June 18 and 19
The 2005 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 73rd Grand Prix of Endurance, This race marked the record 7th victory for Tom Kristensen, including his 6th straight.
The 2005 race saw exceptionally hot weather, with temperatures over 30°C. This hot weather would cause a high rate of mechanical failures as well as several race incidents. However, the Pescarolo Sports took the lead at start with No.16 running exceptionally faster of the two. Due to Audi using an older chassis which did not meet hybrid regulations, the R8s were much slower over a lap due to a small air restrictor on the engine and penalty weights. This caused slow top speeds down the straights, while the GT1 class was closer than ever in 2005 in terms of trap speeds and the Aston Martins were comparable to the Audi LMP this year. Audi therefore had to attempt to outwit the Pescarolos on reliability instead of overall speed.
The No.17 Pescarolo was plagued by incidents throughout the race, hitting a Panoz then suffering a tire failure that damaged the rear bodywork. All of these misadventures happened while Soheil Ayari was driving, while his teammate Sébastien Loeb proved to be able to drive as fast as his teammates for his first race on a closed track.
The No.16 lost the lead eventually due to a gearbox failure causing a long pit stop, falling well back before managing to reach second position again at sunrise, establishing a lap record in the night. The Pescarolo was lapping fairly consistently at approximately five seconds per lap faster than the Audi, meaning if it kept up the pace the finish promised to be extremely close.
Unfortunately Pescarolo came in for a pit stop and was pulled into the garage to deal with overheating issues. The car was back onto the track quickly, with Érik Comas as driver. The Audi now had a two lap lead, and the Pescarolo was unable to maintain its lapping speed in order to avoid overheating, dashing all hopes of beating the Audi on the track.
Taking the win, Tom Kristensen set an absolute record of seven victories including six in a row, pulling ahead of legend Jacky Ickx who has a total of 6 wins.
Sports Car Races