Wednesday, June 10, 2009

24 Heures du Mans - Practice Sessions

June 11, 2009 - Thursday Qualifying Sessions

24:00 - It's official - Joerg Bergmeister put the No. 80 Flying Lizard Porsche on the GT2 pole - his (and the Lizard's) first ever pole at Le Mans. Congratulations to Joerg and the team.

23:53 - And of course, how could I forget - Joerg is on the (still provisional) GT2 pole - but there are still a few minutes left, so I'll update the blog in a few minutes with the final results.

23:47 - We are done for the night. We had a problem with the left rear upright which we are working to diagnose. Happily, Darren was able to bring the car back into the pits with no further damage. There are no track sessions tomorrow (Friday) so we'll be back with you on raceday for Saturday's morning warmu, 09:00 CET. We have the drivers' parade tomorrow evening, we'll post photos for you Friday night France time. See you Saturday! Jennifer

23:36 - Darren is back in the pits. They are quickly moving the car into the garage to evaluate the problem. They want to finish out the session so are hopeful that they can identify and fix it quickly.

23:31 - Darren radioed in that there's something wrong with the car. He's not sure what it is but will make his way slowly to the pits.

23:07 - Sounds like Darren just made an off track excursion into some gravel. He says car is fine and the crew notifies him to stay out. It is now very dark and starting to cool down considerably. Joerg's fastest lap of the two sessions still holds. 50 minutes left.

22:45 - Seth is in the pits for tires, fuel and driver change to Darren Law. This will be Darren's first run in the car today. We have just under one and a quarter hours left in qualifying. Joerg's fast lap still holds and the No. 80 holds P1. Times are slowing considerably now due to the dark track.

22:36 - Seth radioed in that the car went off briefly and ran the undertray over the curbing. He continued without incident. He will pit as planned on the next lap for driver change to Darren Law for his first stint of the day.

22:35 - Seth is still out. All is well. Joerg still holds P1.

22:15 - Joerg is back in the pits, driver change to Seth Neiman. It is now fully night... Still P1. A beautiful night here - 64 degrees, very pleasant, not too humid.

22:12 - Joerg heads out for the first lap of the second (and final) qualifying session. He is still P1. He will go out, evaluate the changes, then come back in for driver change to Seth Neiman.

22:00 - Green flag on the second qualifying session. The No. 80 has the provisional pole right now, but of course we have 2 hours to go in qualifying. The car is in the garage right now, and they are continuing their setup changes. We should be ready to head out shortly - Joerg will go out to evaluate the changes then come back in.

21:21 - Joerg is in the pits. There are only a few minutes left in this session, so we will park it until the next session, which starts at 22:00 - 40 minutes from now. Joerg is three one-hundreths of a second faster than the No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche, in P2.

21:18 - Joerg is now P1 with a 4:03.202.

21:08 - Joerg heads out again. The temperatures are starting to drop as night falls. We should see the track times improve with the cooler temps and the track starts to come up to speed.

21:04 pm - Joerg pits for another setup change and tires. The rear of the car is better now with more stability but the front is too "jumpy". Felbermayr Porsche still P1 (4:03:232), BMS Scuderia Ferrari P2. Joerg now p7 (4:07.130). Live timing and scoring is available on the Le Mans website at

21:00 - Joerg heads out again. 25 minutes left in the session.

20:54 - Joerg in the pits. Engineer Stefan Pfeiffer is directing the crew on a setup change.

20:50 - Joerg has moved into P5 and will pit for a setup change. 35 minutes left in the first of the two qualifying sessions.

20:40 - Joerg is out on track again.

20:36 - Joerg pits for a setup change. 50 minutes left in the session. Reminder that we will broadcast our team radio during the race, starting with morning warmup. In the meantime, check out Radio Le Mans - live English language broadcast.

20:34 - Joerg's first feedback is that the car is "lazy", rolling quite a bit and is not very responsive, with a strong oversteer.

20:30 - Seth pits for driver change to Joerg Bergmeister and a splash of fuel, no new tires.

20:22 - One hour left in the session. We are currently 15th in GT2. Joerg will go out next. the No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche is in P1, with Risi Competizione No. 82 in P2.

19:53 - Seth is out again.

19:50 - Seth is in the pits for a quick setup change. He is also reporting that the car is very loose.

