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2018 24 Hours of Le Mans Analysis: LMP2 – Of Chassis and Fuel Rigs

2 Mins read
The #26 G-Drive Racing may have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the track, but an illegal fuel rig part saw them stripped of the victory, promoting #36 Signatech Alpine to the top step.
Credit: FIA World Championship

It is never great to see anyone stripped of a race victory after the chequered flag, but it is even worse when a team have battled through 24 hours of racing to have it all count to nothing. The fuel rig infringement for G-Drive Racing saw the #36 Signatech Alpine team take glory in LMP2 at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. But could it be that the illegal fuel rig was the reason to G-Drive’s lengthy lead? 

The illegal part that was fitted to the G-Drive fuelling rig, consequently getting both of the team’s cars disqualified, is predicted to have gifted them six to eight seconds per pit stop. With the two lap lead that the #26 G-Drive had built up, their much shorter pit stops could have lead to their dominant lead. 

G-Drive team were able to refuel the cars faster, meaning that so long as the team was able to change tyres and drivers in a shorter space of time (things that, this year, are allowed to happen simultaneously to refuelling) the team would be stationary for a much shorter time than their competitors. 

#47 Cetilar Villrba Corse on the Mulsanne Straight

Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

What had been hoped to be one of the more interesting classes in terms of racing fell quickly into a discussion of dominance. Even removing the 26 G-Drive the LMP2 class was still split, with those cars running the ORECA-07 chassis having an instant advantage. This is why most of the full season 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship entries run the ORECA chassis. The best placed non-ORECA at the end of the 24 Hours was the #32 United Autosports Ligier, promoted to third in class after the #26’s disqualification. The Dallara-running Racing Team Nederland could do no better than seventh in class, not showing any signs throughout the race of being able to battle at the front.

With G-Drive having a dominant victory at both Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May, it could be assumed that they had the same fuel rig set up at Spa. The FIA are not investigating this at the time of publishing. 

As G-Drive are not a full season entry for the WEC, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top at the next race. Signatech Alpine seem to be the favourites, but with the apparent dominant force of Roman Rusinov’s team no longer on the grid, LMP2 could be about to get a big shake up. 

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The Checkered Flag’s correspondent for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Working in motorsport as a hobby and as a professional, Alice is a freelance digital communications manager, video editor and graphic designer at OrbitSphere. She also runs and manages her own YouTube channel - Circuit The World - with videos on gaming, travel, motorsports and reviews.
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