Audi Takes Win at Grim 24 Hours of Le Mans
Photos courtesy of the Automobile Club de L’ouest
For the fourth consecutive year, Audi took first place at the 81st 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most famous endurance race in the world. The team, running an R18 powered by a turbodiesel V6, finished only one lap ahead of the second place Toyota team as well as a second Audi. The weekend was heavy with emotion, however, as a crash in the third lap led to the tragic death of Aston Martin racer Allan Simonsen.
Race cars at Le Mans are divided into 4 distinct groups with different restrictions on each. The LMP1 and LMP2 racers are prototype cars and are specifically created for the Le Mans series, while the GTE Pro and AM classes are based on production cars. The GT class was won by Porsche, running a 911 RSR in each of its teams, which both finished back-to-back; Porsche’s factory team had not had a class win since 1998.
Audi was able to overcome the harsh rain and biting Toyota team to finish in first, and the factory team took three places in the top 5. Audi’s Tom Kristensen earned his 9th Le Mans victory, and dedicated his performance to countryman Simonsen.
Allan Simonsen was a veteran of Le Mans, having raced at the famous track six times prior, and it was his second year racing for Aston Martin. In the past, he also raced for V8 Supercars and various FIA GT championships around the world. His death marks the first fatality at the endurance race since Sébastien Enjolras was killed in a pre-qualifying session in 1997. Our condolences to Allan Simonsen’s friends and family.