Friday, June 12, 2009

24 Heures du Mans - Raceday!

Saturday June 13-Sunday June 14, 2009 - Race!

*** I'm sorry to report that the Flying Lizard No. 80 has been retired following an accident at approximately 5:25 CET on Sunday morning. The No. 80 Porsche had been fourth in GT2 at the time of the accident. Following a driver change from Seth Neiman to Darren Law, on Darren’s outlap, he had an incident in the brake zone at the first Chicane which ended with a heavy impact into the tires. We don’t know the cause at this point. The No. 80 is out of the race, although we have not been able to reach the car to evaluate the damage. Darren is being checked over by track medical, but he appears to be fine.

Thank you to all of our fans for your support of our fifth 24 Heures du Mans program. We’ll see you next month back in the U.S. at Lime Rock Park. ***

5:35 am - We have been notified that Darren is fine, he will return to the garage. Sadly, this appears to be the end of our fifth Le Mans. I am disconnecting the radio for now. I'll give you more detail as soon as I have it.

5:33 - Unfortunately, it appears that the No. 80 has been involved in an incident and has sustained significant damage. I will update you as I know more.

05:25 - We have lost radio contact with Darren. We have a problem. I'll report when I know more.

05:20 - Seth pits, driver change to Darren Law, quick fuel + tires. he's out again, course still yellow. Still P4. Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 97; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 80; P5 No. 76. The No. 80 2 laps back from the No. 82, which leads.

05:17 - Darren is back and quickly getting into his gear. Seth will pit for driver change to Darren. Seth is in P4. Safety car still out.

05:08 - Pit lane is filling up with cars taking advantage of the caution for fuel - the No. 82, 97, 92, 76 and 78 GT2 cars have all pitted. Because of the length of the circuit and the gap between the cars, they should all retain their positions. Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 97; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 80; P4 No. 76. We would like to take advantage of the caution to do a driver change, but we aren't sure if Darren will get here in time from his driver cabin. Just under 10 hours left in the race.

05:04 - Another caution - don't know the reason, although Seth has radioed in that there is a lot of debris on the track.

04:46 - Green flag after a nearly 45 minute caution. GT2 top 5 positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 97; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 80; P4 No. 76. Seth Neiman in the car, 2.5 laps down on the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari.

04:43 - Seth pits for fuel, and a replacement headlight cover. Course still under caution. Track should go green this lap.

04:37 - Safety car still out. Lizard Chief Strategist Thomas Blam notified Seth in the No. 80 that he may come in next lap for a splash of fuel.

04:32 - Safety car still out from the earlier incident with the No. 17. GT2 positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 97; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 80; P4 No. 76. Seth Neiman is in the car.

04:21 - Radio Le Mans has reported that the driver of the No. 17 Peugeot has been transported to the medical center. For more information on the incident check the Le Mans website at

04:12 - Just completing his double stint, Joerg pits for tires, fuel and driver change to Seth Neiman and brake pad change. Safety car is still out. Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 92; P3 No. 97; P4 No. 76; P5 No. 80.

04:04 - Very serious accident on the track - I believe it is one of the Pescarolo Sport cars. Safety car is out. TV has reported it is the No. 17.

03:12 - Joerg is the second fastest GT2 car on the track right now. The No. 82, still in P1, is the fastest. Lead GT2 positions remain unchanged, No. 80 in P4.

02:55 - The 83 Modena car and the No. 12 car are both off track in the gravel.

02:44 - Darren is in pit lane - driver change to Joerg Bergmeister, tires, and fuel.
Darren, having driven for a 2 hour and 15 minute stint, struggled a bit in pit lane to find our pits, which are near the end of pit lane. It's very difficult at night to differentiate the pits. He's safely in and Joerg is in the car.

02:28 - Darren will pit in about 15 minutes for driver change to Joerg Bergmeister. Just over 2 hours until daylight and, once the sun comes up, some intense heat and humidity.

02:03 - The No. 76, in third, just pitted. The top five GT2 cars are now fairly spread out - 2 laps separate the No. 82 in the lead and Darren in the No. 80 in P5. Because the circuit is so long, with that type of a gap, the cars can maintain their position even after a pit stop. So.. not a lot of change in the order of the lead GT2 cars at the moment. 11 hours down, 13 to go.

