a moving tribUte
A year after the devastating loss of
popular Dane Allan Simonsen at Le Mans,
Aston Martin Racing dedicated a victory in
the Pro-Am class to its fallen driver.
The No. 95 GTE-Am class Vantage, driven
this year by Kristian Poulsen, Nicki Thiim and
David Heinemeir Hansson, was the entry in
which Simonsen lost his life in the early
stages of last year’s race. Poulsen, who had
also partnered Simonsen at the 24 Hours in
2012, admitted he had doubts over
returning to Le Mans, but did so to honor
With the drop of the green flag, 16-year-old Matt
McMurry became the youngest starter in the long
history of Le Mans, breaking the record set by the
17-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez in 1959. 24 hours
later, he was the race’s all-time youngest finisher, too.
the memory of his fellow Dane. The result
was cathartic for both driver and team.
“It has been a tough week for all of us,”
said Poulsen. “To be honest, the first laps
at Tertre Rouge [where Simonsen crashed
last year] I felt it was a bad idea. But we had
the spirit of Allan – he told us to get started
and to win the race.”
Darren Turner, whose bid for victory in
GTE-Pro Aston was thwarted by mechanical
troubles, still shared the sentiment. “It was
really one for the team,” he said.
Safety measures at
Tertre Rouge, scene of
Allan Simonsen’s 2013
crash, were enhanced
for this year’s race. The
Armco barrier was
moved away from a row
trees, allowing it to flex
and absorb energy in an
impact, and two-layer
tire barriers were added.
Others were faster but Audi still ruled Le Mans...again
“Audi wins Le Mans” isn’t a headline
that generates much surprise, as this
June’s 82nd running of the grand old
endurance race marked the 13th time it
fit the occasion, and the 10th in 11 years.
But this time Audi Sport Team Joest’s
R18 e-tron quattros weren’t the fastest;
they were, however, the best combination
of speed, endurance and teamwork.
Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and
Benoit Treluyer scored their third overall
win in four years with the No. 2 Audi,
which was followed home by a brand-new
sister car that had been built after the
primary No. 1 R18 was destroyed in a
crash during practice. Both cars had to
overcome lengthy delays to replace failed
turbochargers, but the Audi package –
which relies more on its V6 turbodiesel
than the complex hybrid systems of rivals
Toyota and Porsche – still demonstrated
superior reliability over the course of
24 hours, which proved decisive in
securing the marque’s latest 1-2 result.
“It was really a tough one and I’m
really proud because we did a proper
job,” said Audi Sport boss Dr. Wolfgang
Ullrich. “The championship is at a very
high level and I’m proud we could win this
race because it’s a special one.”
With its 13th 24 Hours of Le Mans
win, Audi is now just three short of
Porsche’s all-time record for overall
victories at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
A little extra pressure on Porsche’s
newly renewed prototype program...
All the latest sports car news at Audi No. 1 had a star-crossed buildup to the
race, but outlasted Porsche’s debutant 919
(BELOW) and Toyota’s pace-setting TS040.