Despite strong challenges from Toyota and Porsche, which both showed the upper hand at key points throughout the incident-filled race, Audi persevered to claim a surprise 1-2 finish in the 82nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Stay tuned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans live blog for up-to-date news and notes from the great endurance classic at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Porsche Moves Into Lead As Audi Hits More Drama At Hour 21
Porsche has taken over the lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans following drama for the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the 21st hour.
Race leader Tom Kristensen, seeking a record 10th overall win, ground to a halt on track with less than four hours to go. The Dane continued, made a scheduled fuel-only stop before pitting just a few laps later for a turbo change.
The stop, which cost the No. 1 Audi more than 17 minutes, handed the lead back to the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, who now holds a 1:30 lead over the No. 2 Audi of Andre Lotterer.
Just three races into his FIA World Endurance Championship switch from Formula One, Mark Webber is high on life and revitalized with his fresh opportunity to race with Porsche’s new LMP1 program.
The Australian, now 38, had spent the last 12 seasons in F1, and the last seven with Red Bull Racing. Winning still occurred, but politics often dictated the direction more than outright performance.
Patrick Dempsey is used to cameras and the spotlight. Yet heading into his third 24 Hours of Le Mans start, and second collaborative effort between his Dempsey Racing organization and the European Proton Competition outfit, he’s got a better idea of how to handle it.
The debut run for Dempsey in 2009 – then in an AF Corse-run Ferrari F430 GT – was an eye-opener both into the event itself, the fervor of the French fans, and the challenge of running this 24-hour race. As it happened, he and Joe Foster had to run almost the entire second half on their own due to illness knocking their third driver out of action.
Audi’s Loic Duval has been ruled out of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans following a heavy accident in practice Wednesday at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Duval, despite escaping serious injuries following the airborne incident at the Porsche Curves, has not been cleared by doctors to race after the accident, which has required a new chassis for the No. 1 Audi Sport Team Joest entry.