** Reminder that we are broadcasting our team radio. To listen click on the "follow the race" tab on the home page **

01:44 - Darren is in the pits, just behind the No. 97, which pitted just ahead of him. The No. 82 also pitted in the last few minutes - still in the lead.

01:36 - Darren will be pitting shortly for fuel and a new drink bottle - not sure about tires yet. He will stay in the car. GT2 positions: P1 No. 82 Risi Ferrari; P2 No. 92 JMW Ferrari; P3 No. 97 BMS Scuderia Ferrari; P4 No. 76 IMSA Matmut; P5 No. 80. Darren is 2 laps down on the No. 82.

01:18 - So far, only two retirements in GT2 - both the Felbermayr Porsches, No. 77 and No. 70.

01:04 CET - GT2 lead positions remain unchanged. P1 No. 82; P2 No. 92; P3 No. 76; P4 no. 97; P5 No. 80. 10 hours gone, 14 left to go. Darren, in the No. 80 is 2 laps down on the No. 82.

00:51 - All appears ok - we were very lucky on that one!

00:48 - The No. 82, which was in the lead, also pitted.

00:45 - Darren pitted, four tires, fuel. No immediately apparent suspension damage, so they are sending him back out again. By the time Darren got into the pits, the tire was gone on the left front, only the wheel was left, from damage when he was hit.

00:40 - Darren radios in that he was hit by a Ferrari and has damage, he is coming in. He was in fifth at the time.

00:22 - Your blogger is taking a quick break. Back with you in a bit. No. 80 P5 with Darren at the wheel.

00:15 - Starting to rain on pit lane. Joerg pits for driver change to Darren Law, tires and fuel. P1 No. 82; P2 No. 92; P3 No. 76. We were in P4 at the time of the pit stop. Now we are P5.

00:12 - Joerg moves to P4. The No. 97 moves to P5. A reminder that we are broadcasting our team radio - to listen, click on the "Follow the Race" tab on the home page -

00:07 - Just past midnight. Nine hours down, 15 to go. GT2 positions remain unchanged.

23:47 - Joerg just did a 4:04.936. Positions: P1 No. 82 Risi; P2 No. 92 JMW Ferrari; P3 No. 76 IMSA Matmut; P4 No. 97 BMS Scuderia Ferrari; P5 No. 80; P6 No. 83 Krohn Racing Ferrari.

23:43 - The No. 92 was in the pits - it was in 2nd at the time. they had a longer than planned pit stop. The No. 82, in the GT2 lead, is also in the pits or tires, fuel, but I don't think a driver change. The No. 97 BMS Scuderia Ferrari, in fourth, has also pitted for tires and fuel and driver change.

23:38 - Joerg is chattering away on the radio that the car is very fast in the corners. He is doing consistently fast laps - the fastest of the GT2 field right now.

23:30 -On fresh tires, Joerg just clocked a 4:05.780. Six seconds faster than the No. 82's last lap (in the lead) and 2 to 3 seconds faster than the other GT2 cars in the lead group. Positions remain relatively unchanged: P1 No. 82 Risi Ferrari; P2 No. 92 JMW Ferrari; P3 No. 76 IMSA Matmut Porsche; P4 No. 97 BMS Scuderia Ferrari; P5 No. 80 Flying Lizard porsche; P6 No. 83 Risi Krohn Racing Ferrari. Joerg is 2 laps down from the No. 82.

The entry list and timing and scoring are available at

23:21 - Joerg pits for fuel, tires but no driver change -he will double stint. He came in and out in fifth position.

23:16 - Joerg radioed in that the fuel light just went on. He will pit shortly.

23:13 - TV showed the No.76 in a big spin and off course excursion into the gravel. The car was in third. It's now in the pits.

23:09 - Joerg is running the fastest pace in GT2 right now. He is in 5th, 24 seconds back from the No. 97 in fourth. No. 82 Risi Competizione continues in the lead, with the No. 92 in second, the No. 76 in third. Joerg will pit in a few minutes for fuel and fresh tires - the plan is for him to double stint. Just passed the 8-hour mark. 16 left to go.

22:59 - The No. 76 IMSA Matmut Porsche, now in second, is in the pits.

