The Frenchman Benoit Treluyer is one of the world's most successful sports car racing drivers, especially during the 2010s, when he started racing with Audi Sport Team Joest. Out of seven participations at Le Mans 24h, Treluyer scored three overall victories and two more podiums. His teammates were Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler. The trio also won the FIA World Endurance Championship title in 2012, finishing as runner-ups three more times (2013-2015).
Prior to his streak of success with Audi, Tréluyer was very successful in Japan, competing between 2001 and 2011 in Formula 3, Formula Nippon and Japanese GT Championship. He was a champion in all three Japanese competitions (2001 Formula 3, 2006 Formula Nippon, 2008 Super GT).
Early years in the Formula Renault and Formula 3
Benoît Tréluyer was born on December 7, 1976, in Alençon, France. As a teenager, he was active in the motocross and karting racing. At the age of 18, he switched to formula racing, entering the Formula Renault Campus competition. He spent the next two seasons in Formula Renault, winning one race and scoring six podiums.
The next step was the French Formula 3 in 1998, with Signature Competition team. In his debut F3 season, Tréluyer didn't score any win but he became one of the front-runners in 1999, winning two races and finishing third in the championship, behind Sebastien Bourdais and Jonathan Cochet.
Moving to Japan in 2000, winning F3 title in 2001
In 2000, Benoit's F3 career continued in Japan, where he was joining Inging team to drive Dallara-Toyota. He won one race and finished fifth in the points. For the 2001 season, he moved to Dome Project and dominantly won the Japanese F3 championship with Dallara-Honda, scoring 16 wins in 20 races. Tréluyer was also successful in the non-championship races, finishing second at Macau Grand Prix and third at Korea Super Prix.
In September 2001, Tréluyer debuted in GT racing, joining his compatriot Sebastien Philippe in the Dome Mugen Project's #18 Honda NSX in three races of the All-Japan GT Championship. Their best result was the third place at Mine Circuit.
For the 2002 season, Tréluyer progressed to the Formula Nippon. He participated in the first five rounds driving the Reynard-Honda for Racing Team Cerumo. In the second part of the season, he focused on GT racing, participating with Team Impul's Nissan Skyline GT-R in three rounds of the Japanese GT Championship.
Class podium in Le Mans debut with Chrysler Viper
The highlight of the year was Benoit's debut at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was recruited by French motorsport federation (FFSA) and Oreca to drive the #52 Chrysler Viper GTS-R alongside Jonathan Cochet and Jean-Philippe Belloc. In his first race at Circuit de la Sarthe, Treluyer immediately scored a podium, finishing third in GTS class.
In 2003, Tréluyer started with a double programme in Japan, competing full season in the Formula Nippon and GT championship. He was driving for Team Impul in both competitions, scoring two wins in each championship. In Formula Nippon, he finished second in the points, behind his teammate Satoshi Motoyama. In GT championship, he was sharing the #12 Nissan Skyline GT-R with Yuji Ide, they ended up fourth in the standings.
In the 2004 Formula Nippon season, Treluyer repeated two wins but finished fourth in the points. In the GT championship, the team switched to Nissan Fairlady Z. Yuji Ide was still his co-driver, they finished 11th in the points with one victory.
2004 - fourth place at Le Mans with Pescarolo Sport
After a one-year absence, Tréluyer returned to the Le Mans in 2004, joining Pescarolo Sport for the first time. His teammates in the Pescarolo C60-Judd LMP1 prototype were Erik Comas and Soheil Ayari, they finished 4th overall, behind three Audi R8s.
In 2005, Treluyer's results were worse than a year before, with only one victory in the Formula Nippon, where he finished 6th in the points. In the inaugural season of the Super GT Series, he and Yuji Ide scored only one podium, finishing 11th in the points.
Benoit was the 2006 Formula Nippon champion
Benoit's performance improved in 2006 and he won his second Japanese title. Five years after his triumph in the Japanese Formula 3, he became the Formula Nippon champion. With four wins in nine races, he took the title ahead of Tsugio Matsuda and Andre Lotterer. In the 2006 Super GT season, Kazuki Hoshino was his new co-driver in the #12 Nissan Fairlady Z. They won one race (Suzuka) and finished 8th in the points.
In 2007, Tréluyer was again more successful in the Formula Nippon than in the Super GT Series. He finished as a Formula Nippon runner-up, just one point behind his teammate Tsugio Matsuda. In the GT championship, he scored no wins and finished 13th in the points, still with Kazuki Hoshino as a co-driver.
