Saturday
Dec052009

A Look Back at the 2009 Le Mans Series

[Summary courtesy of Planetlemans.com] [PHOTO GALLERY - Regis Lefebure] With the prize-giving ceremony at Le Mans this weekend the 2009 Le Mans Series season has officially come to an end. What happened this year in the different classes and how were the titles won? Time to take a brief look back at the 2009 season, before fully focusing on a new season with lots of interesting changes.

LMP1 – Aston Martin Racing takes it all!

Despite losing Audi and Peugeot the Le Mans Series got a major player back in 2009…Aston Martin Racing. The British manufacturer entered two Lola Aston Martins in the first three of the season, before running a third car in the final rounds.

Ultimately, the LMP1 championship would be decided at Silverstone. The #007 Lola Aston stayed out of trouble and as a result Charouz, Enge and Mücke took third in the race, behind Team Oreca Matmut AIM and Speedy Racing Team Sebah. This was enough to clinch the Le Mans Series title.

LMP2 – Quifel ASM Team: a well-deserved Champion

2009 started with new cars for Quifel ASM Team and Racing Box. Racing Box had its problems in 2008 with the Lucchini and returned to the series with two brand new Lola B08/80s.

In the end, and before the first laps had been completed at the final round on the Silverstone circuit the championship was decided. Racing Box announced it would not enter its cars in the UK and this meant none of the teams was able to catch the Portuguese team Quifel ASM Team. Olivier Pla took pole position for Quifel, but in the race the Zytek was retired within one hour.

LMGT1: Luc Alphand Aventures wins “the championship”

2009 was another poor year for GT1 in the Le Mans Series. Starting with four cars in Spain, the remaining races of the season had either three or just two GT1 cars competing.

At the Nürburgring it was Larbre Competition taking the win and the Alphand Corvette finishing second, 30 laps down. However, with no other teams competing, this ‘result’ meant that Luc Alphand Aventures had clinched the LMGT1 title.

LMGT2: Team Felbermayr Proton wins after a great GT2 season

2009 saw the birth of JMW Motorsport, a new team with familiar faces. Gianmaria Bruni and Rob Bell in the same Ferrari F430 GT2 that won the class title in 2007 and 2008. Opposition would have to come from the Team Felbermayr Proton Porsches and Team Modena, joining GT2 after several years in GT1.

In the final race of the season, JMW Motorsport knew they had to win in their home race at Silverstone. But when the #77 took pole position things started to get very hard for Bruni and Bell. Both teams had poor starts, but while the JMW car got its act together and got back to the front, the Porsche hit more trouble and lost more ground.

As the race went on the GT2 leaders hit trouble again, but JMW Motorsport still managed to keep the lead of the race, essential for its chances to win the title. As the checkered flag came out the Ferrari was still leading, with the Spyker in second place again. Despite the bad luck for Lieb and Lietz throughout the race the #77 Porsche crossed the line in seventh place, enough to clinch the LM GT2 title by a single point!

2010?

As we look back at yet another great season of Le Mans Series racing we’re wondering what next season will bring. New circuits, new race formats, new teams and even a new category. While it remains to be seen what will happen with GT1 the rumors and announcements regarding LMP1, LMP2 and GT2 sound promising. Let’s hope that even though the quantity of the field might be less in 2010 the quality will be at the same level, perhaps even better…

« What Makes David Run? SCi Five Questions With "Brabs" | Main | Holiday Stocking Stuffers »