Currently reading: Audi triumphs over Porsche and Toyota at the Le Mans 24 Hours
The Ingolstadt manufacturer racks up its 13th victory at La Sarthe after a tense battle with Toyota and Porsche
Matt Burt
News
3 mins read
15 June 2014

Audi has taken its 13th victory at a thrilling Le Mans 24 Hours after a strong challenge from Porsche and Toyota ended when the lead cars from both manufacturers hit trouble on Sunday morning.

The number two Audi R18 E-tron Quattro of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer finished first in the endurance race, ahead of the number one sister car of Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and Tom Kristensen.

For most of the race Toyota's TS040 Hybrid appeared to have the advantage over Audi and Porsche on raw pace, but the number eight car was caught up in a dramatic multi-car accident during a heavy rain storm on Saturday afternoon.

The same incident accounted for the number three Audi of Felipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis after it was struck from behind by a GT car at high-speed.

Unlike the Audi, the Japanese machine was able to continue after repairs in the pits, and Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sébastien Buemi recovered to claim third place by the end.

The number seven Toyota, which had qualified on pole position, led for most of the night in the hands of Alexander Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima, but it fell victim to an electrical malady in the early hours of Sunday.

Porsche's number 20 car, driven by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, traded the lead with the number two Audi on Sunday morning, but shortly after Webber had climbed aboard the 919 Hybrid, an engine problem forced him to bring the car back into the pits, where it was retired.

That left the number two Audi in the lead ahead of the number one car. The latter car's performance was remarkable considering the car had to be completely rebuilt after Loïc Duval had an enormous accident at the Porsche Curves in practice. Duval was ruled unfit to start by Le Mans officials, and Gené was drafted in to substitute for him.

The number 14 Porsche of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finished the race in 11th position, having been delayed by fuel flow problems in the early stages of the event and further mechanical issues in the closing stages of the event.

Victory in the LMP2 category went to the Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan of Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turvey.

Ferrari won the GTE Pro class, with the AF Corse entry of Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander taking the spoils in their 458 Italia.

GTE Am fell to Aston Martin. The factory-entered car of David Heinemeier Hansson, Kristian Poulsen and Nicki Thiim was first home in their Vantage V8.

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AddyT 17 June 2014

Whoa!

Around 2am so about 12 hours in the Toyota was around the 3 minute 10 mark approx ahead of the Audi. So not 2 minutes and considering how fast the Audis are, roughly a lap ahead that's not bad going. The gap last year from memory I think was about a lap at the end so yes, margins are small and therefore I don't see what your problem is to be fair! When they first introduced diesels racing there I thought they'd be onto something which they were clearly! I'm not defending Toyota anyway, I'm simply saying that it was ahead and was quicker...and I did also say they need to sort their reliability out! Chill out friend it's no biggie! :-)
disco.stu 16 June 2014

Fantastic race and championship

The WEC is probably the most interesting championship in the world right now. Three manufacturer works efforts going head-to-head (with Nissan returning next year as well) with very different drivetrain systems, yet they produce a compelling and close race over 24 hours. There were so many stories within the race weekend that any outcome would be a fairytale. Toyota desperate to win after so many attempts as far back as the 1980s. Audi recovering from the massive accident to #1 on Wednesday. Porsche's long-awaited return to La Sarthe.

Despite all the 21st century tech (or rather, because of it), the race was an old-school battle of attrition. Each of the three manufacturers had a genuine shot at winning at one point or another, but once again Audi Team Joest prevailed despite a conservative tech decision, distraction of a massive practice accident and turbo failures on both podium cars. One of their best wins ever.

AddyT 16 June 2014

Agreed that WEC is the most

Agreed that WEC is the most interesting championship at the moment and it was indeed fascinating to see it play out and how different technologies and approaches by the manufacturers represented such a close battle.
But sorry have to disagree on your Audi TJ loving comments at the end. I would say they won mainly down to luck (which of course everyone had, good or bad), a huge unrelenting budget spent on their technologies and resources and they run three cars! No one else runs three cars. So when one of their cars is out of the race early on, they still had two left, and yes even if they had had two cars thus going down to one, they probably would still have won. But the psychological pressure on the team as a whole would be much greater going down to just one. It's not Audi's fault the lead Toyota broke down but for a fan it's massively frustrating as they clearly had the Audi's licked for pace all weekend and very annoyingly couldn't get the lead car to the end! So fair play to Audi for winning - your comment about one of their best wins ever just grates to be honest as I think for example it was a "better" win when they prevailed over Peugeot a few years ago. This year they had more consistency than the others and of course consistency is key in a 24 hour race, but be under no illusions, one rival will improve whilst the other is already quicker - they've just got to sort their reliability out!
disco.stu 17 June 2014

AddyT wrote:It's not Audi's

AddyT wrote:

It's not Audi's fault the lead Toyota broke down but for a fan it's massively frustrating as they clearly had the Audi's licked for pace all weekend and very annoyingly couldn't get the lead car to the end!

They did, but Toyota has previous there too. In 1998 and 1999, they had a very fast car with the magnificent GT-One, but on both occasions they failed to finish.

And I was actually cheering for Porsche (specifically Webber), not Audi. But you can't deny Team Joest as one of the all-time great operators at Le Mans, even before they ran Audi's works team.

skiwi 17 June 2014

Huh?

"Clearly licked for pace" What????

Toyota were less than 2 minutes up the road from Audi after 12 hours of racing??? And which car melted it's wiring loom it was generating so much heat? At night???

Credit where it is due. Audi chose the 2MJ route, and diesel technology and most people thought them stupid. They were right, and we were wrong.

It's not the first time for Audi. They've got previous. 2008 anyone?

Leslie Brook 16 June 2014

disco.stu wrote:The WEC is

disco.stu wrote:

The WEC is probably the most interesting championship in the world right now. Three manufacturer works efforts going head-to-head (with Nissan returning next year as well) with very different drivetrain systems, yet they produce a compelling and close race over 24 hours. There were so many stories within the race weekend that any outcome would be a fairytale. Toyota desperate to win after so many attempts as far back as the 1980s. Audi recovering from the massive accident to #1 on Wednesday. Porsche's long-awaited return to La Sarthe.

Despite all the 21st century tech (or rather, because of it), the race was an old-school battle of attrition. Each of the three manufacturers had a genuine shot at winning at one point or another, but once again Audi Team Joest prevailed despite a conservative tech decision, distraction of a massive practice accident and turbo failures on both podium cars. One of their best wins ever.

I have to put in a good word for the Aussie V8's. I watch the races on youtube and they really are good.

Symanski 18 June 2014

Aussie V8.

Leslie Brook wrote:

I have to put in a good word for the Aussie V8's. I watch the races on youtube and they really are good.

I've watched a few races on Motors TV etc. Definitely good racing. I've recommended it to friends as a more exciting alternative to F1 and with proper engines that you just don't get in BTCC any longer. Perhaps I should go see when it's on since F1 2014 is over!

LP in Brighton 16 June 2014

Terriffic race

Let's not loose sight of the fact that this was a great closely contested battle between three global brands all using markedly different powertrain configurations. Much more interesting than F1, where everyone has much the same equipment, just detail differences and different budgets.
Can't wait for next year's race!