An American tale Robertson Racing
starred behind the works GT cars, taking
third in a Ford GT. Dave Robertson shared
the drive with wife Andrea, who was the
first female on the podium since 1931.
It might be billed as an “endurance” race but you won’t convince winners Fassler, Lotterer and Treluyer, as they had to run flat-out over the last third of the race.
AUDI UP TO THE CHALLENGE
The company’s latest prototype defeats its turbodiesel rival
from Peugeot after an epic battle at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Benoit Treluyer, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler won
the Le Mans 24 Hours at a very necessary gallop for
The No. 9 Peugeot 908 of Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien
Bourdais and Pedro Lamy crossed the line 13.854sec behind the
winning No. 2 Audi R18, and had that car’s drivers not gone
flat-out throughout to make up for their car’s marginal deficit
in range, this race could easily have gone the other way.
For fans of statistics, this is the fourth closest Le Mans
finish of all time, and will certainly go down as one of the
classics. It was a race packed with – and marred by – incidents,
two of which accounted for the withdrawal of front-running
Audis, both involving entrants from the GTE Pro class. This left
the No. 2 car exposed to the full might of
Peugeot’s factory attack, and its trio were
instructed to drive flat-out to the finish.
TOO FAST TOO SOON,
OR FAILING TO YIELD?
Multiple wrecks, multiple
questions at Le Mans
The numerous crashes at Le Mans
added fuel to a rising fire about overly
aggressive driving on the part of LMP
drivers (according to GT racers) and
inattention on the part of GT drivers
(according to the prototype pilots).
“Sometimes, it seems we are
completely invisible to them when they
are lapping us. They drive as if we
weren’t even there,” complained
Porsche driver Nicolas Armindo.
Allan McNish said that he didn’t feel
his pass on Anthony Beltoise that
ended in his huge crash in Audi No. 3
early in the race was over-ambitious.
“From where I was sitting going into
that corner, there was not one bit of me
that thought I was going to have a crash,”
said McNish, who walked away (BELOW)
from the massive shunt. “Anthony said
that he didn’t see me at all, but I kept well
to the right-hand side so that he had as
much vision as possible.”
Audi team principal Wolfgang Ullrich
rebuffed suggestions that poor visibility
in the closed-cockpit R18 TDI contributed
to crashes by two of the three Audis.
Waltrip and his spectacular-sounding Ferrari 458 had an unfortunately brief run at Le Mans, but he NaScar vet was left hungry for more.
A LONG, STRANGE TRIP...A WALTRIP
A two-time Daytona 500 winner afoot in France
Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael
Waltrip says he would love to return to
the Le Mans 24 Hours after an eventful
first outing at La Sarthe in an AF Corse-run Ferrari 458 in the GT AM class.
The 48-year-old NASCAR veteran,
who also drove in the 24 Hours of Spa
last summer, was forced to retire after
178 laps with a differential failure in
the GTE AM car he shared with Rui
Aguas and Robert Kauffman, but
described the experience as being like
nothing he had seen before in racing.
“It’s just amazing,” he said. “It’s
just a sea of humanity. I’ve never seen
so many people in one spot. I think it’s
really cool how everybody hangs
around and celebrates.”
Asked what he would take away most
from the experience, Waltrip replied:
“Well, just the speed is what I will
remember the most. Let’s break it down...
they’re running 186mph on a two-lane
country road through a town. Add all that
s**t up and something is probably going