Le Mans Round Up
This year's Le Mans 24-Hours saw the team continue the 100% finishing record of the their Aston Martin DBR9, the car completing it third round the clock race at the French circuit. For those into statistics, we have gathered together some of the facts and figures from the race - plus news stories including a Team Modena exclusive in the UK's leading weekly motorsport magazine.
Team Feature in Autosport
As part of its extensive Le Mans coverage, this week's Autosport magazine has a feature on Team Modena, their International Editor Jamie O'Leary joining the team's pit crew for the first six hours of the race. The two-page spread on page 52 of the magazine gives an insight into the key role of the pit-crew during the race - and of Jamie's time as the extinguisher man during our fuel stops.
"The first race pit stop was exhilarating," said Jamie. "Having been part of the crew for qualifying I thought I knew how it was going to work, but it was all much more frantic - you had to do everything so much faster than in qualifying, and I was just trying not to mess up. A wonderful experience, my respect for the mechanics has grown hugely."
The Le Mans Stats and Figures
An analysis of some of the mass of statistics and data that comes out of the Le Mans 24-Hours reveals both good and bad news for Team Modena. The good news was that the recorded a top-ten finish in the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge. Ninth in the final rankings of the 55 entries, the MEEC is calculated on a ratio of the car's average speed and its average fuel consumption, and is open to every car in the race.
The bad news was the pit stop data issued by organisers the ACO which shows the team's Aston Martin was stationary for 2h21m19s early in the morning as the gearbox was rebuilt, effectively blunting any hopes of a strong result for the team. In all, the car spent 3h09m04s in the pits with a total of 33 pit stops, the vast majority normal fuel, tyre and driver changes.
The team completed 174-laps in the first 12-hours of the race, and while doubling that total gives a false result as the second half of the was wet and featured much slower laps times, comparisons with rivals show that the car could have been in the thick of the class action.
Average speed for the DBR9 was 121.99mph for the first 12-hours, and 106.38mph for the race overall - highlighting the effect of the long pit stop and the rain that came in from around 4am local time. The drivers completed a total of 2561 miles of racing, approximately the straight-line distance from London to Baghdad in the 24-hours.
British GT Drivers Visit the Team at Le Mans
Amongst the many pit visitors to the team during the race were two of our British GT Drivers, Piers Johnson and Guy Harrington. While Piers has competed in the race before, for 21-year-old Guy it was his first ever visit to Le Mans, and he spent much of the race observing the action from the pit garage.
"Whenever you come to Le Mans it is a special event," said Piers. "I've been four times now, once as a driver, and each time you find some new aspect of it."
"It's good to get a taste of Le Mans this year," said Guy, "I've come down with friends just to enjoy it. There is just no comparison between this and the British GT events, it's great to be here supporting the team, they are making a great effort. It would be fantastic to be here one day as a driver."
New Recruit Makes Le Mans Debut
Increasing the international flavour of the Team Modena, Argentinean Claudio Bernard was a welcome addition to the pit crew for Le Mans, joining the team from Bell Motorsport in the US on his first visit to the 24-Hours.
"It is my first time in Europe," said Claudio, "and I never imagined Le Mans was like this, it is the biggest race I have ever been to, much bigger than the Daytona 24-Hours or Sebring. I have really enjoyed working with the team, and even though you get very tired - you wake up when the car comes in."
For the race the team managed to have four different nationalities on the four-man wheel crew working on the car - a Briton, an Australian, a New Zealander and a Peruvian - with German Team Manager Hans Muelhbauer controlling each of the 33 pit stops.
Team Modena photo competition winner for the best qualifying picture was James Levett, and he was the team's guest of honour on the grid before the race. The 27-year-old from Colchester posed with the team's Aston Martin DBR9 and was joined by the Hawaiian Tropic girls for a unique photo-shoot. Proudly wearing his team shirt, James was escorted round the garage and race car, met drivers Jos Menten and Christian Fittipaldi, and then was on the grid for the pre-race ceremonies.
"It's amazing to be here," said James on the grid, "I don't really know what to say, it's like a dream come true and I must be the luckiest guy on the whole planet to have been next to the Hawaiian Tropic girls. I am a big Team Modena fan now!"
The prize was judged by eminent sportscar photographer John Brooks, who complimented James on the composition of his wining picture. The best race picture was taken by James Smith - who amazingly was still at Le Mans when told of his win on Wednesday (18th June). James will be a passenger in one of the Team Modena Lamborghini Gallardos at a test session later this tear.
Next Event for Team Modena: British GT, Thruxton, June