2015 24 Hours of Le Mans - recap
The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans was fantastic and one of the best Le Mans in long period. The Audi domination is finally crushed but this is just part of the story. The 2015 Le Mans had many interesting and influential moments that ask for better analysis. First, there was the main battle between Porsche and Audi. When Porsche returned to Le Mans it was clear that they come to win not just participate. That ambition asked for big investment and effort but Porsche as company which already won 17 times knew all aspects of Le Mans racing. The Audi’s main thing was their reliability and small fuel consumption because its diesel engine. Audi won Le Mans because the speed and small amount of pit stops which are important during 24 hours of driving. However, Porsche went by classic gasoline powered engines but ad very powerful 8KJ hybrid power. The advantage of mighty hybrid power was clear very early into the race when 919 Hybrids were flying exiting the curves using their torque and had better acceleration compared to Audi and anything else on the track. The downside of strong electric engine is overheating but Porsche managed to avoid those problems.
However, Porsche also displayed a fantastic reliability and discipline of their drivers. Audi had string of bad luck, crashing and tire problems but Porsche was flawless and the drivers were very concentrated with no mistakes or major crashes. In the first half of the race, Audi and Porsche went back and fourth leading the race but after puncture and crashing, Porsche took the lead and held on to it until the end of the race. Interesting thing about close battle for the first place was aerodynamics. Based on the drivers communication with the pit crew, the driver behind the leading car had big problems with the down force on front wheels. That is why there were just few overtaking and most of passing was caused by pit stops and crashing.
Toyota and Nissan was different story. Toyota proved it was very reliable but slow. They didn’t had a chance but they fought bravely and had nice results. It is clear that Toyota need a more power. A lot more power to keep up with Porsche and Audi. However, Nissan had big problems. Their reliability was very poor, they had all kinds of problems and they were slow. So slow that almost all LMP2 cars were faster. The Nissan was even criticized for entering because some teams think that GT-R LM Nismo is not a proper Le Mans car and the Nissan was trolling! But such a different concept of racing car needs time to prove itself and after the bad start, Nissan will maybe be able to run with the top teams in future.
In GTE class, Corvette C7.R proved that it is best GT car at the moment. After the crash of 1st car, second Vette won its class by itself battling Aston Martins and Ferraris. The Corvette reliability was great and totally opposite of Aston Martin which had five cars and only one to finish.
However, after the very interesting 24 hours of top notch racing and epic racing moments we can’t wait for 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans when the Ford will enter the GTE class and remake the history remembering the famous Ford GT40 and their win streak in late 60’s.