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2017 Le Mans: Historic For All The Wrong Reasons
2017 Le Mans: Historic For All The Wrong Reasons
June 27 2016 04:12:46 AM ESTTeam Chevy
It's been a week since the checkered flag. We all know what happened. It's hard to forget, and even harder to forgive.

It's been a week and we still don't know what to it goes....

ISSUE #1: Ford GT - Waivers
Ford built a racecar to go to Le Mans and win on the 50th anniversary of the historic Ford GT40 victory in 1966. There is a roadcar in the works, but here in-lies the problem. Per the GTE regulations, a specific number of road cars must be produced and before a racecar can be homologated and able to race. Ford played the chicken and the egg scenario to their advantage and received permission to race before a single production car was ever built. This has caused a major stink with fans, but the reality of the situation was that a special waiver was given to Ford, with the agreed upon permission with all of the competing manufactures, to allow the GT to race in 2016. Nothing more can be said.

ISSUE #2 - Is the GT within the spirit of the race?
As said before, GTE cars are homologated after their road going counterparts. The GT is a racecar of which a roadcar is being built to legalize the racecar. Is this debatable, yes. Is it true, yes. Will Ford ever admit it, no. Is it within the spirit of the race, not in our opinion.

ISSUE #3: Sandbagging
It has been know by everyone except the ACO that the Ford GT has been sandbagging all season in the WEC, and all the way up to Wednesday practice at Le Mans. It became clear to everyone when they managed to find an extra 5 seconds of lap time in qualifying. It's normal for teams to not show all of their performance before qualifying, but usually it's 0.5 - 1 second. NOT FIVE SECONDS!!!!

ISSUE #4: BoP - Part A
Balance of Performance....the great equalizer and hot button topic for teams and fans alike. If it is done properly, it can and has been shown to provide iconic and historical racing memories that will be featured on highlight reels for decades to come. The first issue with BoP in this case is Turbo vs Naturally Aspirated engines. There was a clear performance gap between turbo and N/A cars. In the history of motorsport, no one has ever successfully balanced tubro cans with N/A cars. With today's data logger technology and if BoP is implemented correctly, it is as close as it can get. We have seen it nearly perfectly executed at Daytona 24 earlier this year.

ISSUE 5: BoP - Part B
The other BoP issue for Le Mans this year is the ACO's complete lack of proper execution of BoP. Corvette was the quickest overall at test day with most of the field within 1 second. After test day, the ACO issued a BoP adjustment with massive adjustments without any real reasons why. Corvette was hit the hardest and went from the front of the field to the back of the field.
After the obvious sandbagging was exposed, the ACO issued another BoP adjustment in an attempt to bring everyone closer together. It didn't work.
Just to drive home how bad the BoP was, the winning #68 Ford GT had several issues throughout the race, was issued a post race time penalty, and still won. The #63 Corvette had ZERO issues, just came in for fuel and tires for all 24 hours, and finished 5 laps down to the leader.

ISSUE 6: BoP - Part C
2016 is the 50th anniversary of the iconic Ford vs Ferrari battle. Could this BoP catastrophe have been a complete setup from the start? It's pretty curious how both Ford and Ferrari were by far the quickest cars in the class. So much so that 7 out of the 14 cars (50%) in class were completely uncharacteristically uncompetitive. The fairy-tail script was written before the green flag flew. All Ford had to to was execute.

ISSUE 7: Unsportsmanlike Conduct from Ford
Already having the bad guy reputation, Ford added fuel to the fire when nearing the end of the race a senior member of Ford entered the Risi Competizione garage with a piece of paper, revealed as an official protest over a non-operational leader light on the side of the #82 Ferrari, then running second, behind the leading #68 Ford, and ahead of the #69 and #66 Fords. This was a clear power move by Ford with a greedy desire to sweep the podium. Guiseppe Risi clearly wasn't having it and the protest was filed. The #82 Ferrari never came in for the repairs and was issued a black and orange flag. The Ferrari never complied. Risi then issued a counter protest against the winning Ford for a slow zone infringement earlier in the race. The race stewards imposed time penalties on both cars, post race, but the overall finishing order did not change.

There has never been a more controversial race on so many levels that we have seen since Corvette Racing entered the scene. Corvette Racing was going for back to back Triple Crown victories, and it's 100th team victory. They were never given a chance. This team works too hard for this...

Motorsport Magazine: The problems with Balance of Performance
Automobile: Political Decisions at Le Mans Could Lead to Sports-Car Explosion
DSC: Rob Bell on the GTE Pro BoP
DSC: Five Things To Worry About From The 2016 24hrs of Le Mans

PRESS RELEASE: Garcia, Magnussen, Taylor Complete 24 Hours
PHOTO GALLERY: Team Chevy - 2016 Le Mans 24hr
VIDEO: Corvette Racing Returns To Le Mans 2016

On a happier note, Corvette Racing's #1 fan Charley Robertson made the trip to Le Mans.

"I had the chance of joining the NCM's Museum in Motion Tour to France. This is one trip I strongly recommend to everyone. The NCM will be doing the trip again next year so be on the watch for it."

It looks like she had a blast....maybe we might just have to make the trip ourselves soon.

Photo Galleries:

VIDEO: Race Start
VIDEO: #64 Pit Stop - Day
VIDEO: #64 Pit Stop - Night

Post CommentsView All Comments(45)
Last comment:
Our RV was parked next to Doug Yates at Daytona. The word there was that Ford was sandbagging until Lemans!
--- John from saint Augustine on 07.09.2016 at 9:04AM


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