Audi's 12th Le Mans victory in 13 years is sadly overshadowed by the tragic death of Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen.
It’s the 12th time in the past 13 years that Audi has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Additionally, this is also the second year in a row Audi has won with a hybrid race car. Unfortunately, both of these significant accomplishments were overshadowed by the tragic death of Danish driver Allan Simonsen who, during the opening laps, lost control of his Aston Martin and crashed into the barriers at the Tetre Rouge corner. Despite the tragedy, Simonsen’s family requested for Aston Martin to keep its four remaining cars in the race.
Initial track conditions were reportedly less than ideal due to rainy weather days before the race, but the surface soon began to dry off.
This allowed for the trio of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval in the No2 Audi R18 e-tron to gain their lead. Amazingly, the car ran for 24 hours without the slightest hint of a technical problem even with the persistent on-and-off rain showers. The team officially took the lead at 21:43 Saturday night and never relinquished it until crossing the finish line at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon. All told, three identical R18 e-trons took part in this years’ legendary race as Audi was widely expected to once again win despite a very respectable attempt by Toyota to alter that outcome. Porsche also made its big return to Le Mans this year after a 15-year absence.