The 20-minute stop-and-hold charge that will be taken by 6 P2 groups in opening free practise for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours event of the World Endurance Championship has been questioned by United Autosports group principal Richard Dean and WRT inventor Vincent Vosse.
Vector Sport, AF Corse, TF Sport/Racing Team Turkey, TDS Racing/Tower Motorsports, Duqueine Racing, and Nielsen Racing, together with a third team management who wanted not to be identified, contended that the punishment should have been considerably harsher.
All six teams were given permission to use the sensing units on their ORECA-Gibson 07s during the whole Test Day, which “provides a sporting benefit to the rival,” as stated in the stewards’ documents supporting the accusations.
Dean and Vosse claim that the benefit of using the front and rear sensing devices, which map the flight height of the automobile throughout a lap, outweighs the penalty for using them that was imposed by the stewards.
The information they gathered “is enormously important and will be of enormous advantage throughout the remainder of the week—it’s big,” Dean told Motorsport.com. To put them on wait for only 20 minutes during their free practise time is a feeble accusation.
According to Vosse, “it’s a huge gain with regards to the information you gather.” is one of Dean’s quotes that he found most compelling.
Perhaps we wouldn’t have used stop-and-hold lasers for only 20 minutes if we had known the charge was coming.
Three of the six teams Motorsport.com contacted blamed an oversight or a misunderstanding of the policies for the presence of the two ride-height lasers on their ORECAs, while also downplaying the benefits.
Gary Holland, the head of the Vector team, admitted, “It was an error on our part, as we had been testing with the car in Aragon to get in some high-speed running, and for some reason the sensing devices weren’t taken from the vehicle.
Picture by: Eric Le Galliot
We humbly admit that this was our mistake.
Because everyone uses load cells on the push rods and damper potentiometers and, of course, everyone has a vast deal of historical data, we don’t regard it as a significant benefit at all.
“The 20 minutes we are going to lose in FP1 is a serious charge,” the team said. “That’s not even counting the track time we lost when we were informed to take the sensing units off under guidance throughout the Test Day.”
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Xavier Combet, manager of TDS, explained that the mix-up occurred because lasers are allowed in the IMSA SportsCar Championship, in which he is competing with two Porsche 911 GT2 RSs this year. TDS has partnered with Canadian entrant Tower for the Le Mans race.
Tom Ferrier, TF’s boss, has criticised his team for a “misconception of the guidelines” in how they’ve used the sensors.
“We do not believe it is much of a gain and we ‘d definitely choose to have those 20 minutes of track time in practise,” he added.
Groups can use the sensors, which are not included in the vehicles’ homologation, for internal testing.
When Dean revealed that United had conducted testing with the sensing devices on an airfield in order to simulate the high-speed performance at Le Mans, he demonstrated the value of the information they can provide.