Melbourne driver Alex Davison will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut from second in the LM GT2 class tomorrow, following qualifying at the famous French circuit overnight. Davison will become the 31st Australian to tackle the sportscar ...
Melbourne driver Alex Davison will make his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut from second in the LM GT2 class tomorrow, following qualifying at the famous French circuit overnight.
Davison will become the 31st Australian to tackle the sportscar classic when its 75th running kicks off at 11pm (AEST) tomorrow, Saturday, night.
After a frustrating run in Wednesday's first day of qualifying, Team Felbermayr-Proton's #77 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR was second-fastest of the 12-car LM GT2 field on Thursday and will start the race from 45th on the outright grid.
Wolf Henzler, who will share the car with Davison and team-owner Horst Felbermayr Sr, became the first-ever LM GT2 driver to set a sub four-minute laptime on the circuit during the daylight running.
While the time, 3:59.072, was eclipsed shortly afterwards by the #76 Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche, it remained good enough for second.
Reverting from qualifying tyres to race tyres, Davison hopped in the car early in Qualifying Two, and set a blistering pace in the slower night session.
Often the fastest LM GT2 car on track by up-to three seconds a lap, Davison's fastest time was under a second shy of Henzler's lap and good enough in its own right for third in class.
"I didn't get to do much running on Wednesday with red flags and the way our sessions worked out, so it was good to get out there and do some laps in the dry," Davison said.
"With medium tyres I was as quick as Wolf on my best lap until I came up to a yellow flag late in the lap, which cost me seven or eight tenths of a second.
"We were the fastest GT2 car out there all night so I'm pleased with how the session went."
Qualifying gave Davison his first taste of the 13.629km Le Mans layout at night, a task made more challenging by three faster classes of cars regularly - and often rapidly - closing in from behind to pass the LM GT2 competitors.
"On Wednesday night I felt a little bit out at sea, but tonight was good and I was really comfortable," he said.
"It's incredibly dark, almost like driving down a freeway at night where you're watching the white line on the middle of the road.
"Then you have the faster cars coming up behind you to pass, their headlights are so bright it literally blinds you momentarily."
Davison's attention now turns to the weekend's race, which kicks off at 3pm local time on Saturday (11:00pm AEST) after a 45-minute morning warm-up session.
"The car is good and we're had great support from Porsche," the 27-year-old said.
"Our pace is really consistent between day and night running, the car is easy to drive and it looks after its tyres well over a stint, which is what you need in a 24 Hour race.
"We'll start the race with single stints for each driver, then do a lot of double and even triple stints throughout the night so each driver gets a good rest.
"Everything has come together well, so we're looking forward to Saturday."