2007 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 75th 24 Hours of Le Mans (French: 75e 24 Heures du Mans) was an 24 hour automobile endurance race for Le Mans Prototype and Grand Touring cars, which took place at the Circuit de la Sarthe, near Le Mans, France, from 16 to 17 June 2007. It was the 75th edition of the event, as organised by the automotive group, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) since 1923. Unlike other events, it was not a part of any endurance motor racing championship. A test day was held two weeks prior to the race on 3 June. The event was attended by 250,952 spectators.

2007 24 Hours of Le Mans
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Index: Races | Winners
Circuit de la Sarthe track
Handprint's winners 2007 edition in the Walk of fame of Le Mans

The LMP1 class saw the first competition between the new diesel engined Peugeot 908 HDi FAP prototype and the diesel Audi R10 TDI, the 2006 Le Mans winner; the Audi once again achieved an overall victory. There was heavy attrition in the LMP2 class, in which only two competitors finished the race. In the GT1 class, Aston Martin achieved its first win over the Corvette since returning to the event in 2005. The GT2 class was a battle between Ferrari and Porsche, won by Porsche.

BackgroundEdit

The dates for the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans were confirmed by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) in September 2006.[1] It was the 75th edition of the race and occurred at the 13.629 km (8.469 mi) Circuit de la Sarthe road racing track close to Le Mans, France, from 16 to 17 June 2007.[2][3] The automotive journalist Charles Faroux proposed the race to Georges Durand, the president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), and the industrialist Emile Coquile for a test of vehicle reliability and fuel-efficiency, which was first held in 1923.[4][5] The event is considered one of the world's most prestigious motor races and is part of the Triple Crown of Motorsport.[6]

Track changesEdit

Between the 2006 and 2007 races, the Circuit de la Sarthe was upgraded, most obviously by the reprofiling of the Tertre Rouge corner. The new corner was moved inward, to create a long flowing curve instead of the single point apex it had been previously, shortening the lap distance by 21 meters to a revised 13.629 km.[7]

Nine new garages were built at the end of the pit lane, replacing the four temporary garages that had been built a few years earlier. The additional garages allowed the ACO to increase the number of entries it could grant from 50 to 55. The paddock behind the garages was also re-organized with more facilities added for spectators, including more shops, new landscaping, and the Audi Tower monument.[7]

The public roads from the Indianapolis corner to the Porsche Curves were re-surfaced. Run-off areas at the Dunlop Chicane, Tertre Rouge, Indianapolis, and Ford Chicanes were also partially asphalted in order to avoid gravel being brought back onto the circuit by cars which had gone off course. This also increased safety by allowing the cars to slow themselves more efficiently using their brakes and tyres on tarmac.

Regulation changesEdit

Rule changes were announced by the ACO for all Le Mans-based series such as the American Le Mans Series, the Le Mans Series, and Japan Le Mans Challenge effective in 2007 for all four classes in October 2006 following close coordination with engineers, fuel companies and manufacturers.[8][9] Diesel engined LMP1 cars had their fuel tank capacity decreased from 90 l (20 imp gal; 24 US gal) to 81 l (18 imp gal; 21 US gal) and with petrol engines retained their 90 l (20 imp gal; 24 US gal) tanks. LMP2, GT1, and GT2 class vehicles had to be fitted with 5 per cent smaller air restrictors than they had run in 2006, in order to decrease power. Each of the GT1 and GT2 classes were allowed to run ethanol and other alternative fuels if approved by the ACO.[8][10]

The ACO also imposed Le Mans specific rule changes. All entries had to run Shell fuel in either diesel or petrol form. The temperature inside closed-cockpit cars was not to exceed 32 °C (90 °F) in cars with air conditioning or 10 °C (50 °F) above the ambient air temperature in cars without. The ACO would monitor cockpit temperature, and stop any car in which those limits were exceeded. Noise level regulation was revised: the noise emitted from the car had to be less than 113 dB with measurement taken at 15 m (49 ft) from the edge of the track. Newer but not older LMP900 and LMP675 class prototypes were allowed to be entered for the event.[8][10]

It was also decided to begin the event at 3:00 pm local time, one hour earlier than the normal 4:00 pm, to provide French spectators more time to vote in the 17 June French legislative election.[11]

EntriesEdit

The ACO's Selection Committee received 76 race entry applications by the 24 January deadline.[12][13] It reviewed every application and granted 55 invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with entries divided between the LMP1, LMP2, LMGT1 and LMGT2 categories.[13]

