24 Hours of Le Mans (2015): Final report
As the final hours of the race approached, the tempo did seem to tone down, especially since the period was without any major crashes or accidents. However, the race was far from boring.
There were some off-track excursions and a few mishaps involving LMP 2 class cars but the favourite of the LMP1 and GTE class remained safe and on its way to victory. The weather was changing with a few spells of rain which created problems for drivers since the track was never wet enough to call for a full type change. In fact, in last hour even when the track officials declared that the track was wet, most of the drivers did not change their tyres.
After the Porsche managed to get quite a lead in front, things looked bad for Audi. The No19 Porsche was very far ahead and on second place was No17 car with best positioned Audi (No7 car) on third. However, the powerful Porsche’s performance with 8KJ hybrid motors was just half of Audis problems since the other half was the teams constant bad luck and problems with the stability, traffic and tyres.
The Audi pit crew and technicians did a great job sorting out the problems and keeping cars on track and into battle for podium finish. By the end of the race every Audi R18 eTron Quattro had its stint in pit garage sorting some of mechanical or technical problems and lost valuable minutes. of the four teams in LMP1 class, Porsche and Toyota were running perfectly for the duration of the whole race but Audi and especially Nissan were having lots of mechanical problems.
In the GTE class, Corvette C7.R lost but regained lead in the race. Aston Martins were running slower but Ferrari was getting faster and in one moment (during the pitstops) gained the lead. However, with great driving and by using the enormous potential of Corvette chassis, Chevrolet strongly advanced into the lead spot while the No. 55 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia from LM GTE Am left the race after running out of fuel on track.
As the race entered its final hour, most of the LMP1 cars entered the pits for final refuelling and eventual tyre change. One of the five Aston Martins in the GTE class crashed and a slow zone was announced while the track section was cleared.
For the LMP1 cars, the battle was almost over since there wasn’t much time for the troublesome Audi to catch up with the two Porsches in front. The most interesting thing about Porsche No19 was that the drivers crew were all Le Mans rookies and less experienced drivers than the others in Porsche or Audi.
Nick Tandy, Earl Bumber and Nico Hulckenberg are all great drivers but with almost no real Le Mans experience. The white No19 car was the least favourite of all three Porsche cars but the No19 crew was only one with absolutely no mistakes during the whole race.
While the race entered its last minutes, Nico Huckebnerg did not slow down even when the rain started to come down intensely. However, after a just few minutes, the No 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid with its rookie crew first saw checkered flag at the finish in a totally deserving win.
In a true epic and classic motorsport moment, No19 waited for No17 and they crossed the finish line together as a team celebration of this 17th Le Mans win for the Porsche. The Corvette C7.R, the only one that was left on the track was victorious in it heroic attempt. For full results click HERE: