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06/18 2016

Ford GT, Ferrari 488 GTE slapped with stiff performance penalties for 24 Hours of Le Mans BY:  GARY WATKINS

Ford GT Ferrari slapped with stiff performance penalties at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Dirk Muller put the Ford GT on the pole for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

CHEVROLET’S CORVETTE RACING GIVEN PERFORMANCE BOOST ON EVE OF RACE

The new Ford GT has been hit with two major performance penalties ahead of Saturday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans after qualifying on the pole in LMGTE Pro.

The four Ganassi Racing-run Fords that filled out four of the top five positions will see the minimum weight of the cars raised by 22 pounds, which followed a 55-pound reduction in advance of the event. Also, engine performance has been reduced with changes to maximum turbo boost through the rev range.

The move was part of a series of Balance of Performance changes made on the eve of the race.

No changes were made to the grid. The Ford GT remains on the LMGTE Pro pole for Saturday’s main event.

The Ferrari 488 GTE, which was the only car to challenge the Fords in qualifying, was also given a performance penalty. The three Ferraris — two run by the factory AF Corse team and one by Risi Competizione — have had 33 pounds added to their minimum weight.

The Aston Martins and Chevrolet Corvettes, meanwhile, left trailing in the wake of the class pacesetters have been given performance breaks. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE and Chevrolet Corvette C7.R have each been allowed an engine air-restrictor 0.2-mm larger in diameter.

The BoP of the Porsche 911 RSR is unchanged, apart from an increase in fuel-tank size from 25 to 25.8 gallons.

Ferrari 488 GTE

Ferrari 488 GTE cars qualified third, sixth and seventh in the LMGTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

The Ferrari and Chevrolet have also received an additional half gallon of fuel in a move designed to equalize the stint length of the GTE Pro cars at 14 laps.

The restrictors in the refueling systems that regulate the time it takes for a full tank of fuel to go into the cars have yet to be defined.

Dirk Muller set pole position for the U.S. Ganassi team with a 3:51.185 lap.

The fastest Ferrari, the lead AF car driven by Gianmaria Bruni, was four-tenths behind, while best of the rest, Frederic Makowiecki in the quickest Porsche, was 3.8 seconds off the pace.

Ford had denied allegations that its U.K.-based World Endurance Championship team was sandbagging in the open rounds of the series at Silverstone and Spa in order to receive a performance break for Le Mans.

“People will point the finger, but what they don’t understand is that if you are a new team with a new car, it is going to take you awhile to get into the racing groove,” said Larry Holt, boss of the motorsport arm of the Multimatic organization that has developed both race and road versions of the Ford GT.

He also claimed that Ford and Ferrari were the only teams to chase pole position during first qualifying on Wednesday in expectation of rain on Thursday.

“We knew the potential for rain on Thursday: We strapped on the stickers (fresh tires), put 30 liters of fuel in, bolted in our best drivers and went for it,” he explained.

Each of the manufacturers have yet to comment on the BoP, published at lunchtime at Le Mans today.