In June 2007, Treluyer was back at Le Mans 24h race, again with Pescarolo Sport. He finished 13th overall in the Pescarolo 01-Judd LMP1 prototype, together with Harold Primat and Christophe Tinseau. The same crew with the same car returned to Le Mans in 2008. This time, they finished 7th overall.
Motoyama and Tréluyer - 2008 Super GT champions
The season of 2008 was Treluyer's championship-winning season in the Super GT Series. He was a member of Nismo team and he drove a new Nissan GT-R GT500, sharing the #23 car with Satoshi Motoyama. The pair scored three wins, taking the title ahead of Toyota's Richard Lyons and Yuji Tachikawa. In the Formula Nippon, Tréluyer ended 8th in the points with just one podium.
In 2009, he competed for the last time in the Formula Nippon, finishing as a runner-up for the third time in a career. He scored one victory and five podiums, the champion was Loic Duval. In the 2009 Super GT season, the reigning champions in the #1 Nissan GT-R scored two wins, but they were just fourth in the final standings.
In June 2009, Tréluyer participated for the fifth time at Le Mans 24h race, fourth time with Pescarolo Sport, and he didn't reach the finish for the first time. His co-drivers in the #17 Peugeot 908 HDI were Sebastien Bourdais and Jean-Christophe Boullion. They crashed out after 210 laps.
Reaching the podium in Le Mans debut with Audi
And then the season of 2010 came, when Benoit Treluyer joined Audi Sport Team Joest. He was driving the #8 Audi R15 TDI with Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fässler. They debuted in the second round of the Le Mans Series at Spa, finishing 12th. It was a preparation for their Le Mans debut, where the trio took the second place in the glorious 1-2-3 finish for Audi. Treluyer and his new partners had one more race in 2010, finishing 6th at Petit Le Mans.
During 2010, Treluyer was still competing with Nismo in the Super GT Series, alongside Satoshi Motoyama in the #23 Nissan GT-R. With two podiums, they were 7th in the points. The season of 2011 was Treluyer's last in Japan. He and Motoyama were the winners three times, finishing as the championship runner-ups, behind Ronnie Quintarelli and Masataka Yanagida.
2011 - first victory at 24 hours of Le Mans
The Japanese part of his career was closed in 2011, the new chapter started with Audi and the first Le Mans victory. Treluyer, Fässler and Lotterer won the race in the #2 Audi R18 TDI. Besides Le Mans, Treluyer was driving Audi R18 TDI in just one race, at Spa.
Le Mans victory and FIA WEC title in 2012
The first full season with Audi followed in 2012 when the FIA World Endurance Championship was revived. The trio Treluyer/Fassler/Lotterer scored three wins and four more podiums in eight races, dominantly taking the world's title.
One of their wins was at Le Mans, for the second year in a row. It was the first victory of a hybrid car at Le Mans, since they were driving the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
2014 - one more Le Mans win for a fantastic trio
In the 2013 FIA WEC season, another Audi's crew (Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish/Loic Duval) took the title, Treluyer and his colleagues finished second in the points. They won three races during the season. At Le Mans, they finished fifth. In 2014, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson were the best in the world, Treluyer and his teammates were second again. They were victorious in two FIA WEC races, including one overall victory at Le Mans 24h.
Besides racing with Audi prototype, Treluyer and his partners participated at 24h Spa in July 2014, driving the Audi R8 LMS. They finished 12th. As a preparation for a 24-hour race, Treluyer had also one-off appearance with that car in the Spa's round of the French GT Championship.
Treluyer scored his last FIA WEC victory at Spa
In 2015, Porsche took the dominance in the championship and at Le Mans. Treluyer/Fässler/Lotterer finished second in the FIA WEC standings for the third year in a row, after winning two races early in the season at Silverstone and Spa. It turned out to be their last FIA WEC victory. At 2015 Le Mans, Treluyer's #7 Audi finished 3rd.
In the opening race of the 2016 FIA WEC season, at Silverstone, the#7 Audi crossed the finish line as a winning car, but the post-race disqualification due to technical infraction erased that victory. Later in the season, Treluyer and his co-drivers scored only one podium in the season-closing race in Bahrain and finished 6th in the points. At Le Mans, they missed the podium finishing fourth.
Since Audi announced a withdrawal from FIA WEC at the end of 2016 season, Treluyer's racing future is still uncertain.