Automatic invitationsEdit

Automatic entries were earned by teams which won their category in the 2006 24 Hours of Le Mans. Teams which won Le Mans-based series and events such as the 2006 Petit Le Mans, the 2006 Le Mans Series and the 2006 American Le Mans Series were also invited. Some second-place finishers were also granted automatic entries in certain series as well as the third-place LMGT1 finisher of the 2006 Petit Le Mans.[12] Additionally, entries were also granted to the winners and runners-up of the LMGT1 and LMGT2 categories of the 2006 FIA GT Championship under an agreement with the ACO president Claude Plassart, and Stéphane Ratel, the president of the FIA GT Championship organising body, the Stephane Ratel Organisation.[14] As entries were pre-selected to teams, they were restricted to a maximum of two cars and were not allowed to change their vehicles from the previous year to the next. Entries were permitted to change category provided that they did not change the make of car and the ACO granted official permission for the switch.[15]

On 19 January 2007, the ACO announced that 24 of the 28 teams had accepted their automatic entries before the deadline. Penske Racing turned down both of its invitations, and Ray Mallock Ltd. rejected its second entry due to a lack of funding. Vitaphone Racing Team rejected its invitation because its Maserati MC12 did not comply with the ACO's GT1 rules, although the team later attempted to gain entry in another class through application.[12][16]

List of automatic entriesEdit

Automatic entries for the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans
Reason Entered LMP1 LMP2 GT1 GT2
1st in the 24 Hours of Le Mans   Audi Sport Team Joest   RML   Corvette Racing   Team LNT
2nd in the 24 Hours of Le Mans   Pescarolo Sport   Binnie Motorsports   Aston Martin Racing   Seikel Motorsport
1st in the 2006 Le Mans Series   Pescarolo Sport   Barazi-Epsilon   Aston Martin Racing Larbre   Autorlando Sport
2nd in the 2006 Le Mans Series   Creation Autosportif   RML1   Convers MenX Team   Team LNT
1st in the 2006 Petit Le Mans   Audi Sport North America   Penske Racing1
2nd in the 2006 Petit Le Mans   Risi Competizione4
3rd in the 2006 Petit Le Mans   Corvette Racing2
1st in the 2006 American Le Mans Series   Audi Sport North America   Penske Racing1   Risi Competizione
2nd in the 2006 American Le Mans Series   Aston Martin Racing3
1st in the 2006 FIA GT Championship   Vitaphone Racing Team1   AF Corse
2nd in the 2006 FIA GT Championship   Aston Martin Racing BMS   Scuderia Ecosse
Sources:[12][17][14]
1.^  – Team declined their automatic invitations.[12]
2.^  – Due to IMSA allowing Aston Martin to run Petit Le Mans below the ACO's minimum weight, their first and second place finishes were not allowed, and automatic entry given to Corvette Racing.[17]
3. ^  – Corvette Racing had already won two automatic entries, thus the entry was given to Aston Martin.[17]
4. ^  – Petersen/White Lightning was allowed to participate in Petit Le Mans on a technical waiver. Thus their win was not allowed by the ACO, and automatic entry was given to Risi Competizione.[17]

Official entry listEdit

The ACO published the official entry list on 27 February 2007, which included the full 55 entries and 8 reserves, the largest field since the 1989 edition.[18] Although drivers were not listed, Tom Kristensen's injury in the opening round of the 2007 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season made his participation in the race questionable. As the driver with the most wins at Le Mans, he was intended to be part of Audi's factory team. Fellow Audi DTM driver Mattias Ekström was nominated as his possible replacement by Audi.[19] However, on 11 June 2007 Kristensen was cleared by doctors to race, leaving Ekström's services unneeded.[20]

Reserve entriesEdit

A total of eight reserve entries were listed by the ACO in its initial published list. Reserves were added to the entry list when a competitor already on the list withdrew. The ACO determined the order in which reserve entries were considered for addition to the entry list.

Two cars officially withdrew from the entry list in April, with their places taken by the following reserve entries. Rollcentre Racing withdrew its LMP2 Radical-Judd entry due to the car being purchased by Embassy Racing on 3 April. The PSI Experience Chevrolet Corvette C6.R was promoted to the race entry as a result.[21] Eight days later, Petersen/White Lightning withdrew its GT2 Ferrari entry had as a consequence of financial strain to the team, leaving it to concentrate solely on the American Le Mans Series. The GPC Sport Ferrari F430 took its place on the entry list.[22]

JMB Racing also withdrew its entry from the reserve list due to its drivers reaching an agreement with AF Corse to run in its entry instead.

Test sessionEdit

 
Jacques Villeneuve driving the new Peugeot 908 HDi FAP during the test session.

