June 24, 2014
Audi Dominates 24 Hours At Le Mans
In the world of racing, dominance and consistency are the key factors to winning races and championship,s as well as having a successful career. This holds true from the Saturday night events at the local track to the professional series of NASCAR, Indy, Grand Prix and Le Mans.
Most of the time we hear of drivers like the King of NASCAR, Richard Petty, who had a stellar career winning 200 races and seven championships in the series. In 2010, he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Then we hear about the battle for dominance between vehicle manufacturers on the track. Each racing series has its own lineup of vehicles used. NASCAR, for instance, uses Ford, Toyota and Chevrolet vehicles, while the Le Mans racing series uses a much wider range of vehicles, like Nissan, Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette, Aston Martin and others.
Currently, there are four classes of vehicles that run the race. The custom-built Le Mans Prototypes (LMP) have two classes: LMP1 and LMP2. These two classes are based on speed, weight and power output. The grand touring (GT) class contains the other two classes: GT Endurance Pro and GT Endurance AM.
All four classes race on the circuit at the same time and produce a winner from each class. Which brings me to my point. The 24 hours of Le Mans is a yearly race that has teams race around the Circuit de la Sarthe track. The first race was held in 1923 and over the years it has produced some impressive results.
The driver with the most wins is Tom Kristensen with nine, most team wins is Joest Racing with 13 and the most manufacturer wins is Porsche with 16. So how does Audi fit into this?
At this years Le Mans, beginning on June 14 and ending on June 15, Audi competed in the LMP1 class with drivers Fassier, Lotterer and Treluyer at the wheel. Taking turns maneuvering their Audi around the track for 24 hours, they managed to cross the finish line first to take the checkered flag. Winning the race marks Audi’s 13th victory over the past 15 years and fifth consecutive win at the race. The race was not only won by the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro, it finished two laps ahead of second place, which was another Audi, and five laps ahead of third, a Toyota.
In 2003, a Bentley won the race, but it had an Audi engine, so technically Audi has won 14 of the last 15 Le Mans races. The other race was in 2009 when a Peugeot took the trophy. Not since the 1970s and 1980s, when Porsche was dominant, has a car manufacturer been as prevailing at the 24 hours of Le Mans, and never in the history of the race has that many wins accumulated in less then two decades by one manufacturer.
In conclusion, over the past 15 years, Audi has definitely made a name for itself in the 24 Hour at Le Mans.
Image Credit: TopSpeed.com