Webber fastest for Porsche in opening Le Mans practice

Porsche draws first blood at Le Mans in the pre-qualifying Le Mans practice.

Webber fastest for Porsche in opening Le Mans practice
Porsche Team: Mark Webber
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Frédéric Makowiecki
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Frédéric Makowiecki
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima, Kamui Kobayashi
#23 Nissan Motorsports Nissan GT-R LM NISMO
#47 KCMG ORECA 05: Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre
#35 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2: Jacques Nicolet, Erik Maris, Jean-Marc Merlin
#95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE
#95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE logo / signage

Mark Webber emerged quickest in free practice at Le Mans this evening setting a time of 3m21.362s, which eclipsed the 2014 pole time. The four hour session was punctuated by several rain showers which broke up the leading team critical evaluation of slick rubber over full stints.

Audi trails Porsche

The No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid headed the way, leading the No.8 Audi by just over half a second. Romain Dumas in the No.18 Porsche had initially made it a Porsche 1-2-3 and had also beaten last year's pole-position time but had his quickest time deleted at the end of the session after he cut a chicane while overtaking a Ferrari GTE car. This ensured there next best time was only good enough for third overall.

The No.19 Porsche driven by Nick Tandy placed fourth fastest. The British racer who is making his LMP Le Mans debut took over the car from Kiwi, Earl Bamber who had earlier skidded in to the first Mulsanne Chicane gravel trap. Bamber was towed out under a Slow Zone caution and returned to the pits with a largely undamaged car.

The best Toyota was the defending WEC champion car driven by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. The TS 040 though was just over 3.5 seconds away from the ultimate pace.

The much heralded Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs finished 12th, 13th and 14th overall and behind the leading LMP2 entry of the KCMG team. The No.21 Nissan, in the popular retro 1990 livery, saw Studio Matsuda head his team mates.

KCMG tops LMP2

Richard Bradley set the best LMP2 time for the Hong Kong entered KCMG Oreca-Nissan. The Asian based British driver set a best of 3m39.897s in the electric blue LMP2 coupe despite the car causing the first of two red flags when it stopped with a water pressure problem in the first five minutes of the session.

A last ditch effort from Spa and Nurburgring 24 Hour winner -  Laurens Vanthoor made sure the OAK Racing entered and Honda-powered Ligier JS P2 claimed second place in class ahead of the Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA-Nissan and Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S.

Aston heads GTE classes

Aston Martin Racing easily headed both of the LMGTE classes this evening.

A succession of fast laps from GP2 racer Richie Stanaway saw the Kiwi peak on a 3m55.895s to put the No.99 Aston Martin Vantage over 1.5s clear of the No.64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

Pedro Lamy’s 3m58.783s in the GTE Am Aston was clearly the fastest in the LMGTE Am class tonight. The ex Lotus and Minardi F1 racer was almost three seconds faster than the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Long.

The first qualifying session gets underway at 22.00 local time.

