Thread: Audi takes the 2014 24 Hour of Le Mans victory in a hard fought race against Porsche and Toyota
06-17-2014, 01:17 AM #1
Audi takes the 2014 24 Hour of Le Mans victory in a hard fought race against Porsche and Toyota
The 2014 24 Hour of Le Mans is the most challenging year of competition for the famed endurance race in recent memory. It has been Audi's race to lose for some time but 2014 marked Porsche's return to the challenge for the overall victory. And put up a fight Porsche did with their awesome 919 Hybrid after a 16 year absence. Toyota also set a rapid pace with their TS040 car so nothing was given to anyone. Audi earned this one the old fashioned way.
This makes for the 13th Audi championship in sixteen 24 Hour of Le Mans attempts. It also makes for the fifth straight Audi victory and nine out of the last ten for an astonishing decade plus string of dominance.
Toyota led the race for 14 hours showing they came to play and play hard is what they did. Water came down hard and everyone struggled in the conditions as water soaked everything in sight. The water on the track led to several incidents one involving the #8 TSO40 Toyota and also leading to the #3 Audi needing to get fished off the track.
Audi was thankful it entered three cars as that certainly helped them stay in contention against Toyota. Bad luck hurt the #7 TSO40 as it had an electrical fire. It eventually succumbed to the fire and the car was done.
Porsche did take the lead with four hours remaining as Audi had trouble with its turbos and needed to replace the turbochargers on both remaining cars. Audi replaced the turbos quickly though and technical troubles did Porsche in. Their speed limited for the pits came on when out of the pits and racing which just seems sloppy. The other car was done in by brake issues leaving a 1-2 finish for Audi with Toyota coming in third.
This one could have gone several different ways but technical problems affected everyone. It just goes to show the strain of a 24 hour endurance race. Regardless, Audi takes yet another win and will not be going away anytime soon. Porsche has some problems to fix and Toyota looked like they had the fastest pace of all the teams early on so they will be tough to beat as well.
Congratulations Audi, you earned it.
In front of nearly 300,000 spectators, Audi continued its unique string of victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours. In the 82nd running of the world’s most important endurance race, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) and Lucas di Grassi/Marc Gené/Tom Kristensen (BR/E/DK) made for a one-two Audi victory.
It marked the 13th Le Mans success for the brand with the four rings in only 16 runs – and may have been the most valuable one to date, as Audi Sport Team Joest prevailed against massive competition by Le Mans returnee Porsche and Toyota in an extremely tough race that was completely open for a long time. The decision in favor of the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars was only made in the final phase.
“We’ve seen many exciting races and celebrated great victories at Le Mans but this success has a very special significance,” said Professor Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, following the triumphant finish by the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars. “We didn’t enter this race as favorites and in Porsche and Toyota had two very strong rivals. That we managed to win Le Mans again this time in spite of this is a fantastic achievement by the whole Audi squad. We’re tremendously happy and my thanks go to all who have made this success possible.”
“The new Le Mans regulations place an even greater focus on the efficiency of the race cars at Le Mans than before,” said Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, who as Board Member for Technical Development is responsible for the motorsport program of AUDI AG. “In the TDI, the world’s most efficient drive technology has prevailed at Le Mans yet again. At the same time, with our successful first use of the laser light, we continued our string of technological pioneering achievements at Le Mans. I’d like to thank everybody who has worked extremely hard for this success, above all of course the Audi Sport squad.”
For Audi, the Le Mans 24 Hours was billed as ‘Welcome Challenges’ – and there were plenty of them in the 82nd running of the famous endurance race for the brand with the four rings. Following a serious accident of Loïc Duval in Wednesday’s free practice, Audi Sport Team Joest had to prepare the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in record time again from scratch and to replace Loïc Duval with Marc Gené. That this team was on course for victory on Sunday morning says everything about the feat performed by the mechanics. However, in the end, the change of an injector and a turbocharger narrowly prevented this fairy tale from coming true. With a gap of three laps Lucas di Grassi, Marc Gené and Tom Kristensen took second place.
Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer took the lead for the first time on Sunday morning, shortly after 5 a.m., after having put consistent pressure throughout the night on the Toyota that had been leading for a long time. As the turbocharger had to be changed on their R18 as well, car #2 temporarily dropped to third place before moving back to the front in a remarkable recovery during which André Lotterer also set the fastest race lap of 3m 22.567s.