19:40 - Seth heads out for his first laps of the day, with fresh tires. Our first photo gallery of the week so far is up on the site now - check it out in the gallery section of our home page

19:38 - Darren is called into the pits for driver change to Seth Neiman.

19:32 CET - Darren gives his first feedback of the session that the car is very loose.

19:25 CET - Green flag on the first of two qualifying practice sessions tonight. Except that we have a stalled car exiting pit lane so there's a bit of a hold up getting out of pit lane. Darren Law is in the No. 80 and will do the first laps this evening. The track is dry. We have been told that the qualifying session will run the full 2 hours until 21:25, with the second session starting as scheduled at 22:00.

19:21 CET - Still on a hold but session should start shortly.

18:54 CET - We will have a 15 minute delay on the qualifying practice start - it will now start at 19:15. Race officials are working on some crash barrier repairs on the track.

18:44 CET - Good evening from Le Mans. The rain has finally stopped - it's a pleasant, almost balmy evening here. Today's two, two-hour qualifying practice sessions run from 19:00 CET to 21:00 CET, then from 22:00 to 24:00 (midnight).
Because yesterday's practice session was so wet, we'll use today's qualifying sessions to complete our setup. Qualifying for Le Mans is slightly different than in the American Le Mans Series. Instead of one short session, we have 2 longer sessions. The fastest time over the two sessions is the qualifying time for the car and establishes the starting position. Yesterday, we completed the mandatory 3 night laps for each driver, and the 10 laps required for Darren Law (since he had not driven here before).

We will broadcast our team radio during the race (starting with warmup on Saturday). Also - English language broadcast is live at Radio le Mans -

June 10, 2009 -- Wednesday Practice Session

23:00 - Seth is safely back in the garage having completed his night laps. We are done for the night. We'll be back on track tomorrow, Thursday for two, two-hour sessions - 19:00-21:00 and 22:00-midnight. - See you then! **** Jennifer

22:42 - Darren pits for driver change to Seth Neiman for his three night laps.

22:22 - Joerg has completed his three night laps and pits for driver change to Darren Law.

22:15 - Joerg is out doing his night laps. 1 hour and 45 minutes left in the session.

21:56 - Darren got the fuel bobble, hit reserve, and pitted. The crew will complete the fuel test, then get ready for the night laps. Joerg will be the first driver out on the night laps.

21:43 - Darren is back on track.

21:40 - Darren is now in the pits. So far all has gone well in the practice - most of it run on a wet track. 20 minute left until dark, and then 2 hours more in the session. All three drivers need to do three laps at night. Once that's complete, I expect we'll come into the garage and call it a night. Tomorrow (Thursday), we have 2, two-hour qualifying sessions. The fastest lap time over those two sessions for each car will determine the starting grid positions.

21:36 - Race officials notified us that we are missing a number on one side of the car so we need to pit to fix that.

21:13 - Joerg pits for a driver change to Darren Law. Still on full wets and it's still raining. Just under 3 hours left in the session. It will be dark in about 45 minutes.

21:08 - After a spring change, Joerg heads out again. It is still raining.

20:58 - Joerg is in pit lane for a setup change on the wet setup.

20:39 - It's raining hard now - Joerg is in the car and he will go out on full wets (full rain tires) to do some work on our rain setup. It is not yet night, so these laps will not count towards his 3 night lap requirement.

19:54 - Seth's radio is very difficult to understand. The crew calls him into the pits. The track is now wet throughout and it is beginning to rain on pit lane. There's little for us to learn on a wet track, so we will park the No. 80 until it either dries out or night falls and the drivers can do their night laps.

19:52 - We heard Seth on the radio, but couldn't understand him.

19:48 - Seth heads out for his first lap of the session.

19:38 - The No. 39 made contact with the tire wall and will need to be towed off course. Yellow flag. The tire wall will need to be repaired so this yellow may last a bit.

This is Darren’s first time at Le Mans. He may be a Le Mans rookie, but he’s no stranger to endurance racing – earlier this year, he won the Daytona 24. He’s driven with the Lizards since 2004. After his first spin on the track, he said, “It’s an amazing opportunity to be here – an amazing track, I’m very happy to be here. I would love more than anything to take two 24 hour wins home this year.”