The official test session for Le Mans was held on 3 June, and was the only practice session that was not part of qualifying timing. A total of eight hours of track time was allowed for teams to find their set-ups and for rookie drivers to get in their required ten laps to learn the circuit.[15] Peugeot set the day's pace with a 3 minutes, 26.707 seconds from Sébastien Bourdais in the No. 8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP with 22 minutes of testing to go.[23] He was one-and-a-half seconds faster than the No. 1 Audi R10 TDI of Frank Biela who was the highest-placed Audi driver in second. Biela was followed by Allan McNish in the sister No. 2 Audi in third who was ahead of Jean-Christophe Boullion's fourth-placed No. 16 Pescarolo 01 car.[24][25] Jacques Villeneuve put the No. 7 Peugeot in fifth to be the fastest rookie driver over the course of the two sessions.[26]

Michael Vergers' No. 32 Barazi Epsilon car and his teammate Adrián Fernández in the No. 33 entry set identical lap times of 3 minutes, 39.016 seconds to lead the LMP2 category. The third-fastest class time was set by Warren Hughes' No. 40 Quifel ASM Team Racing for Portugal Lola car that had a misfire. In GT1, the No. 63 Corvette driven by Jan Magnussen recorded the fastest time of 3 minutes, 49.207 seconds, followed by the No. 007 Aston Martin of Tomáš Enge and the second factory No. 64 Corvette. Porsche and its new 997s set the first three fastest-laps in the GT2 class. IMSA Performance Matmut's Patrick Long led with a 4 minutes, 1.598 seconds lap, while Autorlando's Allan Simonsen and Johannes van Overbeek of the Flying Lizard team followed behind in second and third positions. The Risi Competizione entry was the fastest Ferrari in fourth place.[24][25]

Although there were various small incidents, three major accidents led to a red flag for the session. The No. 13 Courage Compétition entry, driven by Guillaume Moreau, went off at the Porsche Curves during the second hour.[27] The car could not return to the test session due a bent chassis caused by the heavy impact. The second red flag involved the No. 24 Noël del Bello entry going off the track at the same location in the hands of Vitaly Petrov, becoming briefly airborne after contact with the concrete wall.[28] In the final incident, almost in the last hour of the session, the No. 10 Arena Motorsports Zytek also went off at the Porsche Curves, and briefly caught fire.[29]

The damage to the Arena Zytek led to the car being withdrawn during scrutineering a week and a half later, just before the actual race. The team decided that it was not able to repair the damage in time for the car to pass scrutineering.[30]

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying was held on 13–14 June, with two two-hour sessions each night; one run at dusk, the other in darkness. New drivers were again required to run a set number of laps to learn the circuit and be allowed to race: three in daylight and three at night. The best overall time from all four sessions determined the starting grid.[15]

WednesdayEdit

The first qualifying session began under the threat of rain, so most of the teams tried to set a good lap time before the conditions deteriorated. The Audis and Peugeots swapped the overall pole position several times, and at the end of the session the No. 1 Audi was fastest overall with a time of 3.28.301. The No. 33 Barazi-Epsilon Zytek led LMP2, after an earlier misfiring problem had been repaired. Oreca's Saleens were the fastest two GT1 cars, while Ferrari and Porsche were close to one another in GT2. The session was red flagged about halfway through because of an accident in which the No. 53 JLOC Lamborghini Murciélago, driven by Marco Apicella, hit the wall at the first Mulsanne chicane.[31] The No. 25 Ray Mallock Ltd. Lola and No. 81 LNT Panoz were the only cars not to set a lap time before the session briefly returned to green as rain began. The ACO extended the session by fifteen minutes to compensate for the earlier red flag.

The second session started several minutes late due to the damp conditions from the earlier rain. A red flag briefly came out for the No. 5 Swiss Spirit Lola a few minutes after the session began due to the car being stopped at the side of the track. Although the track was drying, it was not until the last half hour that teams were able to improve on their first session times. The No. 2 Audi and No. 8 Peugeot swapped the pole position multiple times before the session ended with the No. 8 Peugeot claiming the top position on the final lap of the session with a time of 3:26.344. In GT1 the No. 008 Larbre Aston Martin took the class lead on the final lap with a 3:50.761. The LMP2 and GT2 classes saw very little improvement; the class leading teams remained the same.

It was later announced by the ACO that JLOC Isao Noritake would be allowed to use another Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT chassis, borrowed from the French DAMS team, but Marco Apicella was not allowed to drive in the race due to the head injuries he sustained in his accident during qualifying, leaving the team with two drivers.[32]

ThursdayEdit

The first session on Thursday began in heavy rain. Although some cars attempted to carry out wet weather testing, the conditions forced all the teams back to their garages. Once the rain began to slacken off cars returned to the track, but the rain continued throughout the entire session. No one was able to improve on their qualifying times from the previous day.

The rain continued throughout the second session, so most teams concentrated on their wet weather setups in preparation for a wet race. About halfway through the session the No. 7 Peugeot in the hands of Marc Gené missed the turn at Arnage and hit a tire barrier. The car was unable to return to the pits and was taken behind the wall by the marshals. This was soon followed by the No. 73 Luc Alphand Corvette missing the same turn as well, but it continued on without significant damage. The No. 70 PSI Corvette had a minor accident in the last five minutes of the session, bringing out the only red flag of the day and ending all of qualifying.

Audi led the wet sessions with a 4:01.257 time for the No. 1 car, followed by the No. 3 Audi and No. 8 Peugeot within a second. No. 33 Barazi-Epsilon again led the times for the second day in LMP2, while the No. 54 Oreca Saleen continued to show strong pace with the fastest time in GT1. The No. 93 Autorlando Sport Porsche was the fastest GT2 class entry in the rain.

