2017 24 Hours of Le Mans: LMP2 Analysis

Jackie Chan DC Racing, Oreca 07-Gibson, LMP2, #38, Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent, 24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe France © Craig Robertson

It was nearly the best 24 Hours of Le Mans for the LMP2 field as, after disaster struck all of the LMP1 cars, there was a very real opportunity for one of them to take the 2017 overall victory. Oliver Jarvis was so close to taking his first overall Le Mans victory, which would have been a great achievement the year after Audi Sport dropped out of the LMP1 field.

It had looked like Vaillante Rebellion were going to dominate the LMP2 class, but mechanical issues on both cars saw the Rebellion’s dropping down the field. The #31 suffered more as it was pushed into the garage after Nicolas Prost felt something was wrong with the car. The #13 became Rebellion’s best shot, but suffered a starter issue that meant the starter motor needed manually starting to get the car rolling.

The team finished third overall, after a close fight with the second Jackie-Chan DC Racing car #37. However, they were later stripped of the position when it was discovered that the team had cut a hole in the rear bodywork so they did not have to keep removing the engine cover to restart the car. As this was an illegal alteration to the car #13 lost their podium finish, placing two Jackie Chan cars on the overall podium.

With the largest class grid, it was expected that the LMP2 field would see many cars fail to make it to the chequered flag. Of the eleven non-finishers, four of them came from the LMP2 class. The original expectation that the LMP2 class would see most of the retirees proved to be false.

However, the LMP2 cars that did retire could show that amateur nature of some of the driving in the class fields. The #26 G-Drive Racing went out of the race after crashing into the side of the #88 Risi Competitione Ferrari coming down the Mulsanne Straight in an incident that was entirely Roman Rosinov’s fault.

The pace differentials of the classes were a topic of conversation before the race started, and even more so once the chequered flag. Some of the driving when passing through the traffic on track was unnecessarily risky and concerns had been raised about the similar top speeds between LMP1 and LMP2. However, most of the incidents occurred between LMP cars and GT cars. It will be revealed in the nest round out at the Nurburgring for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring whether or not this had something to do with the greater number of Am drivers in the GT categories or if overtaking traffic needs to be reassessed.

A fantastic drive from the #38 car saw them take second place on the overall podium and first in class. This has promoted the team to third in the overall driver’s championship and first in the LMP2 trophy standings. #31 Vaillante Rebellion sit second in the class after recovering to sixth in class at Le Mans, but the deficit is 38 points to the leading team. #13 sit at the bottom of the LMP2 table after having been disqualified.