Le Mans 24 Hours: #79 ProSpeed Porsche in doubt for race
|By Gary Watkins||Friday, June 13th 2014, 17:20 GMT|
The participation of the #79 ProSpeed Porsche in this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours is in doubt in the wake of a shunt in first qualifying yesterday.
The Belgian ProSpeed team has applied to the stewards for permission to run the GTE Am class 911 GT3-RSR after a rebuild around a new chassis has been completed.
It has also asked for dispensation for Frenchman Sebastien Crubile to drive the car alongside Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil.
Their original team-mate, Bret Curtis, has been ruled out of the race after sustaining a concussion in the shunt at Dunlop Corner in the first qualifying session on Thursday.
Team boss Rudi Penders told AUTOSPORT: "We have asked for permission but we are still waiting.
"The arguments in our favour are that Sebastien is on the list of approved drivers [after contesting last year's race], that he can drive the car in the warm-up tomorrow and that he drives the car regularly this year [in the European Le Mans Series]."
The new chassis is run by Crubile's own team in the ELMS but is owned by Francois Perrodo, who is racing the sister ProSpeed Porsche this weekend.
One team of ProSpeed mechanics went to the Crubile workshops to the south of Paris to strip down the ELMS car, while another stripped down the crashed car.
The Porsche is in the process of being rebuilt and is expected to be ready in time for tomorrow morning's pre-race warm-up at 9am.
It is unclear what would happen should the stewards give dispensation for the chassis change but not for a new driver to join the team.
Rules for the GTE Am class in the World Endurance Championship stipulate that each crew must include one bronze-rated driver. The absence of Curtis would leave only platinum-rated Bleekemolen and silver MacNeil.
One possibility is that the car could move class into GTE Pro if only Bleekemolen and MacNeil are allowed to drive.
The grid for this weekend's 82nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours is already down from a full entry of 56 cars to 54 after the withdrawal of the Millennium ORECA last weekend and the second GTE Pro Aston Martin Vantage GTE after it was crashed by Fernando Rees in first qualifying on Wednesday.