Qualifying timesEdit

Class leaders and the fastest lap time on each day are in bold. No cars set a faster time on the second day.

 
The crowd in the paddock a few hours before the start of the race.
Pos No. Team Car Class Day 1
[33]
Day 2
[34]
Behind
1 8   Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1 3:26.344 4:01.928 Leader
2 2   Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI LMP1 3:26.916 4:01.257 +0.572
3 7   Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP LMP1 3:27.724 4:06.205 +1.380
4 1   Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI LMP1 3:28.301 4:04.386 +1.957
5 3   Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 TDI LMP1 3:29.736 4:01.629 +3.392
6 16   Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo 01-Judd LMP1 3:33.590 4:11.511 +7.246
7 13   Courage Compétition Courage LC70-AER LMP1 3:35.171 4:23.905 +8.827
8 18   Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo 01-Judd LMP1 3:35.559 4:26.442 +9.215
9 14   Racing for Holland Dome S101.5-Judd LMP1 3:35.660 4:16.675 +9.316
10 9   Creation Autosportif Creation CA07-Judd LMP1 3:36.279 4:18.797 +9.935
11 15   Charouz Racing System Lola B07/17-Judd LMP1 3:37.737 4:12.490 +11.393
12 12   Courage Compétition Courage LC70-AER LMP1 3:38.371 4:36.646 +12.027
13 17   Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo 01-Judd LMP1 3:38.753 4:11.611 +12.409
14 5   Swiss Spirit Lola B07/18-Audi LMP1 3:42.626 4:21.415 +16.282
15 33   Barazi-Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 LMP2 3:44.158 4:11.296 +17.814
16 19   Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport Lola B06/10-AER LMP1 3:44.721 6:37.797 +18.377
17 40   Quifel ASM Team Lola B05/40-AER LMP2 3:45.838 4:47.127 +19.494
18 31   Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/42-Zytek LMP2 3:48.173 4:48.025 +21.829
19 21   Team Bruichladdich Radical Radical SR9-AER LMP2 3:48.332 4:37.507 +21.988
20 32   Barazi-Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 LMP2 3:48.935 4:14.508 +22.591
21 25   Ray Mallock Ltd. MG-Lola EX264-AER LMP2 3:49.217 4:17.297 +22.873
22 35   Saulnier Racing Courage LC70-AER LMP2 3:49.621 4:32.963 +23.619
23 008   Aston Martin Racing Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 3:50.761 4:32.633 +24.417
24 55   Team Oreca Saleen S7-R GT1 3:51.240 4:32.860 +24.896
25 20   Pir Competition Pilbeam MP93-Judd LMP2 3:51.342 4:39.787 +24.998
26 64   Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 3:52.130 4:35.281 +25.686
27 009   Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 3:52.471 4:29.918 +26.127
28 44   Kruse Motorsport Pescarolo 01-Judd LMP2 3:52.552 5:00.117 +26.208
29 63   Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 3:52.657 4:36.285 +26.313
30 59   Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 3:53.727 4:28.580 +27.383
31 54   Team Oreca Saleen S7-R GT1 3:54.718 4:26.955 +28.374
32 100   Aston Martin Racing BMS Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 3:55.141 4:28.906 +28.798
33 72   Luc Alphand Aventures Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 3:55.668 4:39.531 +29.324
34 007   Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 3:55.714 4:28.604 +29.370
35 70   PSI Experience Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT1 3:56.922 4:30.723 +30.578
36 24   Noël del Bello Racing Courage LC75-AER LMP2 3:57.566 4:24.793 +31.222
37 73   Luc Alphand Aventures Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT1 3:59.068 4:52.166 +32.724
38 006   Aston Martin Racing Larbre Aston Martin DBR9 GT1 4:01.674 4:53.664 +35.330
39 87   Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari F430 GT2 GT2 4:04.185 4:47.877 +37.841
40 76   IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR GT2 4:04.622 4:38.386 +38.278
41 97   Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT2 GT2 4:05.358 4:39.564 +39.012
42 80   Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 997 GT3-RSR GT2 4:05.588 4:41.736 +39.244
43 53   JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT GT1 4:06.223  – +39.779
44 93   Autorlando Sport Porsche 997 GT3-RSR GT2 4:08.211 4:36.386 +41.767
45 99   Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT2 GT2 4:09.065 5:10.785 +42.721
46 67   Convers MenX Racing Ferrari 550-GTS Maranello GT1 4:09.088 4:39.343 +42.744
47 85   Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2-R-Audi GT2 4:10.719 4:48.139 +44.375
48 81   Team LNT Panoz Esperante GT-LM-Ford GT2 4:11.025 4:41.334 +44.681
49 86   Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2-R-Audi GT2 4:11:598 4:44.373 +45.254
50 82   Team LNT Panoz Esperante GT-LM-Ford GT2 4:13.049 4:46.961 +46.705
51 83   GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT2 GT2 4:15.669 5:04.447 +49.325
52 71   Seikel Motorsport Porsche 997 GT3-RSR GT2 4:17.750 5:03.369 +51.406
53 78   AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT2 GT2 4:21.714 4:53.812 +55.370
54 29   T2M Motorsport Dome S101.5-Mader LMP2 4:53.983 4:54.729 +87.639

