The battle between Audi and Toyota for the overall victory was expected to come down to the difference between Audi’s raw pace and Toyota’s superior range on a tank of fuel. What it came down to, as it so often does at Le Mans, was luck and reliability. The #2 Audi of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval had the best luck and speed on the day’s worth of racing and picked up the win in the biggest event in sportscar racing.
Sadly, the win for Audi and the epic battle between Audi and Toyota was overshadowed by the first death in the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1986 when GTE Am Aston Martin of Allan Simonsen died after a crash early in the race.
It’s been almost twelve years since Takuma Sato last won a race. That was the legendary Macau Grand Prix in November 2011. AJ Foyt Racing hasn’t run a race since an oval race in Kansas in July 2002. All it took for the two to break their losing streaks was to find each other as Takuma Sato picked up his first IndyCar win by taking the chequered flag at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Heading into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most hotly anticipated battle was between Audi and Toyota to determine who would be the first hybrid car to win the famed endurance race. Unfortunately for Toyota, the battle never materialized. As the hybrid Audi R18s stormed off into the distance, both Toyotas collided with traffic resulting in abrupt ends to their challenge.
In the other classes, attrition and luck seemed to the biggest factors behind the GTE category outcomes. The AF Corse Ferrari 458 was the last of many cars to lead the race in GTE but it’s the last car to lead the race is the most important. While Corvette couldn’t keep it together in GTE Pro, the Larbre Competition operated Corvette C6 was able to pick up the win in GTE Am. In LMP2, the rookie entrant Starworks Motorsport backed up their in their maiden 12 Hours of Sebring with a class win in Le Mans. Continue reading