Corvette Racing Manager: Le Mans 2018 ‘Not A Very Good Race’ Due To Safety Car Deployment4
Corvette Racing Program Manager Doug Fehan is one of numerous people involved in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race who is less-than-thrilled with how safety cars impacted competition in the production-based GTE-Pro class. This year’s class winner – the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR – enjoyed a comfortable lead for most of the race that went essentially unchallenged, largely due to how unfortunate safety car timing separated the car from the other GTE-Pro frontrunners.
At about Hour 4 of the 24-hour Le Mans race, a safety car “divided one car from the pack of GT cars, with a two-and-a-half-minute gap that sat there for the entire race,” Fehan told Sportscar365. “Why did it sit there for the entire race? Because of safety car and Slow Zone areas. There’s no way to get it back. If you keep it in your group, you can race internally in your group, and you saw some of that at the back.”
Because the Circuit de la Sarthe is so long, organizers now use three safety cars instead of just one, but that’s demonstrated a tendency to cause certain cars to be clustered together based on happenstance. The No. 92 Porsche pitted quickly after the start of the first safety car period, while a majority of the GTE-Pro field pitted a lap later, and were then stuck in the pits until the next safety car pack crossed.
Doug Fehan suggested that race organizers should find a way to keep groups of cars battling with each other for position “clustered” despite Le Mans’ trio of safety cars. “We had [one safety car] in the past, but the circuit’s so long that they worry about how long it takes [to catch up]. I’m not sure that you can’t use three safety cars and still use individual wave-byes.
“I don’t have a solution,” he said. “I have just identified it as a challenge. That’s what caused this not to be a very good race.”
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1st: According to the above, the gap between the leading piggy rose Porsche 911 RST and the rest of the GTE racers, was caused by unfortunate decisions of the others about entering the Pit lane.
2nd: The gap was between the #92 Porsche and the 2nd place #91 Porsche.
3rd: That the two Ford GT (those finishing 3rd and 4th in class) could not make up to the #91 Porsche (2nd place) is not due to the extra gap cause by the difference in pitting. They just had not the speed. One might attribute this to the “Balance of power”, but not to the safety car. The #68 Ford was 26.729 seconds behind the #91 Porsche and the #67 Ford one minute behind the other Ford GT. Those three finished all with the same number of laps: 343.
4th: the #63 Corvette was one more lap behind the two Fords and the #91 Porsche. This was not caused by the safety car or the unfortunate decisions to enter the pit lane, but lack of speed. This might be attributed to a unjust BoP, but not to other decisions by the race organizer.
the organizers adjust the BoP to who they want to win that year like the year they wanted ford GT to win on the 50th anniversary.
What’a MESS! Is this really “racing”??? We need to go back to weight and engine displacement determining a Class, and then just safety regulations. That’s it, then let the best cars in each Class win. But ever changing BoP levels is just guess work. And now safety cars? This “committee” approach to racing stinks!
For the GTE cars, I’d love to see a 25 lap sprint with safety regulations on the cars and no BoP interference! How else can we tell which manufacturer makes the best and fastest sports racing car?
“weight and engine displacement determining a Class” means that each and every of those production related cars are in a class by itself.
This would be a copy of the “Porsche Cup”, a new “Corvette Cup”, a “Ford GT” cup etc etc.
And would be boring.