Warm-upEdit

The drivers took to the track at 09:00 Central European Summer Time (UTC+02:00) for a 45-minute warm-up session,[15] which was used to check car functionality and components on a circuit dampened by rainfall the night before.[35][36] The No. 8 Peugeot of Bourdais lapped fastest at 4 minutes, 00.830 seconds, ahead of Allan McNish's No. 2 Audi in second and the other Audi of Marco Werner in third. Emmanuel Collard was the highest-placed Pescarolo entry in fourth. The fastest LMP2 time was a 4 minutes, 17.127 seconds from the Barazi Epsilon car driven by Vergers, who was four seconds quicker than RML's No. 25 Lola car used by Thomas Erdos.[35] Oliver Gavin aboard the No. 64 Corvette topped the LMGT1 time sheets from the No. 007 Aston Martin of Enge as Patrick Long's No. 76 IMSA Porsche was fastest in LMGT2.[35][36]

RaceEdit

StartEdit

 
A group of Le Mans Prototypes at Mulsanne Corner during the early laps.

The race began at 3:00 pm local time (GMT+2),[15] with the track still damp following a wet morning warm-up. It was spectated by 250,952 people.[37] Sébastien Bourdais's Peugeot 908 HDi FAP led the field into the Dunlop Chicane, which he overshot, handing the lead to the No. 2 Audi R10 TDI.[38] The three Audis took over the lead during the opening hour, before pit stops began.

The rebuilt Lamborghini of JLOC Isao Noritake was the first retirement of the race when the gearbox failed on the Mulsanne during its second lap of the race.[39] Shortly after the first hour of the race had been completed, heavy rain resulted in the safety car being brought out again.

Soon after the field was released, the safety car was once again required after an accident in which Mike Rockenfeller spun his No. 3 Audi R10 TDI on the exit from Tertre Rouge, hitting the safety barriers on the Mulsannes Straight backwards. While crews fixed the barrier, Rockenfeller attempted to repair his Audi, but he was finally forced to retire.[40] This caution period also saw an early retirement for the No. 64 Corvette when a part of its drivetrain broke while following the safety car. Gavin attempted to return to the pits using battery power but was stopped by the marshals, forcing him to abandon the car.[41] The race eventually continued after nearly an hour under caution.

NightEdit

As dusk began to fall on the drying track, the No. 8 Peugeot suffered from rear wheel hub failures which required two lengthy visits to the garage.

 
The start/finish complex and pit exit as the sun sets.

This allowed the No. 1 Audi to take over second place. Jacques Villeneuve's No. 7 Peugeot also lost time, which dropped it to two laps behind the No. 2 Audi.[42] The No. 1 Audi had its own brief moment when the No. 63 Corvette clipped the Audi's rear end. The Corvette was forced to take evasive action through the Dunlop Chicane's gravel trap, and the Audi required replacement rear bodywork on its next pit stop.[43]

A third safety car period was caused by the Creation Autosportif entry, which ran into the tire barriers at the Porsche Curves and needed to be extracted. The Creation returned to the pits but eventually retired. The Kruse Motorsport entry also suffered problems when it briefly stopped at the pit entrance during the caution period, blocking other cars attempting to make their own pit stops.[44] The Kruse entry eventually succeeded in getting to its garage.

As the night continued and the race neared its halfway point, many cars suffered mechanical failures, putting them out of the race. They included a large number of the LMP2 class cars such as Team ASM and Ray Mallock Ltd., both of which had led the class at one point. In GT1, the two factory Aston Martins led the lone remaining factory Corvette by one lap, while the No. 97 Risi Competizione Ferrari had a two-lap lead in the GT2 class.

MorningEdit

In the early hours, fluids were spilled on the track by the leader in GT2, the Risi Competizione Ferrari. This caused numerous competitors to spin, and required the Ferrari to undergo major front-end repairs, resulting in the car falling several laps behind.

 
Early dawn at Mulsanne Corner.

The biggest problem of the morning though occurred shortly before the completion of the 17th hour, when the race-leading No. 2 Audi of Rinaldo Capello lost the left rear wheel at high speed at the Indianapolis corner. Unable to control the car he went straight on into a tire barrier. Although Capello attempted to get the car back to the pits, it was too badly damaged to be drivable. Television footage had recorded the No. 2 Audi being dropped off its airjacks before the left rear wheel was attached on the prior pit stop, but Audi claimed that this was likely not the cause of the wheel coming off at speed.[45]

With two Audis out, this left the lone No. 1 Audi to take over the race lead, with the two Peugeots four and six laps behind respectively. Just before to the No. 2 Audi's accident, the GT1-leading Aston Martin had also come off the track, damaging its front splitter. The necessary repairs led to the car spending eight minutes in the garage, dropping it to fourth in class.[46] The lone factory Corvette gained a place to take over second in class. Scuderia Ecosse's Ferrari briefly took over the GT2 lead after Risi's problems, but it too broke down on the track, handing the lead to the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche.[47] Binnie Motorsport's entry had a sizable lead in its class, having not suffered the many problems its LMP2 competitors had.

