Panoz Motor Sports is set to depart the USA today for the Le Mans 24 Hour Pre-qualifying day on Sunday, May 5. The race itself is scheduled for June 15-16. Lap of Le Mans: Magnussen roars off. Photo by Richard Sloop. "You are in...
Panoz Motor Sports is set to depart the USA today for the Le Mans 24 Hour Pre-qualifying day on Sunday, May 5. The race itself is scheduled for June 15-16.
Lap of Le Mans:
"You are in fifth gear when you head past the pits on a lap of Le Mans, hitting 175 mph before you hit turn one. You change down to second at the chicane at the Dunlop bridge.
This is quite tricky under braking and pretty slippery as the race progresses because a lot of people pull gravel onto the circuit.
After the bridge the track is all new for 2002. Previously you had a straight run down to esses before Tertre Rouge, but now the road will move to the left and then back to the right.
You will still eventually arrive at Tertre Rouge at about the same speed and this corner is vital because it leads onto the straight - it is really important to get this bit right.
Down the straight you arrive at the first chicane which is taken in either 2nd or 3rd gear, depending on the traffic.
There is good traction in the middle of the corner and you can get on the power early. The next chicane is the opposite to the first one. The first is slow in, then fast out, the second is fast in and then slow on the exit.
The right hander at the end of the Mulsanne is quite bumpy and the track changes a lot during the race.
The tracks picks up grip during the race, then starts to go the other way as the marbles start to build up.
This is taken in third gear and exits into a really fast section of the track. I really enjoy this part of the course - it is very fast - up to 210 mph. The corner before Indianapolis is a lot of fun, then it is very hard on the brakes for the left hander.
There is a bit of banking on the road, but the rear end can still get very loose here. There is a short squirt up to Arnage which is taken in 2nd gear. It is a real struggle to put the power down here.
The is a short run up to the Porshe curves which is very fast and requires a good balance in the car. There is a lot of time to be gained or lost here and it really is one of my favorite sets of corners.
You then arrive at the Ford Chicanes which is part of the slowest parts of the track. If you catch traffic through here, it can cost you an enormous amount of time, because there is nowhere to get through.
Then it is hard on the power, back onto the pit straight and ready for another 8.4 miles of French countryside."
- JAN MAGNUSSEN
Courtesy Panoz Motor Sports