Darren came to Le Mans directly from the Six Hours of Watkins Glen. “I was a bit tired after Watkins but I'm feeling good now.” He commented on the track, “This is by far the longest track I’ve driven. I was just amazed at how long the straightaways are. The corners come up pretty quick: the slower corners to me are fairly standard, it’s the fast stuff that’s pretty tricky. There are several fast corners that will take a bit to get up to speed- Tetre Rouge, Indianapolis, the Porsche curves. It was a tough intiatition today to have my first laps in the wet, but luckily I got a few dry ones. I’ve still got a lot of work to do in learning the track - I’m ready to look at some data and get back out there. I’m very appreciative that Flying Lizard gave me this opportunity.”

19:33 - The rain has started. 4.5 hours to go. The No. 80 is still in its pit stall as the crew finishes their brake adjustment. Seth Neiman will be next out on the track.

19:18 - Darren is back in the pits. He has completed his 10 laps which qualify him to drive in the race. The crew will do some brake adjustment in the pits, then Seth will go out for his first laps of the session. All three drivers (Joerg Bergmeister, Seth Neiman and Darren Law) all need to do three laps in the dark - which begins around 22:00 CET (10 pm local time).

19:10 - The crew decides to send Darren out on slicks again to do one more lap. The No. 15 is in the gravel trap.

19:06 - Darren reports heavy rain. He says he is slowing down. he needs one more lap to complete his 10 laps. He will pit for tire change to rain tires, the go out for his final lap. Yellow flag, but I don't know what the reason is - looks like the yellow was a notification of rain.

19:04 - Darren reports sprinkles on the track. He's out on slicks so if it begins to rain heavily he will need to pit for rain tires. He still has to complete his 10 laps (and his 3 night laps).

18:53 - Darren is still out - he was, briefly, in P1, and is now P2. There are 17 cars in GT2. Of those, 10 are Ferrari 430s and five are Porsche 911 GT3 RSRS.

18:39 - The rotor changes is complete and Darren is back out again, now on slicks. The track is dry.

18:28 - Darren is back in the pits and the crew is pulling him into the garage for a brake rotor change. Darren reports that there is no grip - probably related to the rain tires, but he's not sure yet. The sun is out now and the track is dry... but... it looks like heavy rain shortly. Today is an open practice session - the first time on track for the teams. The customary test day --normally held the first week of June -- was cancelled this year. Qualifying will be tomorrow (Thursday).

18:12 - Joerg is back in after 1 install lap and Darren Law is now in the car. No rain yet, but it looks imminent. Track is about 1/2 dry.

18:06 - Joerg heads out in the No. 80. He is on rain tires: the track is still wet, but for now it is not raining. There's a strong wind, so the track may dry out quickly.

18:00 CET - Green flag. Joerg is in the car in pit lane. They will wait for a few minutes to allow the first cars out to make at least one complete lap before we head out.

17:55 CET - Just five minutes before the session starts. The practice session is being broadcast live on EuroSport2 in Europe. There is also live English language radio coverage at We'll broadcast our team radio on raceday, starting with morning warmup.

17:15 CET -- Good afternoon from Le Mans. It's been a cold, wet week so far here in Le Mans as we get ready for the race on Saturday. With several straight days of rain, the weather is finally supposed to clear up - hopefully in time for a dry practice session tonight. Our first practice session of the week begins at 18:00 pm CET - 45 minutes from now.

We'll start the session with Joerg Bergmeister - he'll do some install laps to do a shakedown on the No. 80 Porsche. Once he's satisfied that everything is installed correctly, he'll start doing some setup work if it is dry. If the track is still wet, we may wait out some of 6 hour session, with the hopes that it will dry out. Rain is predicted through 20:00 CET tonight. The session ends at midnight.

Darren will be second in the car - he needs to do 10 full laps during the session since he has not yet driven the track. All three drivers need to do three laps during the night - which begins about 20:00. So if we are lucky, the track will be dry by then and the rain will have stopped. Once Darren has done his 10 laps, we'll either wait until dark for the 3 laps per driver (if it's wet) or continue our setup work if it's dry.


Dave Morris in OC said...

Good stuff, hope the weather clears -- go Lizards!

oneighturbo said...

Hey Jenn. Good luck to all of you from Atlanta. REDEMPTION TIME!

Karl said...

AWSOME!!! Congrats!!!!!!!

Good Luck for the Race!

VroomGrr. said...

Soooooooooo excited to see Joerg take off from pole position at the start! Way to go!!!! Best of luck tomorrow!

nickengvall said...

Loving the updates! Keep up the great work!