2013 Le Mans Preview

Today is Tuesday, June 18th, 2013.  The 90th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is 4 days from now.  On Saturday, June 22nd, at 3:00, Jim France of NASCAR, and now United Sportscar Racing, will have the honor of waving the French tricolour to signify the start of the race.  I’m not going to lie, I’m beginning to regret my decision not to go to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.  But, alas, here we are.

In preparation for this year’s race, I’ve gathered some thoughts and information that should help you, my loyal readers, know what to look for and what to expect.

The cars.

Our two main heavy weights are Audi and Toyota.  I based my decision on not going this year on the fact there aren’t any major rules changes from 2012 to 2013.  But that doesn’t mean these two manufacturers haven’t made some substantial changes to their cars.

Audi rolled out their R-18 Longtail for better aerodynamics.  You can see the difference here:

Audi R-18 Longtail

Audi R-18 Longtail

Successful at Silverstone and Spa, this updated machine is the one to beat.

Not to sit idly by, Toyota has been busy updating the 2013 TS030 for La Sarthe.

Updated Front

Updated Front

Updated Side

Updated Side

There’s nothing major in the LMP2, GTE-Pro, and GTE-Am classes.  Porsche is fielding two new factory supported (not privateer) 991 cars.  They’ll have their hands full against the battle-hardened Corvette C6.R, the Ferrari F458, and a fleet of Aston Martin Vantages – including the beautiful Art Car.

Aston Martin Vantage Art Car

Aston Martin Vantage Art Car

To help us know the cars we’re watching, Andy Blackmore finalized his 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans Spotters guides.

LMP1 and LMP2

LMP1 and LMP2

LMP2 and GTE

LMP2 and GTE

I’ve promised the Tenths boys I’ll be up early – 5AM – to share a drink with them while they meet.  3 hours later, I’ll be tuned into Speed and online to watch as much of the 24 Hours as I can.  Can’t believe I’m missing this one, but that should make next year’s race that much more special.  I’m in the final stages of finishing my US Grand Prix report and then I can start on my V8 Supercars report.  Soon….

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