involved in the race any more – and that
was a lot [because the two other Audis
were long since retired] – and we were all
talking about what we should do,” recalls
Juttner. “We took input from wherever it
Juttner remembers asking Tom
Kristensen, whose Audi had been crashed
out of the race by teammate Allan
McNish in the early stages, for his opinion.
rubber he was able to extend his advantage
before easing off in the final stages.
What was not known to the team at
the time was that Lotterer had initially
misinterpreted the pit signals and
believed he was in second position. That
might have explained his pace over the
first couple of laps out of the pits.
Lotterer also played a part in the story
of a bizarre “race” where the intuition and
instinct of a driver with local knowledge
was overruled by technology. The result
was the loss of a victory of sorts.
The Fuji round of the WEC in October
2013 began in heavy rain, then was twice
stopped before a final restart that was
nothing more than a trip once around the
2.83-mile Japanese track to take the field
back to parc ferme. A lap had not been
run under green-flag conditions, yet the
pole-winning Audi was down the field in
a lowly 26th position.
Lotterer’s R18 e-tron quattro had
developed a turbo boost problem at the
start. The weather forecast available to
Team Joest suggested the rain was going
to ease, but Lotterer and teammate
Treluyer, another veteran of the Japanese
racing scene, weren’t so sure about that.
They knew all about the vagaries of the
microclimate of a track that sits in the
shadow of Mount Fuji.
The brain trust on the pitwall won the
argument over the man in the cockpit
and brought Lotterer in. There were three
quick pit stops, and the problem was
solved without the loss of a lap. Joest
would have looked like heroes had the
rain eased, the track dried out and the
race started in earnest. Only, it didn’t...
“We, the guys who’d raced in Japan,
thought it would have been better to stay
out and take a chance,” said Lotterer
afterwards, “and we turned out to be right.”
Information displayed on a computer
screen got the nod on that occasion, but
Juttner is thankful that the people in the
LMP1 teams still have a role to play.
“There are still situations when no
computer can give you the correct
answer on what to do,” he says. “And
thank God for that, because otherwise we
would all lose the joy of doing the job.”
“It sounds so much better
to have 40 seconds rather
than 14. But in the end it
was the right call”
(LEFT) When Audi’s
telemetry picked up
a tire pressure
problem in the No. 2
R18 at Le Mans in
2011, a snap decision
to stay out gave its
last bullet in the
gun a close-fought
The other shoe falls...
Fuji 2013, and Audi’s
decision to bring in
Andre Lotterer to fix
a turbo boost glitch
cost a strong finish.
“Tom told me, ‘give him four new tires,
give him sharp weapons.’ He said that if it
came down to a fight, it would give Andre
the edge he needed.
“That was a big decision because when
you have vital seconds in hand, you do not
want to give them away. It sounds so much
better to have 40 seconds rather than 14.
But in the end it was the right call.”
The Peugeot stopped on the same lap
as the Audi and continued on the same
tires for a third stint. Lotterer’s lead was
cut to approximately 10sec, but on fresh
German will race at
Le Mans with Marcel
Fassler and Benoit
Treluyer as his Audi
Sport Team Joest
teammates for a
time. In their first six
starts together, the
trio earned three
wins, a second,
third and a fifth.