Le Mans 2014 results: Audi has secured first and second in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, with the #2 car driven by Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer winning ahead of the #1 car driven by Tom Kristensen, Marc Gene and Lucas di Grassi.
The 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours result marks Audi’s 13th win in 15 years at the La Sarthe circuit, and it’s also the third Le Mans victory for the Fassler/Treluyer/Lotterer trio.
The #7 Toyota driven by Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi took the final step on the podium following a tough weekend, which saw the car almost retired following an accident in wet conditions.
Neither Porsche 919 Hybrid scored points on the Stuttgart-based manufacturer’s Le Mans return. The #20 Webber/Hartley/Bernhard car appeared to be on for a podium but slowed at the end of the 22nd hour and eventually retired in the pits. The sister car finished 11th following further difficulties with a gearbox issue and it was forced into the garage for repairs. However, it managed to return to the track in the final stages of the race to see the chequered flag.
The Zytek Nissan took class honours in the LMP2 category with Britain’s Oliver Turvey behind the wheel, and finished fifth out of all 54 runners.
The AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella took a dominant win in GTE Pro and finished a lap ahead of the #73 Chevrolet Corvette.
In GTE Am, the #95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage shared between the Danish trio, Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Nicki Thiim, took the win.
Le Mans 2014 update 3: There has been a dramatic change of lead in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, following the retirement of the #7 Toyota during the night.
The Toyota TS040 driven by Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima which led most of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was forced to retire after a mechanical problem.
The Audi of Tom Kristensen, Marc Gene and Lucas di Grassi then resumed the lead, but was forced to pit for a reset of the electrical system. Kristensen resumed the race in the lead, but the nine-time Le Mans winner was then forced to pit a lap later for a turbo change after the car was still slow.
Kristensen rejoined the race in third in front of the #8 Toyota.
The Webber/Hartley/Bernhard Porsche 919 Hybrid currently leads the 2014 Le Mans Hours by 45 seconds from the Audi of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer.
In the LMP2 category, Alex Brundle leads and lies a credible 7th in the overall ranking, while in GTE Pro, the Fisichella/Vilander/Bruni Ferrari 458 Italia leads from the works Porsche. In GTE Am, the Nicky Thiim Aston Martin is in first position.
Le Mans 2014 update 2: Toyota has extended its lead in the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours over the #2 Audi of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer.
Earlier in the event, Audi quadruple-stinted the tyres of its R18 TDI e-tron quattro to catch up with the leading #7 Toyota TS040, but its defect in outright horsepower meant the Audi now lies over a minute adrift.
Marc Gene has taken the wheel of the Audi, while ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber is now driving the #20 Porsche which he shares with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.
In LMP2, the #35 OAK Ligier driven by Gran Turismo Academy driver, Brit Jann Mardenborough, now lies at the head of the LMP2 category, while in GTE Pro, Darren Turner has taken the lead in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
In GTE Am, Aston Martin also leads with Paul Dalla Lana.
Le Mans 2014 update 2: The Toyota of Stephane Sarrazin, Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima took pole-position in the 2014 LMP1 battle at Le Mans, ahead of the Porsche of Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani.
The pole is significant as it is the Japanese manufacturer's first at Le Mans since 1999, and the laptime of 3m 21.789s set by Nakajima at the wheel of the Toyota TS040 Hybrid marked the first time a Japanese driver has taken pole at Le Mans.
The Porsche of Jani/Lieb/Dumas was second, with the championship-leading Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Lapierre in third.
The Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro of Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis and Filipe Alberquerque was the best-placed car for the reigning FIA World Endurance Championship champions in fourth.
The Audi of reigning Le Mans and FIA WEC champions Tom Kristensen, Marc Gene (who is substituting for Loic Duval following an accident in Friday's practice) and Lucas di Grassi endured yet another difficult day after di Grassi shunted the re-built car in qualifying.
Despite successive incidents on Thursday and Friday, it will line up seventh behind the sister car of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer.
The Porsche of ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard qualified fifth.
In the LMP2 class, the Ligier Nissan of Pierre Thiriet, Ludovic Badey and Tristan Gommendy took pole, while in the GTE Pro category, the AF Corse-run Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander led the field.
In the GTE Am category, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Christoffer Nygaard laid claim to class honours.
An epic three-way battle is promised in the third round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the action likely to focus on what happens between 13-time Le Mans winner and reigning FIA WEC champions Audi, on-form Toyota and Le Mans returnee Porsche, which is out to add to its tally of 16 victories.
The opening day of the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours started with Porsche topping the event's first qualifying session on Thursday night.
The LMP1 category Porsche 919 Hybrid of ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber and team-mates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard lapped the 14-kilometre circuit to take provisional pole, with the Porsche Le Mans comeback made even sweeter as the sister 919 Hybrid driven by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb ended the night-time session in second.
