squads (including both the Kolles cars) composed entirely of rookies.

I'm not sure this idle musing serves any great purpose (other than taking up some of my time and a little of yours to read it) and I certainly don't wish to imply that rookies don't acquit themselves well - you just have to look at Lotterer and Zwolsman last year - to disprove that - but we are looking at what some of us regard as the world's greatest motor race in which very often it seems, more than a fifth of the drivers taking part are Le Mans novices....

Comment or not as you wish!

Last edited by Aysedasi; 19 May 2010 at 22:40.
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Old 20 May 2010, 08:12 (Ref:2694520)   #2
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Over that period the number of cars has increased and in recent years the LMP/GT ratio's has also changed so that explains somethings, but as a percentage of actual drivers the rookie must be dropping
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Old 20 May 2010, 08:27 (Ref:2694530)   #3
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Well, if we didn't have plenty of rookies each year we'd eventually run out of drivers

There's also the complication of different teams getting an entry each year and thus either the team owner or his contracted drivers being new.

A percentage would be better rather than a straight number, yes, I know for the past few years it's been 3 drivers per car, but wasn't last year the first year to go back to 55 cars after 53, and way back in the 90's it wasn't always a full grid was it?

So it's all a bit "Lies, Damm Lies & Statistics" isn't it?
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Old 21 May 2010, 06:00 (Ref:2695175)   #4
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Also, in '96 and '97, Alex Wurz and Tom Kristensen won for Joest overall in their rookie starts at Le Mans, and both have won it multiple times(TK in '97, 2000-'05, '08, and Wurz won in '96 and '09)
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