Automotive

Porsche claims victory at Le Mans

Porsche took out a 1-2 victory at Le Mans
Porsche took out a 1-2 victory at Le Mans
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Audi's drivers celebrating post-race
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Audi's drivers celebrating post-race
Audi's cars struggled for reliabilty in the race
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Audi's cars struggled for reliabilty in the race
Audi has been dominant over the last decade and a half at Le Mans
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Audi has been dominant over the last decade and a half at Le Mans
Audi's cars all lost time to mechanical issues throughout the race
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Audi's cars all lost time to mechanical issues throughout the race
Porsche took out a 1-2 victory at Le Mans
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Porsche took out a 1-2 victory at Le Mans
The winners were a lap clear of second place
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The winners were a lap clear of second place
Porsche's 919 Hybrid proved too reliable for Audi
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Porsche's 919 Hybrid proved too reliable for Audi
Audi's R18 e-tron in the pits at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in the pits at Le Mans
Audi couldn't get the job done at Le Mans in 2015
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Audi couldn't get the job done at Le Mans in 2015
Audi may not have won the race, but still managed to set a new in-race lap record
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Audi may not have won the race, but still managed to set a new in-race lap record
Audi's R18 e-tron flies through the night at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron flies through the night at Le Mans
Audi was quick, but couldn't get the job done at Le Mans this year
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Audi was quick, but couldn't get the job done at Le Mans this year
Although it's a long race, the pit crews have to be alert and ready for action at all times
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Although it's a long race, the pit crews have to be alert and ready for action at all times
Audi's pit garage is a hive of activity
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Audi's pit garage is a hive of activity
The R18 e-tron suffered issues with its hybrid system during the race
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The R18 e-tron suffered issues with its hybrid system during the race
Le Mans has become a testing ground for all manner of hybrid systems, and Audi has been dominant over the last decade
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Le Mans has become a testing ground for all manner of hybrid systems, and Audi has been dominant over the last decade
Audi's drivers go for a quick change during the race
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Audi's drivers go for a quick change during the race
The 24 Hour race throws up challenges that no other format can mirror
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The 24 Hour race throws up challenges that no other format can mirror
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
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Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Toyota took out last year's World Endurance Championship
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Toyota took out last year's World Endurance Championship
The Toyota proved reliable, but lacked outright pace
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The Toyota proved reliable, but lacked outright pace
Toyota suffered a disappointing campaign
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Toyota suffered a disappointing campaign
Porsche claimed its 17th Le Mans victory
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Porsche claimed its 17th Le Mans victory
Porsche showed good pace at night
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Porsche showed good pace at night
Mark Webber's car was unable to regain the time lost to a 1 minute penalty
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Mark Webber's car was unable to regain the time lost to a 1 minute penalty
The 919 Hybrid's V4 turbo engine and hyrbid system proved reliable throughout the race
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The 919 Hybrid's V4 turbo engine and hyrbid system proved reliable throughout the race
Le Mans LMP1 has become a battle of the hybrid systems
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Le Mans LMP1 has become a battle of the hybrid systems
Porsche's victory was its 17th at Le Mans
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Porsche's victory was its 17th at Le Mans
The victorious Porsche at Le Mans
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The victorious Porsche at Le Mans

After a decade and a half of Audi dominance at Circuit de la Sarthe, Porsche has scored a convincing 1-2 victory in this year's Le Mans 24 hour. The #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid with its unorthodox turbocharged V4 engine proved too reliable for the Audi R18 e-tron, which set a new in-race lap record but couldn't recover laps lost to mechanical problems.

Porsche looked strong throughout the race with Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley's 919 Hybrid fighting for the lead early in the race, before a one-minute penalty for overtaking under yellow flag cost them the lead. Their car finished in second place, unable to make up the time lost serving the penalty. After missing out on the top step of the podium, Mark Webber was impressed by the pace the race winners showed.

"The guys in the number 19 car did a great job. All three of them were exceptional for 24 hours. Especially at night, the number 19 was quick," Webber said. "It is a big day for Porsche. We have had a smooth race, but in the end weren’t quick enough. Brendon and Timo did a great job. We are very proud for Porsche. If we can’t win we obviously want it to be within the team.”

Mark Webber's car was unable to regain the time lost to a 1 minute penalty
Mark Webber's car was unable to regain the time lost to a 1 minute penalty

While Audi's Le Mans entrants have taken out the past five Le Mans 24 Hour races by combining solid in-race pace with unshakable reliability, the 2015 R18 e-tron struggled with a number of mechanical issues. Third-placed finishers Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoît Tréluyer's R18 was battling for the lead when a large section of the bonnet flew off, costing 6 minutes 56 seconds, while Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis, who finished in fourth, lost four minutes after hitting the wall trying to avoid slow traffic in Indianapolis.

It was the R18's complex hybrid system that caused problems for Filipe Albuquerque, Marco Bonanomi and rookie René Rast – the car's front-left driveshaft needed to be replaced with three hours left in the race, ultimately consigning the car to seventh place.

Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans
Audi's R18 e-tron in action at Le Mans

Audi's Head of Motorsports, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, was pleased with the competitive effort his cars put in, but was left ruing the mechanical troubles that ultimately stopped the team pushing for a win.

“Unfortunately, each of our three cars had at least one crucial incident," Ullrich said after the race. "And when you’re pitted against a strong rival like Porsche you can’t afford that. Obviously, we’re disappointed but in sports you’ve got to accept defeats as well. It simply wasn’t our race."

After claiming the 2014 World Endurance Championship, Toyota failed to deliver on its lofty goals for Le Mans. Despite making success at Ciruit de la Sarthe a focus the TS040 Hybrids never showed the pace necessary to challenge the race leaders, although both entries proved reliable, finishing in sixth and eighth overall.

Toyota took out last year's World Endurance Championship
Toyota took out last year's World Endurance Championship

For Nissan's oddball GT-R LM NISMO LM P1, the race result was a mixed bag. After a slow showing in qualifying, only one car made the finish, with the #21 car of Tsugio Matsuda, Lucas Ordonez and Mark Shulzhitisky losing a wheel just before the ten hour mark of the race. Nissan's second casualty came painfully close to finishing – falling foul of a suspension failure with just one hour remaining.

The team's #22 car managed to complete the race in its first attempt, although the Japanese brand will be hoping to improve on its 2015 result if it returns next year.

Round four of the World Endurance Championship will be held at the Nurburgring on August 30.

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