24 Heures du Mans: The greatest challenge conquered by Audi, Strakka and OAK in LMP1 and 2

The GTE classes : Porsche marks 50th Anniversary of the 911 with victory at Le Mans. Many of the teams and drivers paid tribute to Aston Martin’s Allan Simonsen whose life ended on Saturday morning.

24 Heures du Mans: The greatest challenge conquered by Audi, Strakka and OAK in LMP1 and 2

If ever there was a race which represented the ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ it was this year’s 81st edition, the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The 56 competitors who took the start and the 42 who were classified at the finish line at 15:00h today all displayed the qualities of endurance, competition, teamwork and determination in the face of adversity which personifies the most famous sportscar race in the world.

The No.2 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro won today, after having led the race from the 7th hours; it is Tom Kristensen’s ninth victory, Allan McNish’s third and Loîc Duval’s first and the result moves the trio firmly into the lead of the World Endurance Drivers championship.

They crossed the line ahead of the No.8 Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid of Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Stéphane Sarrazin. In third place was the No.3 Audi R18 of Jarvis-Gené-di Grassi.

The challenges for the race were many and constant throughout the 24 hours, with the entire paddock reeling in the early hours at the news of the loss of Aston Martin’s Allan Simonsen, Kristensen’s Danish countryman, to whom he paid tribute on the podium and after the race.

LMP1 podium privateer: class winners Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane, Danny Watts
LMP1 podium privateer: class winners Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane, Danny Watts

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

The Sarthois weather was also determined to play its hand in the outcome of the race and the rain showers were many and frequent from start to finish.

A final heavy rain shower 30 minutes from the finish threatened the result of many, but nothing was going to prevent the No.21 Strakka Racing HPD ARX03c from taking victory in the LMP1 Privateer category with Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts enjoying the view from the top of the podium for the first time in 2013.

Their rivals Rebellion Racing uncharacteristically ran into problems with both their Lola Toyotas, but the team made superb efforts to get the No.12 and No.13 cars back on track to finish the race and thus claim points.

LMP2 victory went to OAK Racing, the French team actually claiming a dominant 1-2 in class with their Morgan-Nissans. After a race-long battle between the two, it was the No.35 of Bertrand Baguette-Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez which prevailed over the No.24 of Olivier Pla-Alex Brundle-David Heinemeier Hansson.

The Onroak-designed chassis and the entire OAK Racing team performed flawlessly to achieve their first victory in a FIA World Endurance Championship round and Oak Racing now lead the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 teams. Third in class went to the No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA Nissan of Roman Rusinov-Mike Conway-John Martin.

24 Heures du Mans: Porsche marks 50th Anniversary of the 911 with victory at Le Mans

This year’s 24 Heures du Mans should have been a cause for celebration for many including the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, marking 90 years since the first 24-hour event in La Sarthe, Aston Martin Racing, which was founded 100 years ago, and Porsche – the iconic 911 was first launched 50 years ago.

LMGTE Pro podium: class winners Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas, second place Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet, Timo Bernhard, third place Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke, Peter Dumbreck
LMGTE Pro podium: class winners Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas, second place Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet, Timo Bernhard, third place Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke, Peter Dumbreck

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

At the chequered flag it was the new-for-2013 No.92 Porsche AG Team Manthey of Marc Lieb-Richard Lietz-Romain Dumas which crossed the finish line ahead of all others in the LMGTE Pro category. Celebrations were, however, tempered by the tragic loss of Aston Martin Racing driver Allan Simonsen in the opening hour of the race – an incident which affected many throughout the paddock who had known and raced against him.

In fact, Porsche recorded an extremely impressive 1-2 in the LMGTE Pro category plus victory in the LMGTE Am class. Second Pro car to cross the line was the sister No.91 entry of Jörg Bergmeister-Patrick Pilet-Timo Bernhard, the only other car to finish on the same lap as the class leader.

Third in class was the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Darren Turner-Stefan Mücke-Peter Dumbreck who had desperately been hoping to claim victory in tribute to their team mate. The Aston had led the category for the first four hours before relinquishing the place to its sister car, the No.99 of Fred Makowiecki-Rob Bell-Bruno Senna. This last trio had led from hour 5 until just before 10:00h when, during one of the many frequent and unpredictable rain showers, Makowiecki lost control and crashed the car.

The weather and track conditions were the largest contributor to the 11 safety car periods which punctuated the event. With such a large field, there are in fact three cars which pick up and control the four different classes.

LMGTE Am also had a Porsche on top of the podium, with the IMSA Performance Matmut team of Rouen-based Raymond Narac claiming class honours. The No.76 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR took control of the category from the 11th hour and performed flawlessly to control the race to the end. Behind them were two AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italias – the No.55 of Perrazini-Casé-O’Young finished just 1m26s in front of the FIA WEC entry of Jack Gerber-Matt Griffin-Marco Cioci after 24 hours of long, hard racing.

WEC

shares
comments
Audi, Morgan and Aston Martin claim pole for the 90th Anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans

Previous article

Audi, Morgan and Aston Martin claim pole for the 90th Anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans

Next article

Neel Jani joins Porsche for LMP1 project

Neel Jani joins Porsche for LMP1 project
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021