CORVETTE, RISI AND BRABHAM COME AWAY LE MANS WINNERS Corvette Racing, Risi Competizione and Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham were the big winners from the American Le Mans Series at the 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Corvette ...
CORVETTE, RISI AND BRABHAM COME AWAY LE MANS WINNERS
Corvette Racing, Risi Competizione and Patron Highcroft Racing's David Brabham were the big winners from the American Le Mans Series at the 77th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Corvette ended its GT1 reign with a sixth class win, Risi repeated in GT2 and took two podium spots, and Brabham scored a long-awaited overall victory in the world's greatest race.
Jan Magnussen, Johnny O'Connell and Antonio Garcia won in their Corvette C6.R over the independent entry from Luc Alphand Aventures. The winning trio, also victorious in the season-opening 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, had no issues in the final GT1 race for Corvette Racing. O'Connell became the first American to win Le Mans four times. Magnussen also won for the fourth time (all with Corvette Racing), and Garcia added a second straight championship after taking victory in 2008 with Aston Martin Racing.
The sister Corvette of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Marcel Fassler were on the same lap through 22 hours before losing drive and grinding to a halt just shy of pit lane. The car still finished third in class.
Corvette Racing will move to GT2 in August at the Mid-Ohio round of the American Le Mans Series.
Risi became the first GT2 team in a decade to repeat in class. Jaime Melo and Mika Salo won their second straight race, and Pierre Kaffer was a winner for the first time. The red Ferrari F430 GT led since the sixth hour; prior to that it was part of a five-car scrap for the class lead including the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Jorg Bergmeister, Darren Law and Seth Neiman. It retired following a crash in the 17th hour while running fourth.
Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Eric van de Poele finished third in class in the second Risi entry in partnership with Krohn Racing. The green F430 also finished on the class podium in 2007. So this makes three straight GT2/GT podium finishes for the same entrant, a rarity at Le Mans.
At the head of the grid, was Brabham won overall at Le Mans in his 16th appearance in a Peugeot 908 HDi. Son of three-time F1 World Champion Jack, Brabham teamed with Marc Gene and Alexander Wurz for a one-lap victory the team car of Stephane Sarrazin, Sebastien Bourdais and Franck Montagny.
Brabham's car led for the better part of the final two-thirds of the event. Coincidentally, the last time Peugeot won Le Mans was in 1993. Brabham's older brother Geoff was part of the lineup in the Peugeot 905.
Audi's new R15 TDI finished third overall and seven laps behind. Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Dindo Capello lost time with an electrical problem late. The trio had beaten Peugeot at Sebring with its new diesel racer.