22:52 - Car stopped on track. Could be the No. 70 Felbermayr Porsche. Yes, confirmed it's the No. 70, whose teammate, the No. 77 was out of the race early due to an apparent reserve fuel pump problem.

22:50 - All is well so far. GT2 positions remain relatively unchanged. P1 No. 82; P2 No. 76; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 97; P 5 No. 80; P6 No. 83. The No. 1 Audi is now in the garage - not clear why. Joerg is approximately 24 seconds back from the next closest GT2 car - the No. 97.

22:35 - The weather so far in the race has been very calm, but very warm. The humidity continues to rise and thunderstorms are now forecast for midnight and 3 am.

22:25 - Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 92; P3 No. 76; P4 No. 97; P5 No. 80; P6 No. 85.

22:21 - Darren is in the pits for driver change to Joerg Bergmeister. No tires, fuel only plus ice for the cool box. He was in fifth at the time of the stop.

22:07 - Team manager Eric Ingraham asks Darren if he can triple stint. Darren says he can keep going but the team makes the call to put Joerg in the car. Darren will pit in 15 minutes or so.

21:59 - The No. 72 Corvette is in the tire wall, substantial damage to the car.

21:56 - Darren now P5. Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 76; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 97; P5 No. 80; P6 No. 89.

21:52 - The No. 82 pitted for driver change - Jamie Melo now in the car after Mika Salo's triple stint. They are still in the GT2 lead. Salo confirmed on the radio that they plan to double stint their tires through the entire race, and that they triple stinted them for his last stint, but that was "too much."

21:46 - Unfortunately a major incident has taken the No. 2 Audi out of the running. Darren is still in P6. He is well into his double stint. All OK. Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 78; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 76; P 5 No. 97; P 6 No. 80. It is almost dark now and starting to cool down.

21:21 - Darren reports the fuel light is on. He will pit this lap for fuel and tires but no driver change. He is in sixth at the time of pit. Top GT2 positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 78; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 76; P5 No. 97; P6 No. 80.

21:11 - Darren still P6. He will pit in about 15 minutes. We will do tires, but no driver change.

20:53 - Positions: P1 No. 82; P2 No. 78; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 76; P5 No. 97; P 6 No. 80.
The No. 80 is 2 laps down on the No. 82

20:27 - Seth pitted, driver change to Darren Law. The crew did tires and fuel but did not make any other repairs. Seth was in sixth at the time of pit. I'll report positions in a few minutes.

20:19 - Seth radios in that he had an incident - not sure yet what happened - he has flat spotted the tires and is coming in slowly. Driver is fine. He will pit and the crew will evaluate the car in the pits. If there is mechanical damage or critical aero damage, they will bring it into the garage.

20:15 - The No. 76 is back out after a repair. I don't have details on the problem yet. The pit stop was long enough that the No. 82 was able to gain an entire lap and retake the lead. The No. 92 has moved to P2 and the No. 78 to P3. The No. 76 is in P4and the No. 80 is P5.

20:10 - The No. 76 just pitted and has gone into the garage. This will give the No. 82, which was in P2, a chance to take the lead. The No. 80 in fifth.

20:08- The No. 76 has again set the fastest GT2 race lap 4:04.188.

20:00 - We've reached the 5 hour mark. 19 left to go. Of the starting 17 GT2 cars, there has been one retirement so far - the No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche. Seth Neiman is still in the car,now in P5, 2 laps down on the leader. GT2 positions: P1 No. 76; P2 No. 82; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 78; P5 No. 80.

19:53 - The No. 80 still 4th. No change in lead GT2 positions. I received a question of where the Patrick Dempsey No. 81 Advanced Engineering Ferrari was running - I believe they are in 15th in GT2, still running. Timing and scoring is here (it is intermittent so it may not be 100% correct):

19:39 - In the No. 80, Seth is pitting, for fuel only. He is in P4 at the time of the pits. They are also replacing a drink bottle. It is nearing dusk now and temperatures are starting to drop. Positions: P1 No. 76; P2 No. 82; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 80; P5 No. 78. The No. 80 is one lap down on the No. 76. Still yellow. I believe the No. 89 is still in the pits.

19:38 - Significant incident on track involving multiple cars. The No. 26 was collected by the No. 009 (a third car was involved, but am not sure which one), sent the No. 26 into the wall and significantly damaging the car. Amazingly, considering how hard the hit was, the No. 26 is driving back to the pits under its own power, driver appears fine. Safety car is out.

