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Audi Sport Team Joest secured a 1-2 victory in the 82nd Le Mans 24 hours, With Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer racing the #2 car to victory ahead of the #1 Audi Sport Team Joest entry of Tom Kristensen, Marc Gene and Lucas Di Grassi.

Audi’s victory symbolises the first victory for the 2014 specification R18 E-tron Quattro, ahead of race favourites Toyota. The race was not a flawless one, heavy attrition throughout the field, Issues for all three of the factory LMP1 teams as well as Rebellion Racing led to what became a thrilling 24 hours of Le Mans.

The fun started on Saturday afternoon, with the early laps of the race being similar to a sprint race rather than an endurance event, then the rain fell and things dramatically changed. Lappiere, Bononomi and Sam Bird unfortunately got caught up in a worrying accident in poor conditions where by the Toyota, driven by Lappiere, aquaplaned and collected both the Audi LMP1 and the Ferrari GTE am entries, eliminating Audi #3 and the Ferrari 458 from the race.

From then on, we had a lot of attrition, pit stops and garage visits. Both remaining Audi’s spending prolonged time in the pits to exchange the turbocharger units, as well as adjusting the aerodynamic balance.

As the race progressed, Audi’s rivals also suffered issues with Toyota’s #7 entry stopped out on track around the 14 hour mark after dominating up front for a large percentage of the race, and the #8 car suffering various issues although ultimately finishing the race in 3rd.

Porsche’s debut at Le mans was rather successful if you consider that until Le Mans, Porsche had not been able to complete a six hour WEC round. For the cars to last into the 22nd and 23rd hour, was impressive. The #14 car had its fair share of issues throughout the race with the final issue that eventually brought it in being reportedly related to the gearbox. The car did however manage to re-enter the track on the final lap for a lap of honour.

The #20 car whilst running 2nd did lead the race on a couple of occasions, Unfortunately its race came to an end in the 23rd hour with electrical problems, which was a great shame for Neel Jani, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard who put on a fantastic performance for Porsche.

Rebellion’s day at Le Mans was only the second ever race of the Rebellion R-ONE, The small privateer LMP1-l Team had one car retire whilst the #12, despite spending some time in the garage due to engine issues, did finish the race in an impressive 4th position.

In P2, the stars of the race really was the #35 Ligier JS P2 team run by Oak Racing. Alex Brundle put in an incredible stint in that car, and for the most part of the race, it ran upfront in class, often shadowed by the Thiriet by TDS racing JS P2 throughout the race. Unfortunately the car suffered mechanical issues late in the running and although it made it back to the garage, the problems continued. Thiriet by TDS had its own issues with the cars suspension which led to it retaking the lead, although as the Thiriet entry was repaired, and a charging JOTA Sport caught up, the Oak racing entry fell down the order and eventually pitted with JOTA passing both cars and claiming class victory.

In GTE PRO, the battle throughout the race was immense. Corvette, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche all had close battles throughout the 24 hour with the best battles between Aston Martin and Ferrari’s #51 entry, with the two dueling for several hours of the race.

The battle was interrupted at one point due to the pit stop sequence although it re-commenced in the early hours of this morning. Unfortunately due to the Aston Martin having mechanical issues and having to visit the pits, we never saw the true outcome to the battle, although huge congratulations go to AF Corse’s #51 entry.

In GTE AM, Aston Martin did secure victory with the #95 entry claiming class honours, the run was not clear for them either, with mechanical factors playing a crucial part although congratulations on overcoming and claiming the class win.

Overall the 24 hours of Le mans 2014 treated us with tales of attrition, immense on track battles, unusual reliability factors for the Prototype teams up front and a race that built throughout the 24 hours to come down to the chase from Audi on the Porsche’s. It was overall a fantastic race and I believe a Le Mans that will be remembered for the right reasons for long to come.

  • The4kbeast

    I would have loved to see the #7 on the podium, but was relieved #8 got back up to the third step. Congrats on the win Audi, but don’t watch your mirrors too much or you’ll be staring at the rear of a Toyota next year.

