Bamber hits out at “horrible” GTE Pro stint rules

Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber has hit out at what he feels is a “bloody horrible” restriction on stint lengths in this year’s GTE Pro race.

Bamber hits out at “horrible” GTE Pro stint rules
#93 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber, Dirk Werner
#93 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber
Earl Bamber, Porsche GT Team
#93 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber
#69 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon
#69 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon
#69 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon
#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler
#93 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber
#93 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber

Cars in both the GTE Pro and GTE Am classes have been capped at 14-lap stints for the 2018 edition of the French classic, with the Pro cars permitted to do no more than 11-lap stints at the start of the race. 

Bamber has joined Porsche’s four-car GTE Pro attack this year after taking outright victory at Le Mans last year for the Weissach marque’s now-defunct LMP1 operation.

The New Zealander says he believes the new fuel stint rule is artificial and removes a critical element of strategy.

“It's bloody horrible,” said Bamber. “This is not really competition. It seems like they just want all 17 cars to cross the finish line at the same time.

“I think we need a BoP for manufacturers with different types of car but at the same time we also need some racing stuff, some fuel-saving possibilities.”

Scott Dixon, who is part of Ford’s GTE Pro squad, concurred with fellow countryman Bamber’s assessment.

“It’s a race, you shouldn’t be tied or backed into one corner,” the Ganassi IndyCar driver told Motorsport.com. “I think that’s artificial racing.

“You should be able to mix up strategy, where one stint you can do 13 laps or maybe on one 15 laps. I don’t think it’s something that should be governed.”

Dixon’s Ford squadmate Richard Westbrook added: “Personally, I think it’s a shame they want everyone to do 14 laps.

“It kills a bit of the strategy and that’s what sportscar racing is about. No-one needs to save fuel, they can just go for it.”

Corvette driver Oliver Gavin was more positive about the new rule, saying it will make the GTE Pro race easier to follow for the fans.

“You can look at it both ways,” he told Motorsport.com. “For the fans it’s more straightforward.

“It’s one thing that certain manufacturers can’t utilise in their strategy. But it doesn’t eliminate all strategy, whether it’s through your tyre strategy, or your pitstops, or your brake changes.

“The way you go about running your race, it’s not going to be affected hugely by that limit. It does level out the playing field a little bit.”

Bamber also expressed regret that teams and drivers can now change tyres at the same time as refuelling in the pits, placing less importance on the speed of tyre changes.

“I think it’s a shame that we do fuel and tyres together because that makes it a bit more boring,” he said. “Now you can do the pitstop walking.

“Last year the pitstops made a difference from a crew point of view. This year it doesn’t actually make a difference. It’s a bit sad in my opinion. It will change the complexity of the race.”

Additional reporting by Tom Errington

 

shares
comments
LMP2s "very difficult" to pass for LMP1 privateers

Previous article

LMP2s "very difficult" to pass for LMP1 privateers

Next article

Taylor: Ligier “has good shot” at LMP2 honours

Taylor: Ligier “has good shot” at LMP2 honours
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021