Count down to Le Mans

The world's leading sportscar teams are set to the hit the track this weekend for final preparations for the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hour. The official preliminary practice session will be staged this weekend as a preview to the main event which is run...

The world's leading sportscar teams are set to the hit the track this weekend for final preparations for the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hour.

The official preliminary practice session will be staged this weekend as a preview to the main event which is run on the weekend of June 17-18.

The session provides event organisers, the Automobile Club de L'Ouest, with the chance to slim down the field from the current 56 invited entries, to the 48 teams which will contest qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hour.

Although not officially part of the Le Mans Series, the Le Mans 24 Hour is the jewel in the crown of world sportscar racing and will give Australian motorsport fans a taste of things to come on the streets of Adelaide for the Race of a Thousand Years.

Adelaide will host the final round of the Le Mans Series from December 29-31 this year, culminating in the six hour sportscar event on New Year's Eve.

Favorites for this year's 24 Hour include the Panoz team headed by Australian David Brabham. There are six Panoz machines entered for this year's French classic - the highest of any prototype manufacturer.

Brabham will be joined by regular partner Jan Magnussen and motorsport legend and ex-F1 and Indycar champion, Mario Andretti in the lead car.

"The Le Mans test day is a vital cog in our preparations for the 24 Hour," Brabham said.

"You can do lots of testing on other circuits, but until you try your set-up at Le Mans, it is difficult to judge your progress.

"The test day can also tell you how much work you have to do before the weekend of June 17-18 comes around!"

Audi will enter three of their new machines which dominated proceedings at the opening round of the Le Mans Series at Sebring while Cadillac has four cars entered for 2000.

The American manufacturer will face new opposition from arch-rival Chrysler who will contest the prototype category for the first time.

The Chrysler built Dodge Viper has dominated proceedings in the GTS class in recent years, but the French ORECA team has now entered two Reynard chassis powered by the same engine from the Viper.

Four-time Le Mans winner, Yannick Dalmas, has been signed by Chrysler to join regular Viper drivers Karl Wendlinger and Olivier Beretta aboard the new machine. Chrysler will enter its own chassis in 2001.

"This is the first of a three year project for the Chrysler prototype," confirmed ORECA boss Hughes de Chaunac.

"It is to be treated as a learning one with a view to victory in the following years."

-Paul Ryan-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers David Brabham , Jan Magnussen , Yannick Dalmas , Karl Wendlinger , Mario Andretti , Ryan Paul , Olivier Beretta