Audi Hybrids Dominate 24 Hours of Le Mans
Congratulations to Andre Lotterer, driver of the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro on his 2012 Le Mans win, and Audi Sport on their 1, 2, 3 victory
The two biggest questions coming into the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans were answered in emphatic fashion over the weekend.
Would Audi’s all-new R18 e-tron quattro diesel/hybrid-powered prototypes last through the grueling punishment the 8.5-mile circuit? And could Toyota, with its raw and unproven TS030 Hybrids, even make it to half-distance before retiring?
The German endurance racing aces not only got both e-tron quottros to the finish, the space-age LMP1 cars took first and second, with last year’s R18 ultra rounding out the top three overall positions.
Defending champions Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler scored a repeat victory for the “Four Rings” in the No. 1 car, leading home the No. 2 of Le Mans Legends Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Tom Kristensen.
The No. 2 looked like it had the race won, but with just under three hours to go, McNish veered off track to avoid a slower GT car at the Porsche Curves and hammered the cement barrier with the right front corner. Despite the rapid repairs by his crew, McNish and his teammates could not reclaim the lap that was lost while spent in the garage.
Audi’s junior team of Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and MikeRockenfeller finished third in the No. 4 R18 ultra.
“This was a race of the kind you can arguably experience only at Le Mans,” said Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport, after his four Audi R18 cars had crossed the finish line. “You should never rejoice too early at Le Mans, which was obvious again especially on Sunday noon. The whole world was already talking about a one-two-three-four victory and all of a sudden two of our cars had accidents almost simultaneously. That the squad repeatedly managed to repair the cars so quickly after the slips clearly speaks for Audi Sport Team Joest that can simply be banked on at Le Mans. On the whole, I can only take my hat off to the entire squad of Audi Sport that worked extremely hard for a year to make this triumph possible. It was a very big challenge to develop a hybrid car in such a short time that is quick and able to hold up for 24 hours. The fact that, as in 2001 with the TFSI engine and in 2006 with the TDI, we managed to be successful right on the first run simply proves the level of technological expertise that is available at Audi. This is a great day for Audi Sport, for Audi and for the e-tron quattro.”
One of Toyota’s two cars came up an hour short of the halfway mark before an engine failure put an end to a promising run for the No. 7 entry. The sister No. 8 TS030 Hybrid delivered this year’s most dramatic and troubling highlight.
Britain’s Anthony Davidson was the victim of a dangerously under-qualified driver piloting a Ferrari F458 in the GTE-Am (amateur) class, with the Italian car and driver moving over on Davidson at the 190 mph entry to the braking zone into Mulsanne Corner.
Davidson tumbled through the air as the wings and ground effects on his LMP1 prototype began working in reverse—creating lift—before he crashed down, climbed from the car, and was taken to the hospital with an unspecified back injury.
With both Toyotas out, Audi was left to march home, crossing the line in formation as it secured its 11th overall win at Le Mans.
In LMP2, Starworks Motorsport, the American team we read about earlier this week with “The Girl You Come Home To” mascot, scored an amazing result on its Le Mans debut, winning with its Honda Performance Developmentchassis and engine.
As far as mascots go, Starworks’ latest pinup girl could be around for a while.
Ferrari earned a 1-2 finish in GTE-Pro, with ex-F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella spearheading AF Corse’s 458 onslaught. Aston Martin took third with its thundering Vantage V8.
The amateur GT class provided a boost for Corvette as the privateer Larbre Competition team rallied to win by a lap over Porsche and Ferrari.
Exclusive Photos: 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans >>
More: 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans Race Coverage >>
- Audi In Command – 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Two Audi Crashes – 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Video: Audi is Ready – 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Audi: Protecting The Family Joules – 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans
- Audi Enters Hybrids for Le Mans
Incoming search terms:
- Powered by Article Dashboard hummer laptop