Audi clinched their thirteenth victory at Le Mans when the no 2 car of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler outlasted competitors in the race where drama, crashes and chaos ruled this year’s 24 Hours race. Audi is currently three Le Mans victories short from the current record holder, Porsche, who almost had their 17th Le Mans title until both Porsche cars succumbed into mechanical failures in the closing stages. Audi’s car no.1 that was involved in a catastrophic accident on Thursday, completed the race as runner-up.
Toyota meanwhile did very well with a third place finish, courtesy of car no.8 (pic above) driven by Anthony Davidson, Nicholas Lapierre and Sebastian Buemi, who endured a difficult race after being involved in a race accident in hour 2, damaging the car and losing precious time. The quest for their first victory at Le Mans was bought to a halt after car no.7, which qualified first and lead the race for 14 hours, faced an electrical issue, ending their race in the process.
Audi’s journey at this week’s Le Mans was best described as dramatic; where during practice on Thursday, car no.1 driven by Loic Duval was involved in a horrific crash totalling the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the process. Miraculously using the available parts from the team’s spares, the team’s mechanics and engineers had their own 24 hour race to rebuild car no.1 overnight, and managed to get that car to qualify seventh in the race.
Marc Gene was bought in by Audi to replace Duval who was declared unfit to race. During the second hour of the race when the rain hit the circuit, the no 3 Audi of Marco Bonanomi collided with the Ferrari 458 GTE car of Sam Bird, knocking both cars out of the race in the process. The other surviving Audis endured turbo issues that almost wiped them out of the race, but Audi’s determined mechanics saved them from the troubles.
While Audi aced the premier LMP1 class, The Zytek Z11SN – Nissan of Jota Racing won the LMP2 class, the Ferrari 458 of AF Corse won the GTE Pro class, and the Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Aston Martin Racing took victory at the GTE Am class. The victors of the GTE Am class was a poignant one for Aston Martin as that similar car had been involved in last year’s race accident where Danish driver, Allan Simonsen, tragically lost his life. This year’s Le Mans has proven to be a battle of attrition to all competitors where only 37 cars out of 54 crossed the finish line.
The race attracted professional, semi-professional and amateur racers which included American actor and endurance racing regular, Patrick “Dr.McDreamy” Dempsey, former France National Football team and Manchester United’s goalkeeper, Fabien Bartez and former F1 driver, Mark Webber, to compete in the 82nd edition of the iconic race.
[Image Source: Audi Motorsports & Toyota Racing]