Sunday, June 14, 2015

Footnotes On LeMans 2015

The Nissan GTP "GT-R" was 20 seconds off the pace.  Holy slow, Batman!  That was a surprise and a disappointment.  And a lot of time for the engineers to find, especially with a "clean sheet" radical configuration.  But I hope they'll be back.

Jackie Oliver's lap record of 3:18.x in a Porsche 917LH in 1971, on the older, much faster, course, was finally beaten by both Porsche and Audi with 3:17.x's.  That's a 154 m.p.h. lap.  The LMP1 cars were routinely reaching over 200 m.p.h. between the chicanes on the Mulsanne.

It was more sentimental for me than I expected for Porsche to bag its first overall win since 1998 and Corvette its first class win since 2011.  I was almost as tired of their wins over the decades as I was of Audi's recently.  But it was great to see them back on form.

Colin Braun, the journeyman American road racer, is 26.  He was in the announce booth, rideless, schmoozing the Fox staff.  He said he never drove an H-pattern stick shift until he did a specialty "ladder series" formula.  His parents drove automatics and the karts and single seaters he first drove on his way up had sequential gearboxes.  I'm Old School: I like a conventional box for road driving.  But Colin makes me feel like a fossil.

Speaking of Fox, the Fox Go live-streaming of LeMans was superb.  No commercials!  Just blessed silence when the Fox TV networks were on commercial break.  Fox's shifting the race around between Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 (which I don't get) and Fox Go was annoying.  But it was great to see the ACO provide full camera coverage in the night hours.

Jamie Howe was the broadcast find of the weekend.  I'm accustomed to her doing gratuitous driver interviews and and pro-forma pit reports on this side of the pond.  For LeMans, she was all over race control and team radios, right down through the entire field.  She salted her color commentary with pertinent facts.  There wasn't a hint of cliche or condescencion in her on-air talk.  Let Howe anchor the booth broadcast crew!

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