FinishEdit

After having held off for most of the race, the rain began to fall once more during the final three hours. This caused numerous incidents, including the No. 93 Autorlando Porsche missing a Mulsanne chicane and plowing through a temporary tire barrier. The No. 7 Peugeot made an unscheduled garage stop and retired one lap after re-entering the race, claiming oil pressure problems.[48]

The rain eventually became heavier, making the conditions treacherous and bringing the safety car back out. This put a temporary stop to the battle between Aston Martin and Corvette for first and second place in the GT1 class. The second place Corvette had been quicker in the wet conditions, but it was not allowed to further close on the Aston Martin during the safety period.[49] After problems for both of the Barazi-Epsilon LMP2s, Binnie Motorsports brought its class leading LMP2 car to the garage to ensure that the car was prepared for the weather and could hold on to the lead until the finish.[50]

 
The No. 009 Aston Martin DBR9, winner of the GT1 class.

After over an hour behind the safety car, the field was released to race one last time with only twelve minutes remaining. With no close contests between the competitors, the field continued to run at less than racing pace, in preparation for the finish. The No. 8 Peugeot of Sébastien Bourdais briefly went into the pits, before returning to the track. To ensure that the Peugeot finished the race, and did not break down before crossing the finishing line behind the winner, Bourdais stopped at the Ford Chicanes on the final lap. Once the No. 1 Audi had gone past to take the checkered flag, Bourdais restarted the Peugeot and finished as well. The No. 16 Pescarolo finished the race in third, the highest placed petrol car.

The No. 009 Aston Martin took the GT1 class win by a single lap over the Corvette, earning Aston Martin its first victory since its overall win in 1959. The No. 76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche was the GT2 winner, with a six lap margin of victory. Only two cars finished in the LMP2 class. The No. 31 Binnie Motorsports Lola took the victory in spite of finishing 18th overall. Of the 54 starters, only 29 cars finished the race. The GT1 class cars proved themselves to be the most reliable, losing only two competitors over the 24 hours.

Official resultsEdit

Class winners are marked in bold. Cars finishing the race but not completing 75 per cent of the winner's distance are listed as Not Classified (NC).[51][52][53]

