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Le Mans 2002 Pre-Qualifying
Submitted by SuperUser on Monday, May 6, 2002 - 12:00am

Our European corespondant (Glenn Butcher mymazdarotary.com) for RotaryNews.com was able to get up close an personal with the Autoexe - Welter Racing team for Le Mans. This is an exclusive look at the 4 rotor race car, and the rotary's return to the international race. We traveled to Le Mans for the weekend to cover the Le Mans pre-qualifying event with the Autoexe - Welter Racing team for the 2002 Le Mans 24hrs. We managed to gain pit access, which allowed us to take some wonderful photo's and exclusive video. Many special thanks go to the Welter Racing team, Autoexe, Yojiro Terada, Jim Downing, Rick Engman, John Fergus, Pascal Coquin, and many others for allowing us to film/photograph and talk to! Saturday, May 4th - Preparation Day: This was an initial setup day. There were no cars on the track during the day, all the teams used this day for assembling the cars, making final changes etc.. Sunday, May 5th - Free Practice: There were two free practice sessions during the day, 1st from 9am - 1pm, 2nd from 2pm - 6pm. The Autoexe/Welter Racing team had fuel pressure problems with the car, Rick Engman was forced to set the rev limiter on the MoTeC unit to around 6,000rpm for most of the first session. This problem was corrected later on in the second session which allowed the drivers to get familiar with the car again, running it on the Le Mans track. They did not get as much track time as they would have liked. Changes made on the car for Le Mans from the Sebring 12 hour were:

  • A slightly heavier flywheel was fitted (around 7 kilograms) - to help get the car out of corners (increasing the torque/inertia in the engine)
  • Penske springs and dampers were installed
These are the initial photo's from the weekend, taken with a small digital camera. We have many more top quality photo's to come (currently being processed).

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