Major misfortune was suffered by the squad of the third Audi R18 e-tron quattro with Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis. Following a strong early phase, car number ‘3’ during a safety car period in pouring rain, was hit in the rear at high speed by a GT Ferrari on the Hunaudières straight. The powertrain of the R18 was so heavily damaged in the incident that Marco Bonanomi was forced to retire after just an hour and a half.
In the hectic first hours, the fascinating Le Mans prototypes of Audi, Porsche and Toyota were fighting captivating duels on the Le Mans high-speed circuit that kept the spectators in awe. The fans experienced one of the most gripping races in Le Mans history until noon on Sunday. The decision in favor of Audi was only made in the penultimate hour.
“It was a race of the kind you can only experience at Le Mans,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “There were many incidents and none of the top cars made it across the distance without any problems. The decisive factors were that our Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars were able to drive consistently fast for 24 hours, our drivers made no mistakes and our squad responded properly and quickly to the issues that occurred. In Porsche and Toyota we had two really strong rivals who, as expected, did not make life easy for us. I always believed that, in spite of the particularly difficult prerequisites for us this year, we’d be able to succeed and that we’ve got the most efficient race car. That we succeeded again makes me feel proud. ‘Thanks’ also from me to the whole squad, but to our Management Board and our Group as well that make it possible for us to demonstrate ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ at le Mans year after year. But I also express my respect for the performance delivered by Porsche on their return to Le Mans.”
For Audi, this marked the 13th victory in the ‘24 Heures,’ the eighth one with TDI Power and the third one with a hybrid race car. The team of Reinhold Joest celebrated its 15th success in the world’s most important endurance race. Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer, after 2011 and 2012, achieved their third Le Mans triumph.
06-17-2014, 02:07 AM #2Member
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The only sports car race that matters all year.
Audi builds a tank. The other manufacturers just don't get, your car needs to finish the race.
06-17-2014, 02:24 AM #3
06-17-2014, 02:34 AM #4Member
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Same procedure as every year...
Audi went very conservative with their car, opting for the 2MJ energy class while Toyota and Porsche took bigger risks in the 6MJ class. Sadly these risks didn't get rewarded.E92 335i SB / Black Leather / 6AT / Navi Prof / Sunroof / Active Steering
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06-17-2014, 02:42 AM #5
This energy class stuff is new to me. But why the same as every year? Isn't this the third year Audi entered a hybrid?
06-17-2014, 09:10 AM #6Member
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06-17-2014, 09:25 AM #7
Audi's victory was partially based on luck, but mostly on strategy.
Having 3 cars in competition is fairly essential for securing victory.
Also, for some reason the Audi's all qualified very conservative, lapping consistently 2 seconds below the qualifying laptime for hour on end (3:23 instead of 3:25).
Very impressive even with all the traffic they had to constantly pass.
Porsche on the other hand had a glory qualifying time of 3:23, which they were not able to drive during the race, thus losing time in every lap.
Toyota really needed 3 cars. Then they would have won.
Their first team was almost 2 laps in the lead when struck by the electrical fire. So close and yet so far...
It was a pity the nr1 Audi suffered turbo problems also, or Kristensen would have won for the 10th time!
He now "only" came in second.
It was an awesome race, and the night was not boring at all, with the battle in the GT Pro series with the Pointiacs, Ferrari 458and Aston Martin battling all night for first place.
I had a great weekend watching this!There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works
06-17-2014, 07:22 PM #8
07-16-2014, 04:53 PM #9The Maddog Himself
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I know I'm pretty late to this party but I recently read this article and thought you people (I mean that in the most condescending way possible) would find it interesting.
For their first year they were really close to winning. There was going to be a battle between them and Audi for the win at the end. Their disadvantage - in my understanding - is their concept for the engine and the turbo. They are really on the edge with it. It's a small engine and you're stressing it more than a big engine. Also, they are doing energy recovery on the exhaust, too, which will always be less reliable than the ones on the braking system, because it involves high needs. Many things can go wrong with that system. That's my understanding as an outsider.
I think Toyota made the right decision with their hybrid system. They haven't gone extremely conservative with the design, they are not able to bypass the hybrid if it fails. So when it breaks, it's done and it's my philospohy as well. They didn't have a major issue, they had a small electric problem that can happen to anybody and does happen every now and then. I think they would have deserved to win this year, because they had a fast and reliable car, and yes, they had this issue, which is not a fundamental one.
07-16-2014, 05:14 PM #10