Audi and Corvette are accustomed to being in front at Le Mans. Only this year they will be taking on the unfamiliar role of underdog. Audi hit reliability issues while Corvette got caught out by the Balance of Performance (BoP). Both Audi and Corvette lead their respective classes at the Le Mans Test Day. The FIA and ACO use the test day to gauge performance and BoP it accordingly. In the case of the Corvette in the GTE Pro class, they got it wrong. While Audi’s lackluster results was more a product of unreliability.
Porsche and its 919 Hybrid took the top 2 spots in LMP1. Toyota took positions 2 and 4, while Audi could only manage 5th and 6th on the grid. Slowest of the factory LMP1 Cars. Audi, who have dominated Le Mans for a decade and a half, hit uncharacteristic reliability woes. They needed to replace the MGU on the No. 8 car after striking a curb, while the No. 7 car suffered a small leak in a fuel connector. Both cars joined qualifying late due to these delays.
On the flip side Ford showed its muscle The 68 captured pole narrowly beating out the sister 69. In addition, the 67 and 66 qualified 4th and 5th. Ford’s American rivals and defending class champions Corvette struggled nearly 4.5 seconds back. The Turbocharged Fords and Ferraris showed significant pace over the NA cars from Porsche, Aston Martin and the aforementioned Corvette. The ACO has hinted at a BoP rethink after qualifying. When asked if there could be changes in the BoP ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.com “If we consider it’s necessary, we can do it. Whether we will do it, I don’t know, the technical people will tell me.” I personally don’t like the idea of changing the BoP from race to race like this. But it is just the nature of the beast nowadays.