Final race results
Pos Class No. Team Drivers Chassis Tyre Laps Time/Reason
Engine
1 LMP1 1   Audi Sport North America   Marco Werner
  Emanuele Pirro
  Frank Biela
Audi R10 TDI M 369 24:02:42.628
Audi TDI 5.5L Turbo V12
(Diesel)
2 LMP1 8   Team Peugeot Total   Stéphane Sarrazin
  Pedro Lamy
  Sébastien Bourdais
Peugeot 908 HDi FAP M 359 +10 Laps
Peugeot HDi 5.5L Turbo V12
(Diesel)
3 LMP1 16   Pescarolo Sport   Emmanuel Collard
  Jean-Christophe Boullion
  Romain Dumas
Pescarolo 01 M 358 +11 Laps
Judd GV5.5 S2 5.5L V10
4 LMP1 18   Rollcentre Racing   Stuart Hall
  João Barbosa
  Martin Short
Pescarolo 01 D 347 +22 Laps
Judd GV5.5 S2 5.5L V10
5 GT1 009   Aston Martin Racing   David Brabham
  Darren Turner
  Rickard Rydell
Aston Martin DBR9 M 343 +26 Laps
Aston Martin 6.0L V12
6 GT1 63   Corvette Racing   Johnny O'Connell
  Jan Magnussen
  Ron Fellows
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M 342 +27 Laps
Chevrolet LS7-R 7.0L V8
7 GT1 008   Aston Martin Racing Larbre   Christophe Bouchut
  Fabrizio Gollin
  Casper Elgaard
Aston Martin DBR9 M 341 +28 Laps
Aston Martin 6.0L V12
8 LMP1 15   Charouz Racing System   Jan Charouz
  Stefan Mücke
  Alex Yoong
Lola B07/17 M 338 +31 Laps
Judd GV5.5 S2 5.5L V10
9 GT1 007   Aston Martin Racing   Johnny Herbert
  Peter Kox
  Tomáš Enge
Aston Martin DBR9 M 337 +32 Laps
Aston Martin 6.0L V12
10 GT1 54   Team Oreca   Laurent Groppi
  Nicolas Prost
  Jean-Philippe Belloc
Saleen S7-R M 337 +32 Laps
Ford 7.0L V8
11 GT1 100   Aston Martin Racing BMS   Fabio Babini
  Jamie Davies
  Matteo Malucelli
Aston Martin DBR9 P 336 +33 Laps
Aston Martin 6.0L V12
12 GT1 72   Luc Alphand Aventures   Luc Alphand
  Jérôme Policand
  Patrice Goueslard
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M 327 +42 Laps
Chevrolet LS7-R 7.0L V8
13 LMP1 17   Pescarolo Sport   Harold Primat
  Christophe Tinseau
  Benoît Tréluyer
Pescarolo 01 M 325 +44 Laps
Judd GV5.5 S2 5.5L V10
14 GT1 67   Convers MenX Racing   Alexey Vasilyev
  Tomáš Kostka
  Robert Pergl
Ferrari 550-GTS Maranello P 322 +47 Laps
Ferrari F133 5.9L V12
15 GT2 76   IMSA Performance Matmut   Raymond Narac
  Richard Lietz
  Patrick Long
Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M 320 +49 Laps
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6
16 GT1 55   Team Oreca   Stéphane Ortelli
  Soheil Ayari
  Nicolas Lapierre
Saleen S7-R M 318 +51 Laps
Ford 7.0L V8
17 GT1 59   Team Modena   Antonio García
  Jos Menten
  Christian Fittipaldi
Aston Martin DBR9 M 318 +51 Laps
Aston Martin 6.0L V12
18 LMP2 31   Binnie Motorsports   William Binnie
  Allen Timpany
  Chris Buncombe
Lola B05/42 K 318 +51 Laps
Zytek ZG348 3.4L V8
19 GT2 99   Risi Competizione
  Krohn Racing
  Tracy Krohn
  Niclas Jönsson
  Colin Braun
Ferrari F430 GT2 M 314 +55 Laps
Ferrari F136 4.0L V8
20 LMP1 19   Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport   Gareth Evans
  Bob Berridge
  Peter Owen
Lola B06/10 M 310 +59 Laps
AER P32T 4.0L Turbo V8
21 GT2 93   Autorlando Sport
  Farnbacher Racing
  Pierre Ehret
  Lars-Erik Nielsen
  Allan Simonsen
Porsche 997 GT3-RSR P 309 +60 Laps
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6
22 GT2 78   AF Corse
  Aucott Racing
  Joe Macari
  Ben Aucott
  Adrian Newey
Ferrari F430 GT2 M 308 +61 Laps
Ferrari F136 4.0L V8
23 GT2 82   Team LNT   Lawrence Tomlinson
  Richard Dean
  Rob Bell
Panoz Esperante GT-LM P 308 +61 Laps
Ford (Élan) 5.0L V8
24 GT1 73   Luc Alphand Aventures   Jean-Luc Blanchemain
  Didier André
  Vincent Vosse
Chevrolet Corvette C5-R M 306 +63 Laps
Chevrolet LS7-R 7.0L V8
25 LMP1 14   Racing for Holland b.v.   Jan Lammers
  Jeroen Bleekemolen
  David Hart
Dome S101.5 M 305 +64 Laps
Judd GV5.5 S2 5.5L V10
26 LMP1 12   Courage Compétition   Alexander Frei
  Jonathan Cochet
  Bruno Besson
Courage LC70 M 304 +65 Laps
AER P32T 3.6L Turbo V8
27 LMP2 33   Barazi-Epsilon
  Zytek Engineering
  Adrian Fernández
  Haruki Kurosawa
  Robbie Kerr
Zytek 07S/2 M 301 +68 Laps
Zytek ZG348 3.4L V8
28 GT1 70   PSI Experience   Claude-Yves Gosselin
  David Hallyday
  Philipp Peter
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R P 289 +70 Laps
