24 Hours of Le Mans: Hypercar - What to remember from the Test Day?

24 Hours of Le Mans: Hypercar – What to remember from the Test Day?

Why are TOYOTA and ALPINE slower than in 2021?

It’s just regulation. But who expected the GR010 Hybrid to take pole position last year in 3’23”900, a handful of seconds too fast in the eyes of the legislator? The BoP has been there, so don’t expect this time to be approached on Wednesday in qualifying or Thursday during the Hyperpole. ” We have lost on various levels, explained to us the technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Pascal Vasselon. We have four kilos more – which represents a tenth per lap – but also 9 kW (approx. 12 horses. Editor’s note) less and a trigger speed of the hybrid system raised to 190 km/h (compared to 120 last year. Editor’s note) “. If this last factor will be less detrimental than on the other routes, this increase is not without impact.

You will find below the BoP 2021 vs BoP 2022 comparison. Figures to be analyzed with care, other factors to be taken into account, including the change in tire fittings made by Toyota during the off-season.

Toyota at the rendezvous!

After a 2022 edition of the 6 Hours of Spa marked by the abandonment of the n°8 due to a technical problem, Toyota needed to be reassured. And this even if, as the technical director Pascal Vasselon confirmed to us, ” This is a transformer issue, which we believe has been resolved. »

In the morning, the two GR010 Hybrids were out of time for a long time. As the circuit was still “dirty”, the decision was taken to work on the set up, both aero and mechanical, before devoting time to the tires in the afternoon. An important factor because the Japanese no longer has 31 square tires, but 29 at the front and 34 at the rear.

Winner last year, the No. 7 however made everyone agree, by winning the best time of the two sessions, each time thanks to José-Maria Lopez. ” It was a good dayis satisfied Pascal Vasselon. We even did more kilometers than expected. We have reviewed our entire program without knowing the slightest problem. We are where we thought we were, and therefore slower than last year due to the BoP change. The question to ask is why Glickenhaus failed to match his times from last year (while the BoP of the 007 LMH is similar to that of 2021. Ndlr). »

On a regular basis, let’s face it, Toyota seems unbeatable and promised a fifth victory in a row, a feat that only Porsche, Ferrari and Audi have achieved. But during the first two races of the 2022 WEC season, the Japanese team lost one of its two GR010s each time, on Lopez going off the track at Sebring then on a mechanical problem at Spa, so mistrust…

© MPS Agency

Glickenhaus Racing as the No. 1 outsider?

In the morning, the American team gave its fans a few cold sweats. The n°708 remained immobilized in its box for a long time. ” A small setback related to the debugging of the engine after it was reassembled, told us Romain Dumas. Unlike the competition, we didn’t complete a debugging session before coming here. But that didn’t stop the Alésien from finishing the morning session just 0.109 behind José-Maria Lopez. ” Tire grip, long stints… Overall, we are satisfied, continued the double winner of the event. And we reviewed a good part of our program »

In the afternoon, Romain did it again by moving up to second place again, 0.208s behind his Argentinian rival who is racing for Toyota Gazoo Racing. ” Last year, the car was not necessarily very easy to take around the Porsche curves, with some movements which abused the rear tires, emphasizes Olivier Pla. The team has worked well and has, it seems, solved the problem. However, since the 2021 edition, Glickenhaus Racing has only used its race weekends to perfect its 007 LMH, which has not taken part in a single test session since its debut in competition, at the occasion of the 8 Hours of Portimão 2021, last June. And if the Glickenhaus Racing was the big odds of this 90th edition?

Should we be worried about Alpine?

At the end of the morning session, the Alpine A480 closed the top five, with a disbursement of 1”167 on the reference mark. ” A good morning devoted to the set up, will entrust us afterwards the main team Philippe Sinault. We rode well, found good settings and were satisfied with the behavior of the tyres. Different from those used last year since the Frenchwoman now uses Hypercar tires and not LMP1 NH.

But in the afternoon, it got a bit spoiled for the tricolor clan. The Nicolas Lapierre-André Negrao-Matthieu Vaxiviere trio still brought up the rear, while seeing their deficit reduced to 2”524. Enough to get ahead of the two fastest LMP2s. ” It is clear that we miss it, admits Philippe Sinault. It is at acceleration, and therefore at top speed, that we struggle. The gap with the competition is widening mainly in sector 2 (+1”325. Editor’s note). We must now find the solution to remedy this deficit. The fact remains that if the A480 really suffers from a power deficit, only a modification of the Balance of Performance will be able to make things happen.

But has No. 36 hidden its game? ” We haven’t played any game, assures Vaxiviere. In the morning, we worked well with the team and are not far from the ideal set up. But we didn’t expect to be this far. It was ultimately a rather frustrating day during which we even had trouble overtaking the LMP2s. If it stays that way, we could be in trouble in traffic. It remains to be seen what the governing bodies will decide…

Comparative table Test Day 2022:


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