Vintage Le Mans Prototypes, laid bare for all to see
The ability to walk around the paddock at a vintage racing event provides a chance to see all kinds of things. It is race day, after all, and somebody has to prep, tune and make repairs to the cars.
And that means a chance to check out the details of what makes these cars tick. Le Mans Prototypes are among the most advanced at these events, even if they ARE a few years old. And the paddock is where we get a chance to look under the bodywork and see what makes these cars tick.
For a first installment in a sporadic series, here are three LMP cars, stripped down.
Audi R8 LMP
An early 2000's Audi R8 LMP. This car claimed 2nd place at Le Mans in Audi livery twice behind sister R8's, as well as finishing on the podium for other storied races. This car ran on petrol, before Audi developed the diesel R10 TDI cars. Even after its retirement from Le Mans, this car still dominates at race events.
Photographed in September 2013. Apologies for the time stamps in the photos.
Pescarolo 01 Judd #16
First raced at Le Mans in 2007, Pescarolo entered its 01 chassis for the first time. This Judd V10-powered car was driven by the French team of Emmanuel Collard, Jean-Christophe Boullion and Romain Dumas, and placed 3rd overall after completing 358 laps, as the highest placed gasoline-fueled entrant. In 2008 with the same driving team, the #16 completed 238 laps before leaving the race and did not finish.
In 2009, it finished 8th at Le Mans, completing 368 laps. This time it was driven by French drivers Chrisophe Tinseau and Bruce Jouanny, and Portuguese driver João Barbosa. Pescarolo withdrew it entry in the 2010 race, but brought back the #16 in 2011, this time driven by the French team of Tinseau, and Frenchmen Emmanuel Collard and Julien Jousse. The #16 completed 305 laps but did not finish in its final race at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Photographed here in 2016
Swiss Spirit Lola B07/10 #5
Started at 2007 Le Mans but, like many others that year, did not finish, completing 62 laps. The markings just below the number (temporarily modified to "51") show the car as powered by a Judd engine, but raced at Le Mans with an Audi 3.6L Turbo V8.
Photographed in September 2017.