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2006 Le Mans Series
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Introduction
Now in its third season the Le Mans Series (formerly known as the Le Mans Endurance Series) is a fully matured championship with a field rivaled only by the 24 Hours of Le Mans race the 'Series' is branched from. While the similar American Le Mans Series (ALMS) has struggled for years to fill the grid, the 2006 LMS was oversubscribed months before the season started. Itís not just in the numbers that the entry list impresses, but particularly in the diversity. After covering the inaugural Le Mans 1000 km in 2003, the Spa 1000 km in 2004 and the Spa and Monza 1000 kms in 2005, Ultimatecarpage.com will follow the complete 2006 Le Mans Series from start to finish. To get us all in the mood we visited the official LMS test weekend at Paul Ricard where many of the competitors took to the track to test their new material.
On this page you can find race summaries, the standings, the schedule and the entry list with links to the individual cars. It will be updated after each race.

Istanbul 1000 km
Last year's final venue served as the opening round of the 2006 Series. Because it was held less than two weeks after the Paul Ricard test and in a rather distant location, the teams with new material were at somewhat of a disadvantage. A slimmed down, but still very representative field made the expensive trip to Istanbul. There are two big stories to tell about this weekend; one very positive and one slightly negative. The good news was the amazing performance of the Radical, which on its fifth day on track was challenging the seasoned teams for the lead. There was sadly no storybook ending with the car retiring from third place with a few laps to go after an electrical fire set the extinguisher off. The bad news came around one and a half hours into the race, when the organizers announced there was not enough fuel to complete the 1000 km and the race was cut short to four hours. Those four hours did contain enough action to make the fuel problem go down in history as a minor side note.
In the opening stages of the race, the wet, but drying track shuffled the field about a lot. At the end of the first hour things had settled down somewhat with the Creation and Pescarolo well ahead of the field fighting for the lead. The Creation's retirement some fifty laps into the race effectively cleared the path for last year's champion to claim the season's first victory. A trouble free race for the Epsilon Barazi team resulted in a surprise LMP2 class win and a second overall. In GT1 the favourite Larbre Competition Aston Martin took the flag first. Despite only receiving their F430 GTC a week before the race, GPC Sport finished first in GT2. A full report of the race including a 150 shot slideshow can be found here.

Spa 1000 km
Being the final test for many teams for the 24 Hours of Le Mans race a month later, the 2006 Spa 1000 km proved exceptionally tough on men and machine. A number big accidents in the practice sessions had already taken out or severely damaged several top runnings like the Larbre Aston and the Creation, but it was nothing compared to the preceedings in the first corner. In two seemingly separate incidents on the top of Eau Rouge, four cars were heavily damaged. Of them the Icer Brakes Ferrari was damaged beyond repair, sadly forcing the Spanish to withdraw from the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the remainder of the Le Mans Series. Debris covered the entire track, so the race was stopped for half an hour to enable the marshalls to clean the track. Once the race was restarted, it remained difficult for the drivers to miss eachother and/or the wall and less than half of the teams started were still running after six hours. The highlight of the race was a close battle for many hours between the Team Modena/Cirtek Aston Martin and the Oreca Saleen. A full class by class review and a 200-shot slideshow can be found in our exclusive report.

Nurburgring 1000 km
Compared to Spa, the Nurburgring 1000 km was a very calm event with only one safety car period in six hours of racing. The full grid of cars was a good sign of strength of the Series, especially now that the 24 Hours of Le Mans was behind us. There were several changes in the teams and line-ups and the works Radical joined the Rollcentre entered example. After a very close qualification battle for pole, the race showed that there really is no stopping the Pescarolo this season. Behind the French team there was plenty of action with close fights for positions in all classes throughout the race. The podium order of both prototype classes was not decided until the final minutes of the race. A detailed report and a 150-shot slideshow can be found here.

Donnington 1000 km
Henri Pescarolo faced stiffer competition at Donnington with the arrival of a second Creation chassis and the rest of the new cars getting better and better. It was the Courage and Zytek teams that robbed the charismatic French from another pole position, but despite some minor problems early in the race, everything was back to normal when the flag fell. Sadly the very fast Courages were once again dogged by mechanical problems and pole-man Gounon saw another chance at victory go down the drain. Creation got best of the rest with both cars finishing on the podium. The other three classes also had their fair share of last minute drama and unfortunately Martin Short was in the thick of it for the third time in four races. A full report of the Le Mans Series practice, qualifying and race and also of the support program can be found here.

