Ferrari winner GTE Pro class
16th - 17th June
The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2012 was an exciting races following speculation that Audi would walk it - so why be interested? Well around 8 in the evening the Audis were following the new Toyotas !
Both Toyotas went out not as might be expected from failures - it being a new team with an untried cars but from crashes.
Next the race was on within the Audis who tried to make things interesting by using the scenery as a bumper board ......... despite all the crashes Audi still finished 1-3 & 5th. Peugeot must have kicked themselves watching the chaotic Audi Team.
Audi brought 2 lighten versions of their 2011 car plus 2 cars fitted with additional 'recovery electric motors' running through front wheels called R-18 e-trons. Their only opposition was 2 untried Toyotas TS030 Hybrid's run by ORECA.
Practice proved the e-tron was fast by getting on pole. Audi gave the McNish trio and the last year winning trio the e-tons.
From the start Lotterer led but by lap 9 Rockenfeller was in pits with the light weight Audi then on lap 12 a puncture put the other light weight in pits. Next a lump of rubber jambed the suspension of the McNish car causing a delay.
Whilst this went on the last year winning trio kept the lead but Toyota were gaining confidence in their unraced car and Lapierrre took the lead at 7pm. The second Toyota came in for Anthony Davidson to take just as it caught the lead Audi. Towards the end of his stint hed was hit by a Ferrari flew into the air and crashed heavily breaking two vertebrae.
The race held up by caution car left the Nakajima car right behind the leading Audi - once unleashed the Toyota was all over the e--tron but sideswiped the Nissan triangle putting in the wall. The Toyota once repair never was as fast as before and retired on lap134.
McNish was lining up the lead when the Lotterer e-tron spun brushed the barrier got fixed under caution car and resumed lead only to later end up in the wall around 8am. Next McNish careered into the barrier avoiding a Ferrari. The damage repaired the car returned to the track with no hope of catching last years winning trio. 3pm and the Audis crossed the line as a group e-tron 1&2 light weight R-18s 3&5. 4th was a Lola Toyota 6th was David Brabham's JRM Honda.
The truly interesting result was the first win by a hybrid in sportscar racing.
Sports Car Races