19:34 - The No. 82, which is in P2, just received a stop and go penalty for "not respecting track limits". Seth in the No. 80 is P4. p1 is No. 76; P2 is No 82; P3 is No. 92. We can see on the TV that the Hankook Ferrari, which was in P5, has a problem on track and is returning slowly back to the pits.

19:24 - The No. 76 is still running extremely fast - 2 seconds faster than the No. 82 Risi Ferrari. The No. 80 now P4. Positions: P1 No. 76; P2 No. 82; P3 No. 92; P4 No. 80.

19:17 - The No. 76 IMSA Matmut Porsche just did the fastest time so far in GT2 - 4:05.024.

19:07 - Seth P3. No. 82 has moved to P2. No. 76 P1.

19:07 - Seth in P2. No. 76, which also pitted and driver change to Narac, has moved into P1. The No. 82 Risi Ferarri is P3 and is currently the fastest car on track.

18:52 - Joerg has pitted for driver change to Seth, tires and fuel. This will be Seth's first stint. At the time of the pit stop, Joerg was in P1, the No. 82 in P2 and the No. 76 in P3.

18:34 - Joerg is pushing hard and has rebuilt a small gap to the No. 76 - now 4 seconds.

18:28 - Joerg still P1. As he ends his second stint, he is starting to slow as his double stinted tires near the end. Patrick Pilet in the No. 76 is right on his bumper. Joerg will pit shortly for driver change to Seth Neiman, but it should be after the No. 76 also pits. Joerg radios in that Patrick is faster on the straights.

18:17 - The No. 75 Porsche is stopped on course but is off the circuit and not a factor.

18:01 - Joerg retained the lead after the last pit stop, he is still P1. No. 76 IMSA Matmut is P2 and No. 82 is P3. No. 89 is P4. We are double stinting our tires, and so is the No. 76 (I believe). The two cars are running at a similar pace. The No. 89 Ferrari has fallen off a bit and is running 2 seconds a lap slower than the two porsches. The No. 82 Risi Ferrari is P4. Three hours into the race.

17:51 - Joerg in the pits. Fuel only - no driver change. I'll report positions in a few minutes. At the time of the pit stop, he was in P1, the No. 76 in P2 and the No. 82 in P3. Joerg had built a gap of 9 seconds ahead of the No. 76, and 40 seconds ahead of the No. 82.

17:47 - Chief strategist Thomas Blam called Joerg into the pits for fuel. Joerg will stay in the car and double stint.

Just spoke with Darren who is resting in the garage until his next stint, "My first stint went fairly well - the car felt good and I was running a good pace. It took me a bit to get settled in - that was the first run I've had here in daylight. I feel like I'm now over the nerves of my first ever run at Le Mans and ready to go." Joerg still P1.

That's Darren on the left talking with Chief Engineer Craig Watkins.

17:34 - Joerg has overtaken the No. 76 and is now in P1.

17:27 - Joerg now right on the bumper of the No.76.

17:23 - The gap now 2.5 seconds.

17:19 - Joerg in P2 now 4 seconds behind the No. 76 which is in the lead, 33 seconds ahead of the No. 82 Risi Ferrari in P3.

17:07 CET - Joerg now P2. The No. 89, which had been leading briefly, did not change tires on the last pit stop, and appeared to have a rear tire problem, which sent them back into the pits. The No. 76 is P1, No. 80 P2. Joerg is running 4 seconds a lap faster than the No. 76. He is eight seconds behind the No. 76. At this pace, he will catch Patrick Pilet in 2 laps.

17:00 CET - Lots of action on the track at the moment - multiple single car incidents. Joerg, in the No.80, in P3. Positions: P1 No. 89 Farnbacher Ferrari has moved into P1; P2 No. 76 now with Patrick Pilet behind the wheel; P3 No. 80, with Joerg Bergmeister; P4 No. 82 Risi Ferrari, now with Pierre Kaffer at the wheel. The No. 76 and the No. 89 did not change tires on their last pit stops, and Joerg is now doing 4 seconds a lap faster - a very significant difference. Joerg is the fastest in GT2 right now.

16:54 CET - looks like we beat the No. 82 Risi Ferrari, which had also pitted, out of the pits. I'll report positions as soon as they refresh. No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche is sitting at pit in and is being pushed by marshals - stopped at the side of the road - looks like this is it for the No. 77. Very disappointing considering their driver lineup, all three drivers have driven with the Lizards in the past: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, and Wolf Henzler. On the radio, we heard Marc Lieb say that they ran out of fuel after their reserve fuel pump failed.

16:52 CET - Just under 2 hours into the race. Darren is in the pits for tires, fuel, and driver change back to Joerg Bergmeister for his second stint of the race.

16:30 CET - Just spoke with Joerg a bit about his first stint. He had started from the pole. "At the start, it seemed like we were a bit down on the top speed - the No. 82, No. 76 and No. 77 just drove by me on the straights. We have a new engine in for the race, and it had run only the morning warmup, so maybe it just needed some more time to get up to speed. Other than that, the stint was great - on fast corners we have a really good balance. Once I got settled in, I just tried to stay out of trouble and let the guys in front of me sort it out." Darren Law is now in the car, now in P5. No. 76 still P1; No. 99 P2; No. 82 P3; No. 89 P4; No. 80 P5.

Left: Joerg and Engineer Stefan Pfeiffer

16:23 CET - Darren radioed in that he had a small excursion off track but that all is fine.

16:16 CET - The No. 82 Risi Ferrari, which is still on its starting driver, and I believe its starting tires, is starting to slow. Jaime Melo in the No. 82 is now P3. Darren is seven seconds behind Jaime in P4. the No. 76 is P1 and the No. 99 JMB Racing Ferrari is P2.

16:11 CET - Timing and scoring shows Darren now in P4 - the No. 99 has moved into P3.
No. 76 Porsche still P1, No. 82 Risi Ferrari P2.

16:06 CET - Darren radios in that a car is stopped in the middle of Indianapolis.

16:04 CET - We are green flag racing again, positions now: P1 No. 76 IMSA Matmut; P2 No. 82 Risi Ferrari; P3 No. 80 Flying Lizard Porsche.

15:54 CET - Darren Law behind the wheel. Safety car is still out. The No. 77 Felbermayr had a problem and may still be in the pits.
15:48 - Darren Law is out for his first stint. I'll report positions in a few minutes. The No. 77 Porsche, which had been in fourth, had a problem and is back in the pits. Safety car still out.

15:46 - Joerg is in the pits. Engineer Stefan Pfeiffer notifies the crew to look inside the cockpit to see if there is something on the floorboard. Fuel first, tires, then driver change to Darren Law. Clean pit stop and Darren is out quickly. Still safety car period.

15:44 - Chief Strategist Thomas Blam notifies Joerg that he will most likely pit under this yellow for tires, driver, change and fuel top up.

15:41 - Patrick Long has taken the lead in the No. 76 Porsche, passing both Marc Lieb in the No. 77 and Jaime Melo in the No. 82. Meanwhile the No. 7 Peugeot, attempting to move around the course with a flat tire, which has now come apart and is shedding tire rubber and bodywork across the course. The safety car is out - full course caution.

15:39 - Another collision in pit lane between two Peugeots. The No. 7, which was hit after pulling out in front of another Peugeot, sustained damage and is moving very slowly around the tack.

15:35 - Joerg has closed the gap to the No. 76, in third place, to just over 1 second.

15:29 - Joerg is the fastest on the track right now, he is P4 - just 2 seconds behind the No. 76 IMSA Matmut Porsche, in third (with Joerg's ALMS teammate, Patrick Long, behind the wheel.) All four are nose to tail with prototypes continuing to thread among them - Jaime Melo in the Risi Ferrari is in the lead with three Porsche factory drivers (Marc Lieb in the No. 77, Patrick in the No. 76 and Joerg in the No.80) right behind him.

15:24 - Joerg in P4. The. No. 77 Porsche is P2; No. 76 Porsche is P3; and No. 82 Risi Ferrari is P1.

15:12 - The No. 3 Audi was pulled out of the gravel and has returned to pit lane. Peugeots are now 1 through 3, with the No. 1 Audi P1. Joerg is P1, three seconds behind the GT2 leader, the No. 77. All seems to be OK with the No.80 - nothing more from Joerg about any issues.