Toyota headed into the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours as favourite, thanks to wins in both opening rounds of the 2014 FIA WEC championship at Silverstone and Spa Francorchamps. The Japanese manufacturer's pair of TS040 Hybrid cars wound up third and fourth with the Toyota TS040 Hybrid of Stephane Sarrazin, Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima ending the session P3. The sister car driven by WEC championship leaders, Briton Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi, was fourth.
The Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi Toyota also topped the LMP1 time sheets in the afternoon practice session for the 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours, which was interrupted by a heavy accident involving the Audi R18 shared by 2013 FIA WEC champions and Le Mans winners, 9-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, Loic Duval and Lucas di Grassi.
The Audi R18 e-tron quattro being driven by Duval left the track at high-speed at the Porsche curves, with the car hitting the barriers roof-first. While Duval was discharged from the medical centre with cuts to his shoulder and leg, the Frenchman will not be taking part in the race. However, Audi has managed to build an all-new car for the race, and former Formula 1 driver Marc Gene will be taking Duval's place in the championship squad.
In the qualifying session, the Audi of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer was the best placed of the brand's cars, in fifth.
The second-tier LMP2 class has 18 entries, including British squads Jota Sport and Greaves Motorsport and it saw an OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan at the top of the field. while in the GTE category which features the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin, Chevrolet and Porsche, the AF Corse Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni went quickest. In second was an Aston Martin driven by Bruno Senna, Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke.
• Free practice (ended): Wednesday June 11 - 15:00 (UK)
• Qualifying/Practice 1 (ended): Wednesday June 11 - 21:00 (UK)
• Qualifying/Practice 2: Thursday June 12 - 18:00 (UK)
• Qualifying/Practice 3: Thursday June 12 - 21:00 (UK)
• Warm up: Saturday June 14 - 08:00 (UK)
• Race: Saturday June 14 - 14:00 (UK)
As preparations for the event intensify, we caught up with the British stars who will be racing around the clock for Audi, Toyota and Aston Martin on Saturday and Sunday.
Anthony Davidson (Toyota TS040 Hybrid)
Auto Express: How do you feel about the new generation of cars after two races?
Anthony Davidson: It’s a different world in many respects, because we have to be very focused on efficiency. Of course, in the past this was also a consideration as we tried to minimise the number of pitstops. But the new rules make efficiency the number-one priority. We have a display in the cockpit that indicates our lap time and our fuel target, and we’re looking at each one equally. But it hasn’t negatively affected the racing – it’s more interesting.
AE: You must be feeling confident after the team’s wins at Silverstone and Spa?
AD: There’s no guarantee of anything at Le Mans. We’ve done everything as planned in preparation and there’s no better way to come to Le Mans than with two wins in your pocket, but it’s still an immensely challenging race. Porsche and Audi are strong so it would be stupid to count them out. But the target is to win and we’ll push like crazy to do that.
Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro)
Auto Express: What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of Toyota and Porsche?
Oliver Jarvis: It looks like we’re facing the toughest race of all the years I’ve been involved with Audi at Le Mans. The Toyota looks very quick in all areas, has excellent reliability and seems to be a good all-round package. The Porsches are very quick in a straight line, but may be more vulnerable when it comes to reliability, and the team may not be as well gelled together given that it’s its first year back at Le Mans after so long. We definitely shouldn’t underestimate its challenge, though.
AE: Is there a different plan for each of Audi’s three cars ahead of the race?
OJ: As far as I know, it’ll be three cars going flat-out. You never really have a game plan before a race to have one or more cars on a different strategy. Everything changes so quickly, so maybe the strategies will change as the race develops. It makes sense to split strategies if you have two cars running at the front after a while. But all three cars have to go flat-out from lap one – we don’t have the luxury of not doing that this year!”
Darren Turner (Aston Martin V8 Vantage)
Auto Express: How did test day go? The Aston seems a little off the pace of Porsche and Ferrari.
Darren Turner: We didn’t have the best start in the morning – there were a few yellow-flag zones and I think a red flag, too, so it was an interrupted session. We didn’t really get any good clear laps, so it looks worse than it actually was.
The afternoon was better – we managed to get closer to the front of the field. Again, the lap time didn’t look fantastic, about two seconds off what the Porsches did. In reality, if you look closer at some of the splits, we’re just over a second off where we need to be.
The car is riding five millimetres higher this year due to a regulation change, so we’re trying to find a good balance in that configuration. We have lots of homework to do before the race, but we should be more competitive than it looks from the test day.
AE: You’ve been battling Porsche and Ferrari so far, but Le Mans sees Corvette join the grid, too. How big of a threat is it?
DT: It looked very good at the Daytona 24 Hours, which was its first time out with the new C7 car. It’s already been competitive in the American races, and going on test-day pace, it’s going to be right up there. Last year, Corvette seemed off the pace at Le Mans, but it’s hit the ground running this season.
It looked very good at the Daytona 24 Hours, which was its first time out with the new C7 car. It’s already been competitive in the American races, and going on test-day pace, it’s going to be right up there. Last year, Corvette seemed off the pace at Le Mans, but it’s hit the ground running this season.