    • Tom Firth

      Yeah, It does just show though that going to Le Mans as the favourites and the fastest going into it, doesn’t mean your 100% going to win, as I think Toyota found out this weekend. I would be more worried about Porsche than Toyota next year in many ways, given that until the last hour in it’s first year Porsche where still in the hunt to win. A revised second year car could well be enough.

  • Manuel G

    It would be really cool if you guys did a podcast on the le mans 24h, feelings on the racing, cars, some opinion on the heartbreaking porsche and toyota DNF’s etc.

    • Tom Firth

      Check out the Oppolock Le Mans live podcasts on here, Todd (Negative Camber), Andy (FranticF1) , Adaptable1 from the forum and myself talk during and after the Le Mans 24 hours :)

      • Manuel G

        oh… thanks :P

  • Thoroughly enjoyable. It was riveting watching the other categories (thanks for pointers Tom Firth), learning about some of the GTE teams. Is this race representative of WEC events or Le Mans in general? Didn’t know what I was missing…

    Of course, LMP1-H was a highlight; although my favored team failed in its goal of running the entire 24 hours, a hearty well-done to Porsche for relative competitiveness, some late race drama, and completing over 22 hours in a new car. Impressive grit from Toyota after early race maladies. And, a resounding congratulations to Audi. Rebuilding #1 twice, overcoming in-race mechanical issues, never over-reacting to the Porsche threat… It showed why Ingolstadt’s owned WEC of late.

    Cool technology, a bevy of decent commentary, and multiple viewing/consumption options; I’m a new fan.

    • Tom Firth

      It is representative in terms of what to expect from the races, however the WEC grid is much smaller than the Le Mans grid, from around 55 to between 29-31 cars, but yes the racing in general and the format is very much in line with the spirit of Le Mans, only in a 6 hour format instead.

      All of the factory LMP1 teams are present, although Audi drops back to two cars. The only factory team that is missing in GTE PRO is Corvette, who return to TUSC in the USA. You also have far less P2 cars, this years been tough for full season WEC P2 entrants, due to various issues, although I expect that to bounce back next year. The basic concept and how the races are portrayed is exactly the same though, and its still well worth viewing.

      Coverage wise, I think FOX show the races in the USA, The alternative is the WEC took a controversial PPV approach this year, which means its website streaming is a subscription based service, although typically the streaming has been very strong so if your interested, its worth looking at. Alternatively , its available in app format too. Check http://www.fiawec.com/live for more information. We have 5 WEC rounds left this year at COTA, Fuji, Shanghai, Bahrain and Sao Paulo. Silverstone and Spa where before Le Mans. The only one thing I will say is the streaming doesn’t offer a DVR format, so seeing it live is the only option, which is frustrating.

      If you want free coverage of a sportscar series, ELMS is a good alternative, Whilst Radiolemans also provide free audio streaming of WEC. describing ELMS as the GP2 of sportscars is a little wrong but basically ELMS has no P1 class , P2 is the lead class and are alot of P2 entrants in it, most of which you saw at Le Mans.
      It’s GT classes are different too, With no Pro/Am. There’s a class for GTE and one called GTC which is FIA GT3 spec cars so from a GT perspective, it has alot more variety, It offers free online video streaming and uses a 5 race 4 hour format. The remaining rounds for those guys are the Red Bull Ring, Paul Ricard and Estoril.

      It’s basically Europe’s version of TUSC in many a way, The ladder idea is that the regional championships are ELMS, TUSC and ASlms (Asian Le mans) and the World Championship is above them in WEC. all of which feed into the Le Mans 24, however been a full season WEC entrant, grants you an entry to Le mans, whilst the others are technically speaking invitational.

      The next WEC race is ridiculously, not whilst september at Cota, The next ELMS round is July 19-20th at the Red Bull ring and the next TUSC round is next weekend at Watkins glen, with the 6 hours of the glen. Excuse the long response.

  • I was rooting for Porsche who had a great first showing. Too bad they couldn’t at least rescue a podium spot. 2015 ftw.