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Thursday, June 13, 2024

NASCAR Le Mans qualifying tempo exceeded expectations

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The Hendrick Motorsports machine was nearly 4 seconds quicker than the quickest GTE Am entry in Wednesday’s opening qualifying session, regardless of the staff’s modest pre-event public predictions of being someplace in the course of the GTE Am pack.

PLUS: How NASCAR is aiming to thrill on its Le Mans return

As a substitute, 2010 Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller posted a 3m47.976s lap that was solely 8.5s slower than the lowest-ranked of the LMP2s.

“I believe we have progressed rather a lot and right here we’re qualifying 4 seconds faster than all of the GTE automobiles – I believe it is a phenomenal effort by the entire staff,” stated Button.

“We got here right here considering we would be within the combine and, when the GTE automobiles get the newbie drivers within the automotive, we would be able to be as fast as them – if not faster – however we did not count on to qualify 4 seconds in entrance of the quickest GTE automotive.

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“All the pieces has been spot on, all of the homework that is been accomplished by this staff has been phenomenal and I might put it up there with probably the greatest groups I’ve raced with on this planet.”

#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jenson Button

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Rockenfeller stated quick lap occasions had been simulated earlier than arriving at Le Mans, however he nonetheless feels the qualifying efficiency was higher than anticipated.

“Once we began with the Cup automotive we felt there’s a lot potential after which we tweaked it and acquired quicker and quicker at Le Mans on the sim, however you by no means know till you hit the true monitor,” he stated.

“To be right here now, having qualifying accomplished quicker than we anticipated on the sim, everyone might be so proud – up to now we’ve overachieved.”

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Nevertheless, Button has cautioned that ending forward of the GTE Am runners will doubtless be harder within the race.

He defined that a number of components, together with doable rain showers predicted for this weekend’s occasion, are prone to contribute to a better contest.

“We’ll have to vary brakes through the race, which takes us 5 minutes – for the opposite guys it is one minute – in order that’s over a lap,” added Button.

“The aim must be to beat the GTs. To start with to complete, after which to complete in entrance of the GTs. And, if we will try this, it is an incredible achievement.”

The 2009 F1 champion, whose solely earlier Le Mans outing got here in 2018 with SMP Racing with a BR Engineering BR1, additionally said how a lot he was having fun with driving the NASCAR machine.

“I really like the sound, I really like the look, I really like the problem – and it is a actual problem, to take a Cup automotive base and to construct it into one thing as fast as Hendrick Motorsport have is basically spectacular,” he stated.



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