Le Mans is back and better than ever. These NL-ertjes participate in the Fan classic.
As we wrote earlier, the 24 hours of Le Mans this year is really something to look forward to. In recent years we already knew in advance: if nothing crazy happens, Toyota wins. The Japanese were the only factory team left after the two VAG brigades of Audi and Porsche dropped out. This way they could finally get those coveted victory(s).
Something a Japanese manufacturer had previously only succeeded in 1991, despite several attempts by Nissan and Toyota, when the legendary Mazda 787B Wankel engine won. The association of eardrums still has that car at the top of their most wanted list.
That against a bunch of well-meaning privateers. But nobody will know that in 25 years when Toyota presents itself as a multiple Le Mans winner in roaring advertisements. But if they win this year, it will be one to remember. The competition consists of Porsche, Peugeot, Caddilac and…Ferrari. In addition, there are some exotics from the Glick and Colin Kolles for that extra pinch of spice in the curry. Noice. Realistically, just over ten teams qualify for the overall win. We haven’t seen that in a very long time.
In addition to the thickest bleppers, the LMP2s are also driving around again this year. With 24 cars they even make up the largest part of the starting field in percentage terms. It is certain here that an Oreca-Gibbs 07 will win. Only perhaps it will be called Alpine, if Matmut Alpine’s team wins. They use the same car but have given it their own name. Also in this class the necessary NL-ertjes participate. And given the ‘equal’ cars, they should also have a chance.
With the GTs it’s all a bit different this year too. No more division between GTE Pros and GTE Ams, because only Ams are in action. 21 teams will compete in their Fezzas, Astons, Porsches and Corvettes. Some teams are more on the pro side and some are more on the am side…but now they all compete under the same rules in the same class.
And then the NL-ers: contenders?
Now, of course, we win everything in motorsport these days. So probably also the 24 hours of Le Mans. At least, is it somewhat realistic? Well… it is not excluded
In the highest class we have to rely on Renger van der Zande. The enthusiastic man who insures things and sometimes still races. In America, Renger has grown into a fixed value in the Endurance. So he was able to get a seat at Cadillac. The team is run by Ganassi and that is not unknown territory for Renger.
The V.Series R wasn’t the fastest in qualifying, but it “just got there.” The gap to the head (Ferrari) is there but not necessarily insurmountable. Certainly not if everything is going well at Caddilac and not at others. And we also don’t know what the race pace and fuel consumption of the teams will be. BMW was also not the absolute fastest in 1999. But the V12 LMR did beat Audi, Toyota, Nissan and co. So…It won’t be easy, but who knows. The Caddy of Renger and co started seventh and was about 7 tenths slower than the pole sitter in qualifying.
In the LMP2 we are again extremely well represented, despite the withdrawal of team Frits van Eerd. Frits has done a lot of good, because his drivers van der Garde and van Uitert have simply found a place elsewhere. Giedo drives for Graff Racing and Job for Panis Racing. The latter rides together with the young Tijmen van der Helm.
But there are more NL-ers, also with good teams. Bent Viscaal has moved from the monopostos to the Endurance and will compete for Prema. And Robin Frijns has found shelter again at WRT. Nyck de Vries is unfortunately not participating this time. At least, unless he replaces someone just before the race, like last year.
Within the large field, the Dutch start as follows: Viscal from P8, van der Garde from P13, van Uitert and van der Helm from P14 and Frijns from P16.
GT NL guys
No young Bleek in the GTs, but Jeroen’s old partner Ben Keating has been matched to another Dutchman this year. Nicky Catsburg is back in action for Corvette Racing with a C8.R. At Corvette they just participate with a serious factory team, even if it is an ‘Am’ race. So also a good chance to win. Nicky starts from P3. He recently won the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring. So this is an opportunity to string success to success.
Furthermore, there is no one from the Netherlands with a GT on the road this weekend. Four Belgians, but only one NL-ertje. Shame.
NASCAR NL guys
Unfortunately there are none. The Camaro ZL-1 is driven by Jimmy Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller and Jenson Knoop. A very cool thing.
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