Chevrolet LS7-R 7.0L V8
29 GT1 006   Aston Martin Racing Larbre   Patrick Bornhauser
  Roland Bervillé
  Gregor Fisken
Aston Martin DBR9 M 272 +89 Laps
Aston Martin 6.0L V12
30
DNF
LMP1 7   Team Peugeot Total   Nicolas Minassian
  Jacques Villeneuve
  Marc Gené
Peugeot 908 HDi FAP M 338 Fuel injection
Peugeot HDi 5.5L Turbo V12
(Diesel)
31
DNF
LMP1 2   Audi Sport North America   Tom Kristensen
  Allan McNish
  Rinaldo Capello
Audi R10 TDI M 262 Crash
Audi TDI 5.5L Turbo V12
(Diesel)
32
DNF
LMP2 32   Barazi-Epsilon   Juan Barazi
  Michael Vergers
  Karim Ojjeh
Zytek 07S/2 M 252 Crash
Zytek ZG348 3.4L V8
33
DNF
GT2 83   GPC Sport   Matthew Marsh
  Carl Rosenblad
  Jesús Diez Villarroel
Ferrari F430 GT2 P 252 Mechnical
Ferrari F136 4.0L V8
34
DNF
LMP2 25   Ray Mallock Ltd. (RML)   Mike Newton
  Andy Wallace
  Thomas Erdos
MG-Lola EX264 M 251 Piston
AER P07 2.0L Turbo I4
35
DNF
GT2 87   Scuderia Ecosse   Chris Niarchos
  Tim Mullen
  Andrew Kirkaldy
Ferrari F430 GT2 P 241 Transmission
Ferrari F136 4.0L V8
36
DNF
LMP2 35   Saulnier Racing   Jacques Nicolet
  Alain Filhol
  Bruce Jouanny
Courage LC75 M 224 Engine
AER P07 2.0L Turbo I4
37
DNF
GT2 97   Risi Competizione   Mika Salo
  Johnny Mowlem
  Jaime Melo
Ferrari F430 GT2 M 223 Water pump
Ferrari F136 4.0L V8
38
DNF
LMP2 24   Noël del Bello Racing   Vitaly Petrov
  Romain Ianetta
  Liz Halliday
Courage LC75 M 198 Gearshift
AER P07 2.0L Turbo I4
39
DNF
LMP1 13   Courage Compétition   Jean-Marc Gounon
  Guillaume Moreau
  Stefan Johansson
Courage LC70 M 175 Engine
AER P32T 3.6L Turbo V8
40
DNF
GT2 85   Spyker Squadron b.v.   Andrea Belicchi
  Andrea Chiesa
  Alex Caffi
Spyker C8 Spyder GT2-R M 145 Transmission
Audi 3.8L V8
41
DNF
LMP2 40   Quifel ASM Team Racing for Portugal   Miguel Amaral
  Warren Hughes
  Miguel Angel de Castro
Lola B05/40 D 137 Crash
AER P07 2.0L Turbo I4
42
DNF
LMP2 20   Pir Compétition   Marc Rostan
  Chris MacAllister
  Gavin Pickering
Pilbeam MP93 M 126 Spin
Judd XV675 3.4L V8
43
DNF
GT2 80   Flying Lizard Motorsports   Johannes van Overbeek
  Seth Neiman
  Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 997 GT3-RSR M 124 Gearbox
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6
44
DNF
LMP2 44   Kruse Motorsport   Tony Burgess
  Jean de Pourtales
  Norbert Siedler
Pescarolo 01 K 98 Engine
Judd XV675 3.4L V8
45
DNF
GT2 86   Spyker Squadron b.v.   Jaroslav Janiš
  Mike Hezemans
  Jonny Kane
Spyker C8 Spyder GT2-R M 70 Engine
Audi 3.8L V8
46
DNF
GT2 71   Seikel Motorsport
  Team Felbermayr-Proton
  Horst Felbermayr
  Horst Felbermayr Jr.
  Philip Collin
Porsche 997 GT3-RSR Y 68 Electrical
Porsche 3.8L Flat-6
47
DNF
LMP1 5   Swiss Spirit   Marcel Fässler
  Jean-Denis Délétraz
  Iradj Alexander
Lola B07/18 M 62 Electrical
Audi 3.6L Turbo V8
48
DNF
GT2 81   Team LNT   Tom Kimber-Smith
  Danny Watts
  Tom Milner Jr.
Panoz Esperante GT-LM P 60 Gearbox
Ford (Élan) 5.0L V8
49
DNF
LMP2 29   T2M Motorsport   Robin Longechal
  Yutaka Yamagishi
  Yojiro Terada
Dome S101.5 M 56 Overheating
Mader 3.4L V8
50
DNF
LMP1 9   Creation Autosportif Ltd.   Jamie Campbell-Walter
  Shinji Nakano
  Felipe Ortiz
Creation CA07 D 55 Overheating
Judd GV5.5 S2 5.5L V10
51
DNF
LMP1 3   Audi Sport Team Joest   Lucas Luhr
  Mike Rockenfeller
  Alexandre Prémat
Audi R10 TDI M 23 Crash
Audi TDI 5.5L Turbo V12
(Diesel)
52
DNF
GT1 64   Corvette Racing   Oliver Gavin
  Olivier Beretta
  Max Papis
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R M 22 Propshaft
Chevrolet LS7-R 7.0L V8
53
DNF
LMP2 21   Team Bruichladdich Radical   Tim Greaves
  Stuart Moseley
  Robin Liddell
Radical SR9 D 16 Crash
AER P07 2.0L Turbo I4
54
DNF
GT1 53   JLOC Isao Noritake   Koji Yamanishi
  Atsushi Yogo
  Marco Apicella
Lamborghini Murciélago R-GT Y 1 Driveshaft
Lamborghini L535 6.0L V12
DNQ LMP1 10   Arena Motorsports International   Stefan Johansson
  Hayanari Shimoda
  Tom Chilton
Zytek 07S M  – Did not qualify
Zytek 2ZG408 4.0L V8
Tyre manufacturers
Key
Symbol Tyre manufacturer
D Dunlop
K Kumho
M Michelin
P Pirelli
Y Yokohama

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit