Corvette Racing has added a bit of American muscle to proceedings during hour 19 of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans as they were the standout highlight of the hour, fighting with the #51 AF Corse Ferrari.
The hour started under yellow as the #55 AF Corse Ferrari in GTE Am with Alex Mortimer at the wheel stopped just before Arnage requiring a decent sized slow zone to clear up the car.
As the track went back to fully green, the #64 and the #51 both jumped into the pits for more fuel and the race was well and truly on. Both the Corvette and the Ferrari were released at the same time and ran side-by-side down pit road, it was only the Ferrari being more hesitant as the pit lane narrowed to a single lane that saw the Corvette leave first.
On track, Oliver Gavin took no prisoners to extend his lead out to almost 10 seconds as hour 19 ended with the Team Manthey Porsche unable to match the leaders’ blistering pace.
In the leading LMP1 class, Porsche continued to extend their lead as Nick Tandy in the #19 kept the 919 ahead of the #17 of Timo Bernhard by a significant margin with the #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro lying in third place and unable to make a move on the Porsche.
LMP2 saw a number of incidents for both the front runners, and cars slightly further back.
He was spinning all over the place, with Arnage, Mulsanne Corner, and the chicanes on the Mulsanne all enjoying a visit by the American – even if they were rather unexpected. Mainly because they were all of their own accord.
However, incidents also hit the erstwhile class leader KCMG as Richard Bradley pulled over at Arnage seemingly bereft of all power with an agonising three minute wait before the Oreca 05 managed to get going again.
Sadly, one car didn’t make the end of the hour as the Strakka-Dome stopped on the start/finish straight as a lot of fluid leaked out the car and caused the British team to retire the car.
Such was the extent of his lead, the #26 G-Drive Ligier and the Jota Sport Gibson 015S didn’t have a sniff of moving up a position and remained in second and third in class.
Finally, GTE Am and the class seemed to remain static for much of hour 19 with the #98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana ruling the roost over the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari and the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Bill Sweedler.
Top 3 positions in each class after Hour 19 of the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans
- #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Hulkenberg/Bamber/Tandy
- #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Bernhard/Webber/Hartley
- #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro – Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Rast
- #47 KCMG Oreca 05 – Howson/Lapierre/Bradley
- #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 –Bird/Rusinov/Canal
- #38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S – Nissan – Dolan/Evans/Turvey
LM GTE Pro
- #64 Corvette Racing – Milner/Gavin/Taylor
- #51 AF Corse – Vilander/Bruni/Fisichella
- #91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR – Lietz/Christensen/Bergmeister
LM GTE Am
- #98 Aston Martin Racing V8 – Dalla Lana/Lauda/Lamy
- #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia – Shaytar/Bertolini/Basov
- #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia – Sweedler/Bell/Segal
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