Practice results

 Cla   No.   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps   km/h 
17  Timo Bernhard
Mark Webber
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 3'21.362   39 243.662
Lucas di Grassi
Loïc Duval
Oliver Jarvis
Audi 3'21.950 0.588 47 242.953
18  Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
Porsche 3'22.059 0.697 43 242.822
19  Nico Hülkenberg
Earl Bamber
Nick Tandy
Porsche 3'22.819 1.457 24 241.912
Marcel Fässler
André Lotterer
Benoît Tréluyer
Audi 3'23.051 1.689 49 241.635
Marco Bonanomi
René Rast
Audi 3'23.480 2.118 46 241.126
Anthony Davidson
Sébastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota 3'24.763 3.401 41 239.615
Alexander Wurz
Mike Conway
Toyota 3'25.537 4.175 37 238.713
12  Nicolas Prost
Mathias Beche
Nick Heidfeld
Rebellion/AER 3'28.441 7.079 36 235.387
10  13  A.Imperatori
Daniel Abt
Rebellion/AER 3'33.176 11.814 36 230.159
11  47  Matt Howson
Richard Bradley
Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA/Nissan 3'39.897 18.535 17 223.124
12  21  Tsugio Matsuda
Lucas Ordóñez
Nissan 3'40.332 18.970 19 222.683
13  23  Olivier Pla
Max Chilton
Nissan 3'40.429 19.067 16 222.585
14  22  Harry Tincknell
Michael Krumm
Alex Buncombe
Nissan 3'41.302 19.940 19 221.707
15  34  Chris Cumming
Laurens Vanthoor
Kévin Estre
Ligier/HPD 3'41.311 19.949 34 221.698
16  46  Pierre Thiriet
Tristan Gommendy
Ludovic Badey
ORECA/Nissan 3'41.742 20.380 35 221.267
17  41  Gary Hirsch
Gaëtan Paletou
Jon Lancaster
Gibson/Nissan 3'42.163 20.801 34 220.848
18  26  Roman Rusinov
Julien Canal
Sam Bird
Ligier/Nissan 3'42.641 21.279 24 220.374
19  30  Scott Sharp
Ryan Dalziel
David Hansson
Ligier/HPD 3'43.344 21.982 24 219.680
20  42  Nick Leventis
Danny Watts
Jonny Kane
Dome/Nissan 3'43.948 22.586 25 219.088
21  29  Leo Roussel
David Cheng
Ho-Pin Tung
Morgan/Nissan 3'43.990 22.628 25 219.047
22  37  Mikhail Aleshin
Kirill Ladygin
Anton Ladygin
BR Engineering/Nissan 3'44.482 23.120 27 218.567
23  43  Pierre Ragues
Oliver Webb
Zoel Amberg
Morgan/SARD 3'44.767 23.405 34 218.290
24  28  Gustavo Yacamán
Luis Derani
Ricardo González
Ligier/Nissan 3'44.794 23.432 31 218.263
25  36  N.Panciatici
Paul-Loup Chatin
Alpine/Nissan 3'44.807 23.445 17 218.251
26  27  Maurizio Mediani
Devi Markozov
BR Engineering/Nissan 3'45.233 23.871 28 217.838
27  38  Simon Dolan
Mitchell Evans
Oliver Turvey
Gibson/Nissan 3'45.291 23.929 33 217.782
28  Simon Trummer
Pierre Kaffer
Tiago Monteiro
CLM/AER 3'45.873 24.511 21 217.221
29  45  Pierre Perret
Ivan Bellarosa
José Ibanez
ORECA/Nissan 3'47.893 26.531 28 215.295
30  31  Ed Brown
J.van Overbeek
Jon Fogarty
Ligier/HPD 3'48.150 26.788 25 215.053
31  40  Tracy Krohn
Nic Jönsson
João Barbosa
Ligier/Judd 3'48.840 27.478 34 214.404
32  48  Karun Chandhok
Mark Patterson
ORECA/Nissan 3'49.427 28.065 12 213.856
33  35  Jacques Nicolet
Jean-Marc Merlin
Erik Maris
Ligier/HPD 3'52.979 31.617 26 210.595
34  99  Fernando Rees
Alex MacDowall
Richie Stanaway
Aston Martin 3'55.895 34.533 35 207.992
35  64  Oliver Gavin
Tommy Milner
Jordan Taylor
Chevrolet 3'57.539 36.177 24 206.553
36  97  Darren Turner
Stefan Mücke
Rob Bell
Aston Martin 3'58.448 37.086 28 205.765
37  92  Patrick Pilet
Wolf Henzler
Porsche 3'58.469 37.107 27 205.747
38  63  Jan Magnussen
Antonio García
Ryan Briscoe
Chevrolet 3'58.501 37.139 25 205.719
39  98  Paul Dalla Lana
Pedro Lamy
Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin 3'58.783 37.421 29 205.476
40  71  Davide Rigon
James Calado
Olivier Beretta
Ferrari 3'59.653 38.291 26 204.731
41  91  Richard Lietz
Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 3'59.892 38.530 21 204.527
42  95  Marco Sørensen
Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin 4'00.034 38.672 21 204.406
43  51  Gianmaria Bruni
Toni Vilander
Ferrari 4'00.082 38.720 28 204.365
44  77  Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Long
Marco Seefried
Porsche 4'01.611 40.249 30 203.071
45  88  Christian Ried
K.Al Qubaisi
Klaus Bachler
Porsche 4'02.029 40.667 25 202.721
46  50  Gianluca Roda
Paolo Ruberti
Kristian Poulsen
Chevrolet 4'02.332 40.970 21 202.467
47  83  François Perrodo
Emmanuel Collard
Rui Águas
Ferrari 4'02.637 41.275 26 202.213
48  53  J.Bleekemolen
Ben Keating
Marc Miller
SRT/Dodge 4'03.287 41.925 12 201.672
49  62  Bill Sweedler
Townsend Bell
Jeff Segal
Ferrari 4'03.799 42.437 28 201.249
50  61  Peter Mann
Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 4'03.840 42.478 25 201.215
51  66  A.Al Faisal
Kuba Giermaziak
Michael Avenatti
Ferrari 4'04.367 43.005 25 200.781
52  72  Viktor Shaitar
Andrea Bertolini
Aleksey Basov
Ferrari 4'05.137 43.775 21 200.150
53  55  Duncan Cameron
Matt Griffin
Alex Mortimer
Ferrari 4'05.319 43.957 27 200.002
54  96  Roald Goethe
Stuart Hall
Aston Martin 4'05.550 44.188 26 199.814
55  67  Jun San Chen
Alex Kapadia
Xavier Maassen
Porsche 4'05.787 44.425 29 199.621
56  68  Han Chen Chen
Gilles Vannelet
Mike Parisy
Porsche 4'06.704 45.342 21 198.879
Kristensen: "Le Mans can give you the worst nightmares"

Previous article

Kristensen: "Le Mans can give you the worst nightmares"

Next article

Porsche sets incredible pace in Le Mans qualifying

Porsche sets incredible pace in Le Mans qualifying
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
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