Text: Brent Co / Photos: Manufacturer press | posted June 17, 2014 18:13
Outlasts Porsche, defeats Toyota in 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans
Audi scored a challenging 1-2 victory at the world famous 2014 Le Mans 24-Hour Endurance Race in France. Finishing on the top spot was the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler ; followed by the #1 Audi e-tron quattro of Tom Kristensen, Lucas di Grassi and Marc Gené. The #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid car driven by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Lapierre finished in 3rd.
Despite an early domination of the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid car in the 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans, which qualified in pole position; the endurance race proved that just being fast is not enough to win an endurance race. The #7 car experienced an electrical problem near the 14-hour mark after having led nearly the whole race.
The #00 Nissan ZEOD RC was an early retiree with GT Academy graduate Wolfgang Reip behind the wheel. The electric endurance three-wheeled endurance racer only finished 5 laps and retired due to powertrain issues but managed to run at 300km/h on the Mulsanne Straight in 100% EV mode.
The earliest retirement in LMP1 was the #3 Audi driven by Marco Bonanomi was tagged hard by the AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia LM GTE car driven by Sam Bird going into the Mulsanne straight. Both cars retired after suffering significant damage. The incident also nearly claimed the #8 Toyota, but luckily the damage was more cosmetic and it was able to return to the pits for repairs.
The #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber which led the race for a brief moment also had a disappointing end with powertrain problema which forced them to retire during the final stages of the race after more than 22 hours.
The Audi team's race did not go without hiccups as the #2 R18 e-tron was also delayed due to turbocharger issues, but eventually rejoined. This allowed the #1 R18 e-tron to take the lead and possibly give Tom Kristensen his 10th Le Mans 24 Hour race victory. But 'Murphy's Law' would prevail as their car would suffer the same fate as the #2 car. It was able to rejoin the race ahead of the #3 Toyota; and is still commendable for finishing in 2nd despite the car being nearly totalled after a bad crash during practice.
In LMP2, Oliver Turvey steered the #38 Jota Sport Zytek Z11SN to victory after a hard fought race against sixteen other cars in a 'topsy-turvey' race. Incidentally, Turvey was a last minute entrant to the race replacing Marc Gené. His co-drivers were Simon Dolan and Harry Tincknell. In 2nd was the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Ligier (Badey, Thiriet, and Gommendy) and the #36 Signatech Alpine A450b Nissan (Panciati, Webb and Chatin). All three were from the European Le Mans Series.
For the LM GTE Pro class, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella emerged victorious over the new Corvette Racing #73 C7.R of Jan Magnussen, Jordan Taylor and Antonio García. Porsche Team Manthey took the final podium spot with the #92 911 RSR of Marco Holzer, Frédéric Makowiecki and Richard Lietz.
In LM GTE Am, the #95 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicki Thiim managed to fend off the AF Corse armada of six Ferraris for the class win. In second was the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR (Ried-Bachler-Al Qubaisi), followed by the #61 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia.
A total of 379 laps were completed for this year's 24 Hour motorsport festival in Le Mans with 263,300 spectators in attendance.