15:09 - Joerg now P4. Positions: P1 No. 77 Porsche; P2 No. 82; P3 No. 99; P4 No. 80. The No. 3 Audi is in the tire wall.

15:03 - The No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari and the No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche are now first and second in GT2. Joerg now P3 in the No. 80. Joerg now P5. We may have a problem - the crew is getting ready for a possible pit stop. It sounds like something to do with the driver's seat.

15:01 - Peugeots are now running overall P1 and P2 (Numbers 8 and 7). No. 1 Audi (which started second overall) is now P3.

15:00 CET - Green Flag! 24 hours to go. Joerg starts on the pole in GT2.

14:52 CET - Cars are rolling for the formation lap.

14:37 CET - Pit exit is closed. Joerg is on the grid in the No. 80. Race start is 15:00 CET.

*** Listen to team radio from the home page - - click on the "Follow the Race Tab." Also listen to live 24 hour coverage, live 24 hour Eurosport2 coverage, and in the U.S. SpeedTV select coverage.

14:28 CET - we are seeing a few cars come into the pits but all OK so far with the Flying Lizard No. 80 Porsche. Joerg is in the car for the start and has returned to the grid after one recon lap. AT Le Mans, the cars may continue on the course during the recon lap period (15 minute) and may pit for any repairs/adjustments, or rejoin the grid - the pit exit closes at 2:37 and 10 minutes later (when the 5 minute board is shown), all cars must be on the grid and no more work may be done on cars on the grid.

14:15 CET - Good afternoon from Le Mans. It's a gorgeous day here - sunny and warm. The 55 cars are now on the grid and Joerg Bergmeister, who is on the pole, is in the car ready for the recon lap. So far so good...
We are broadcasting our team radio live throughout the race - to listen, click the "Follow the Race" tab on the lizard home page. Joerg will do one recon lap - if everything is fine, he will return to the grid for the race start. If there is a problem, he will return to the pits.

** A reminder that you can reach me during the race at **
Saturday June 13, 2009 - Morning Warmup

*** We'll be back with you in a few hours at 14:30h CET just before race start - see you then - Jennifer ***

9:18 am - Darren is back in the pits. That's it for us this morning. checkered flag on the session.

9:14 am - Darren is out -just in time - to do one lap before the end of the session.
He radios in that he got the bobble entering Tertre Rouge, and switched to reserve.
He will pit this lap, and that will be it for the morning warmup.

9:10 am -Five minutes left - the crew is hustling to do the fuel pump out so that we can get Darren out for one lap.

9:05 am - Seth Neiman has radioed in that he got the fuel bobble and has switched to reserve. He will pit this lap. They first need to pump out fuel in the garage, then do a driver change to Darren Law for his first run in the car this morning.

9:00 - The No. 2 Audi and the No. 81 Ferrari very nearly made contact on track. Bot cars spun but damage appears to be minimal. Also two cars have made contact in the pit lane with some damage - the 007 and a the No. 25.

8:50 - Joerg is back in the pits, all is OK, and Seth is heading out for his first lap.

8:44 am - Joerg will do another lap to see if the brake issue is resolved.

8:36 am CET - Joerg is back in the pits, he has let us know that there's something wrong with the brakes. The crew is now looking at it. They will also do a planned shock change.

8:30 am CET - We are ready to go. Joerg will do an out and an in lap, then assuming all is well, they will do a driver change to Seth Neiman. He'll then hand it over to Darren Law, who will run out the session.

8:15 am CET - Good morning from Le Mans. It's finally here - raceday! After a cold, wet week leading up to the race, raceday will be sunny and hot. It's very pleasant right now in the garages - still cool and calm. The Lizard crew is suiting up for morning warmup, which starts at 8:15. The No. 80 has just started up behind me in the garage and I see Joerg's helmet on the car as he is getting ready to go out first. We have our race engine and transmission in and Joerg will do a quick shakedown first to make sure all is well, bed the rear brakes, etc.. We have had very limited setup time this week because of the rain on Wednesday and the shortened session on Thursday so we need to make the most of the 45 minute warmup this morning to finish our setup.

We are broadcasting our team radio today during morning warmup and the race. To listen, go to the "Follow the Race" tab on our home page.

You can reach me during the race at

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.