An eventful weekend saw Audi clinch its 13th overall victory at the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans through a stunning 1-2 finish, with Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer in the No.2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro laying claim to the top step of the podium.
The No. 1 Audi piloted by Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gene and Tom Kristensen came second. The car was completely rebuilt following a heavy collision in practice on Wednesday with Loic Duval – who is thankfully unharmed – driving. Gene replaced the Frenchman, who was deemed unfit to participate, for the race.
Crashes and reliability problems beset all three works LMP1 teams, with the latter taking out the No. 7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid that had been leading the race beforehand at the 15th hour. The remaining No. 8 Toyota driven by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Lapierre finished third, after being involved in an accident in the second hour that wiped out the No. 3 Audi.
Audi was not spared from reliability problems either, with both remaining cars having turbocharger problems one after the other, but still managed to hold on to the lead.
As for Porsche on its first race back into top-flight competition since 1998, both cars were plagued with drivetrain problems near the end of the race. The No. 14 Porsche 919 Hybrid eventually came in 11th, while the No. 20 car that was earlier chasing for the lead (and in which Mark Webber made his return to the circuit after 11 years in Formula 1) retired from the race.
Elsewhere, the No. 38 Jota Sport Nissan-powered Zytek Z11SN driven by Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Oliver Turney claimed victory in the LMP2 class, the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 piloted by Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander finished first in the GTE Pro class and the No. 95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE driven by David Heinemeier Hansson, Kristian Poulsen and Nicki Thiim won the GTE Am class.
What happened to this year’s experimental Garage 56 entry, you may ask? Well, the Nissan ZEOD RC managed to complete its goals of completing a lap of the 13.6 km Circuit de la Sarthe and hitting 300 km/h using electric power alone. Unfortunately, the gearbox expired just 24 minutes into the race, forcing the hybrid into retirement.