Jarama 1000 km
Replacing Monza, the final round was hosted by the Spanish Jarama track, located just north of the country's capital Madrid. Several familiar faces were missing from the grid, but there were still 37 entrants that ventured out to the tricky track. Presented at the Nurburgring race, the new Lavaggi finally made its debut here, although it was one they would want to forget about quickly. At the head of the field it was business as usual with Gounon taking pole position and then breaking down early in the race, leaving the win to Pescarolo, after yet another flawless performance. There was plenty of close racing down the order again and as Donnington the GT2 leaders collided. All in all it was a fitting finale to an exciting season with plenty of high quality racing and drama. Our final report of the season can be found here.

Schedule
Paul Ricard Official Test, March 26th-27th
Istanbul 1000 km, April 9th
Spa 1000 km, May 14th
Nurburgring 1000 km, July 16th
Donnington 1000 km, August 27th
Jarama 1000 km, September 24th

Standings
LMP1
1 Pescarolo Sport 50
2 Creation Autosportif #9 20
- Chamberlain Synergy 20
4 Swiss Spirit 19
5 Zytek Racing 10
6 Lister Racing 8
- Creation Autosportif #10 20
8 Courage Competition #12 7
9 Racing for Holland 6
10 Courage Competition #13 4
LMP2
1 Barazi Epsilon 28
2 RML 26
3 Pierre Bruneau 24
4 ASM Racing for Portugal 20
- Binnie Motorsports 20
6 Kruse Motorsport 12
- Paul Belmondo Racing #36 12
8 Chamberlain Synergy 10
9 G-Force Racing 7
10 Rollcentre Racing 6
GT1
1 Aston Martin Racing Larbre 32
2 Convers Menx Team 28
3 Team Oreca Racing 25
- Luc Alphand Adventures 25
5 Team Modena Racing 16
- PSI Experience 16
7 Cirtek Motorsport #61 13
8 Cirtek Motorsport #62 9
GT2
1 Autorlando Sport #76 34
2 Team LNT #82 21
3 Team LNT #81 20
4 Virgo Motorsport 19
5 IMSA Performance 18
6 GPC Sport #97 17
7 Spyker Squadron #86 12
8 GPC Sport #83 10
- Spyker Squadron #85 10
10 Autorlando Sport #78 8

