What is an LMP2 car
Does Flörsch even have a chance to win?
During the test drives in Spa, the new hypercars were slower than the fastest LMP2. So does Sophia Flörsch even have a chance to win?
The hype about the hypercars has fizzled out during the test drives of the Sports Car World Championship (WEC) in Spa in the past two days. The new top class was actually slower than the LMP2 category! The times are definitely indicative: In Spa, the season opener also increases on the weekend.
Formula E championship leader Nyck de Vries set the fastest time in an Aurus-Gibson LMP2 from the Russian G-Drive team. He was about half a second faster than Sébastien Buemi, who set the fastest hypercar lap in the Toyota GR010 Hybrid. But it was only enough for fourth place in the overall standings. So three LMP2 were faster.
Toyota is correspondingly disappointed: "Maybe we have an advantage in the racing trim, but we didn't expect that," admits Toyota team boss Rob Leupen.
LMP2 neutered, hypercars with more horsepower
The LMP2 prototypes were slowed down properly in 2021: The 4.2-liter V8 vacuum cleaner from Gibson only produce 536 instead of 600 hp as in the previous year. The car must also weigh 950 kilograms - 20 kilograms more than in 2020.
Toyota, on the other hand, is allowed to turn up the 3.5-liter V6 turbo hybrid. In Spa even 700 HP are allowed instead of 670 HP, which will be the upper limit at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Toyota Technical Director Pascal Vasselon knows: "The simulations quickly showed that the distance to the LMP2 cars on the WEC tracks will be more critical than at Le Mans."
Because the hypercars are clearly faster on the straights: in Spa the Toyotas achieved top speeds of 308 km / h, the LMP2 only 301 km / h. The Le Mans circuit consists of many long straights. The hypercars lose time, especially in tight corners - which is also due to their weight (1040 kilograms).
Toyota with problems
Many experts would therefore not rule out a surprise at the weekend that would mean that an LMP2 wins instead of a hypercar. In the LMP2 class, at least one amateur driver has to be behind the wheel, while the hypercars are exclusively manned by professionals. But: Toyota's new hypercar suffered from numerous teething troubles during the test drives. The Japanese complained about problems, especially in the electronics and hydraulics sectors. “Statistically speaking, you have more and more defects with a new car,” Vasselon calculates.
READ MORE: This is Toyota's new hypercar
In addition, only three hypercars are registered for the 6-hour race in Spa. The Alpine-Gibson is not even a hypercar, but a trimmed LMP1 that was castrated to 600 hp and 930 kilograms. Glickenhaus is still missing in Spa with his two vehicles.
The LMP2 class, on the other hand, has a large number of eleven cars. As many as 25 LMP2 are registered in Le Mans.
Sophia Flörsch not yet happy
Sophia Flörsch starts together with Beitske Visser and Tatiana Calderón in the LMP2 class. Does the 20-year-old from Munich even have a chance to win? In the four test sessions, the trio of women only finished 12th, 13th, 15th and 18th. "We're not happy yet, but we're pushing on," explains Flörsch.
The LMP2 class is very busy. With Jan Magnussen (who will form a team with his son Kevin Magnussen at Le Mans), Juan-Pablo Montoya, Giedo van der Garde, Anthony Davidson and Stoffel Vandoorne, five former Formula 1 drivers are represented in the LMP2 field.
Unfortunately, the race on Saturday from 1.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. cannot be seen on German free TV. Eurosport 2 and Eurosport Player show at least excerpts.
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