Dunlop takes 6th consecutive Le Mans 24h class win
As is typical in endurance racing, the team that encounters the least trouble wins the race and Signatech Alpine took the well deserved LMP2 win this year. Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Stéphane Richelmi took the flag after 357 laps. Thirty lead changes took place between six different teams but the Alpine-Nissan was ahead from before the 12 hour, halfway mark, to the end. The closest rival was the Oreca-Nissan of G Drive Racing (Rusinov/Stevens/Rast) who finished on the same lap, 2 minutes 40 seconds behind. Completing the Dunlop podium lock-out was the Petrov/Shaytar/Ladygin trio in the #37 BR01-Nissan. The Dunlop tyre range is all-new for 2016 and the LMP2 tyres demonstrated the progress, with all teams using the same sets for four stints (keeping the same set of tyres throughout four fuel stops).
The major advance was with several teams successfully using the same sets of tyres for five stints for the first time in the FIA WEC.
The year had a total entry of 60; 27 of whom were racing on Dunlops and a record 19 were classified finishers at the end of the endurance epic. For the first time since 2012, teams had chosen Dunlop in both the LMP1 and GTE classes, in addition to LMP2.
In LMP1, Rebellion Racing’s #13 car of Tuscher/Imperatori/Kraihamer was the highest privateer runner for much of the race, retiring from a strong fifth place with mechanical problems during the night.
The 6 hours of Spa winning number 98 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage was leading the LM GTE Am in the eighth hour when damage caused in a collision dropped the car down the order and later retired with a technical issue. The sister #99 car finished seventh in class. The LM GTE Pro class #95 car set a lap over one second quicker than the 2015 fastest time and finished fifth in class, ahead of the sister #97 car, both taking valuable FIA World Endurance Championship points.
Jean-Felix Bazelin, Operations Director, Dunlop Motorsport: “Le Mans is the ultimate endurance race. It has been a good learning year with our development teams in LMP1 and GTE and another fantastic result in the LMP2 class. Our tyres performed very well, performing consistently for five stints for the first time with all teams proving the durability of our range for at least four stints. ”