LMP1
# Team Nat Car Tires Drivers
5
Swiss Spirit
CH
M
Harold Primat (CH), Marcel Fassler (CH)
6 Lister Storm Racing GB Lister Storm LMP Hybrid D Jens Moller (GB), Justin Keen, Nicolas Kiesa
9
Creation Autosportif
GB
M
Felipe Ortiz (CH), Beppe Gabbiani (I)
10 Creation Autosportif GB Creation CA06/H M Nicolas Minassian (F), Jamie Campbell-Water (GB)
12 Courage Competition F Courage LC70 Mugen Y Karuki Kurosawa (J), Alexander Frei (CH)
13 Courage Competition F Courage LC70 Mugen Y Shinji Nakano (J)
14 Racing for Holland NL Dome S101-Hb Mugen D Jan Lammers (NL), Alex Yoong (MAL)
17 Pescarolo Sport F Pescarolo Courage C60 Hybrid M Jean-Christophe Boullion (F), Emmanuel Collard (F)
19 Chamberlain Synergy GB Lola B06/10 AER D Bob Berridge (GB), Gareth Evans (GB), Peter Owen (GB)
LMP2
# Team Nat Car Tires Drivers
20 Pierre Bruneau F Pilbeam MP93 Judd M Marc Rostan (F), Pierre Bruneau (F)
21 Bruichladdich Radical GB Radical SR9 C6-T D Tim Greaves (GB), Stuart Moseley (GB)
22 Rollcentre Racing GB Radical SR9 Judd D Martin Short (GB), Joao Barbosa (P)
23 Rollcentre Racing GB Radical SR9 Judd D TBA
24 Binnie Motorsports USA Lola B05/40 Zytek M Bill Binnie (USA), Allen Timpany (GB)
25 RML GB MG Lola EX264 AER M Mike Newton (GB), Tommy Erdos (BR)
28 Randaccio Rainieri I Lucchini LMP2 NME D Ranieri Randaccio (I), Fabio Mancini (I)
32 Barazi Epsilon F Courage C65 AER M Michael Vergers (NL), Juan Barazi (F)
35 G-Force B Courage C65 Judd D Ed Morris (GB), Jean-Francois Leroch (F), Frank Hahn (B)
36 Paul Belmondo Racing F Courage C65 Ford/Mecachrome P Claude Yves Gosselin (F), Karim Ojjeh (SA), Pierre Ragues (F)
37 Paul Belmondo Racing F Courage C65 Ford/Mecachrome P Paul Belmondo (F), Didier Andre (F), Yann Clairey (F)
39 Chamberlain Synergy GB Lola B05/40 AER D Miguel Amaral (P), Pedro Chaves (P)
GT1
# Team Nat Car Tires Drivers
50 Aston Martin Larbre Racing F Aston Martin DBR9 M Pedro Lamy (P), Gabriele Gardel (CH), Vincent Vosse (B)
51 B-Racing RS Line Team D Lamborghini Murcielago R-GT D Norbert Walchhofer (A), Benjamin Leuenberger (CH), Michele Bartyan (I)
55 Team Oreca F Saleen S7-R M TBA
61 Cirtek Motorsport GB Aston Martin DBR9 M Nathan Kinch (GB), Antonio Garcia (E)
62 Cirtek Motorsport GB Aston Martin DBR9 M Peter Hardmann (GB), Christian Vann (GB)
67 Convers Menx Team RUS Ferrari 550 GTS Maranello M Peter Kox (NL), Robert Pergl (CZ), Alexei Vasiliev (RUS)
70 PSI Experience B Chevrolet Corvette C6.R D Pertti Kuismanen (FIN), Jos Menten (NL), Markus Parttala (FIN)
71 PSI Experience B Chevrolet Corvette C5-R D TBA
72 Luc Alphand Adventures F Chevrolet Corvette C5-R M Jerome Policand (F), Patrice Gouselard (F), Anthony Beltoise (F)
GT2
# Team Nat Car Tires Drivers
73 Ice Pol Racing Team B Porsche 911 GT3 RSR D Yves Lambert (B), Christian Lefort (B)
75 Thierry Perrier F Porsche 911 GT3 RSR D Nigel Smith (GB), Philippe Hesnault (F)
76 Autorlando Sport I Porsche 911 GT3 RSR P Marc Lieb (D), Joel Camathias (CH)
77 Seikel Motorsport D Porsche 911 GT3 RSR Y Tony Burgess (CDN), Philip Collin (USA)
78 Autorlando Sport I Porsche 911 GT3 RSR P Gunnar Kristensen (GB), Jens Edmann (GB), Allen Simonsen (AUS)
80 Farnbacaher Racing D Porsche 911 GT3 RSR D Lars Erik Nielsen (GB), Marco Seefried (D)
81 Team LNT GB Panoz Esperante GT-LM P Warren Hughes (GB), Robert Bell (GB)
82 Team LNT GB Panoz Esperante GT-LM P Lawrence Tomlinson (GB), Richard Dean (GB)
84 Team Icer Brakes E Ferrari F430 GTC D Jesus Diaz Villaroel (E), Peter Sunderg (E), Domingo Romero (E)
85 Spyker Squadron NL Spyker C8 Spyder GT2 R D Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), Mike Hezemans (NL)
86 Spyker Squadron NL Spyker C8 Spyder GT2 R D Jonny Kane (GB), Donny Crevels (NL)
90 Farnbacaher Racing D Porsche 911 GT3 RSR D Pierre Ehret (D), Dominik Farnbacher (D)
91 T2M Motorsport J Porsche 911 GT3 RS Y TBA
92 IMSA Performance Matmut F Porsche 911 GT3 RSR D Christophe Bouchut (F), Sebastian Dumes (F), Raymond Narac (F)
97 GPC Sport I Ferrari F430 GTC P Luca Drudi (I), Gabrio Rosa (I), Jaime Melo (BR)
98 Del Bello Noel F Porsche 911 GT3 RSR M Christophe Tinseau (F), Romain Innetta (F), Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere (F)
99 Virgo Motorsport GB Ferrari F430 GTC D Dan Eagling (GB), Tim Sugden (GB), Ian Khan (GB)

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Report and images by Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.