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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Van der Zande fears rivals "built cars to suit Le Mans only”

Cadillac driver Renger van der Zande has admitted to worries that the American brand’s Le Mans 24 Hours rivals have built cars only with this week’s race in mind.

#3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Sebastien Bourdais, Renger Van Der Zande, Scott Dixon

Van der Zande, who shares the #3 Chip Ganassi Racing-run Cadillac V-Series.R with Sebastien Bourdais and Scott Dixon, was speaking prior to Wednesday’s first qualifying session in which the Ferrari and Toyota Le Mans Hypercars set the pace.

However, the Dutch driver singled out the speed of the Porsche 963, which like the Caddy is built to LMDh rules.

Asked how he perceived the speed of the LMHs, van der Zande told Motorsport.com: “The worry I have is that people build their car to suit Le Mans only. 

“If you look at the Porsche, their top speed seems to be very good and ours is not very good. 

“I really hope that nobody pulls something out of the hat while we are here at Le Mans. I think we’ve played very fair and I hope the others do as well.”

Ferrari took a 1-2 in the session that decides the eight cars that progress to Thursday’s Hyperpole session, with Bourdais setting the best time for Cadillac just over seven tenths off the pace to go seventh-quickest.

Earl Bamber made it two Cadillacs in the top eight at the wheel of the sister #2 machine.

On the lap that put the #3 Cadillac through to Hyperpole, Bourdais commented: "I think it was a pretty solid lap, even though we got to the bottom of the tank and there were quite a few laps on the tires. 

“At the end of the day, it was enough to get in the Hyperpole and that’s what we wanted. The car feels really good in most places; we need to make some gains in the slow-speed stuff.”

 

Cadillac was one of four Hypercar manufacturers to be hit with a minimum weight increase in last week’s Balance of Performance change, with the V-Series.R being handed an additional 11kg for Le Mans.

The Toyota GR010 HYBRID and Ferrari 499P were handed increases of 37kg and 24kg respectively, while the Porsche 963 has had its minimum weight upped by 3kg.

Asked for his thoughts on the changes, van der Zande said: “It seems very on the safe side. If you look at the Le Mans Hypercars, they had a big advantage at the beginning of the season.

“But I am very surprised about the changes they made to LMDh, because I always understood it was platform-based, but they are also changing the BoP within LMDh. 

“I was very shocked to see that. I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I hope people don’t start sandbagging. I just want a fair fight, race each other hard and see who is best.”

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