• Jun 13, 2010
#1 Peugeot 908 powers through the night at Le Mans – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's the most important axiom of motorsports: If your car isn't running at the checkered flag, it really doesn't matter how fast you run. Nowhere is that more true than at Le Mans. The field that began with 55 cars gradually dwindled through the night. At the midway point, the #2 Peugeot led two of the Audis with the #1 car battling back from a mechanical malady. For those of you who aren't planning to watch the race on your DVR, continue reading after the jump.





Through the night, the Audis powered on mostly trouble-free aside from a half shaft failure in the #7 car, which lost several laps in the pits getting repaired. Meanwhile, the #1 Peugeot was reeling in laps while clocking times that were faster faster than the ones it threw down on qualifying. This, as it tried to recover from a failed alternator. Anthony Davidson ran on the ragged edge for hours on end through the dark - something that would eventually come back to bite the Corvette Racing team after daybreak.

908s

The Corvettes had inherited the top two spots in GT2 following the retirement of the #82 Risi Ferrari with a broken gearbox selection system. For a decade in the GT1 class, the C5.R and C6.R had been largely bulletproof thanks to the impeccable preparation of the Pratt and Miller crew. Over that period, the Corvettes had scored six GT1/GTS class victories in France and had never experienced an engine failure.

As they say, never say never. Sixteen hours into the race, the second-place #63 Corvette left the pits in the hands of Antonio Garcia after taking over from Johnny O'Connell. Garcia never made it to the Indianapolis corner before the 5.5-liter V8 packed it in.

The #64 Corvette was more than a lap ahead of the second-place Porsche of Team Felbermayr Proton when Davidson came upon it at speed in the Porsche curves. The Peugeot driver was desperately trying to catch the leading Audis and made an aggressive maneuver that sent the #63 Corvette spinning off into the wall, causing extensive damage to the rear bodywork. Emmanuel Collard managed to nurse the heavily damaged car back to the garage where the Corvette Racing crew showed off its incredible skills and professionalism, getting the #63 repaired and back on track in just 31 minutes. After the car was back out on the circuit, Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan told SPEED TV (we're paraphrasing), "I don't believe any other crew in the paddock could have done that."

C6 GT2

Oliver Gavin promptly set his fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately there was invisible damage in the powertrain and before long, Gavin rolled to a stop, white smoke coming from the exhaust, and the Corvette Racing team's day was done.

Peugeot's Davidson motored on, picking up time on the Germans after the race-leading #2 Peugeot driven by Alex Wurz, a cloud of smoke emerged from that same corner just over two hours from the finish. Wurz nursed the car back to the pits, but the puddle of black oil on the pit floor as the car was rolled into the garage told the tale. All three of the factory Peugeots were out of the race, leaving only team Oreca's 908 to represent the marque on the circuit.

Unfortunately for Oreca, their gold, blue and silver 908 was equally doomed with just 75 minutes to go. A blast of flame from that same rear corner erupted yet again, and with that, the Peugeot defense of last years Le Mans victory was over.

That left the three Audi R15 TDIs to cruise to the finish, being careful not to do anything stupid. The young driver team of Mike Rockenfeller, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the #9 R15+ inherited the lead when the #2 Peugeot went out and stayed there for the duration, followed by the #8 and #7 cars. After last year's disappointing loss to Peugeot, Audi had swept the podium and tied Ferrari with its 9th Le Mans victory..

In LMP2 this year, a car formerly badged as an Acura made its debut in France as the HPD ARX-01c. UK-based Strakka Racing has been campaigning the former Fernandez Racing ALMS car, and it ran largely without problem in LMP2. By the end of the race, Strakka had moved up to fifth place overall. The Highcroft Racing HPD gave Strakka a good challenge until it began suffering persistent cooling problems with about 5 hours to go. The Highcroft machine spent much of the race's last two hours in the garage before being rolled back out for the finish so that it could be classified.

In GT1, Larbre Competition Saleen S7R kept on cruising after taking the lead following the retirement of the #60 Ford GT. The ten-year-old Saleen was followed by the Luc Alphand Corvette C6.R (an ex-Corvette Racing factory car) and the Young Driver AMR Aston Martin DBR9 as the only finishers in GT1.

GT2 Porsche

Finally, in GT2, the Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR picked up the class lead after the retirement of the #64 Corvette and held it all the way to the end. Second in GT2 was the Hankook Farnbacher Ferrari F430 driven by South Carolina native Leh Keen, with the BMS Scuderia Italia Porsche 911 rounding out the GT2 podium

The winning Audi completed 397 laps over 24 hours for 3,367 miles, the fastest Le Mans ever.







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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 54 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      This was a reply to Freeman1951.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Regarding Davidson in the Peugot bashing the Corvette......it is the responsibility for the overtaking driver to make a safe pass...that is the rule. The GT2 Vette was already in the turn and ahead of him. Totally his fault !!! Maybe GM could send him a bill for several million dollars to repair their car, and the cost of maintaining it at Lemans, and advertising lost. If he ran anymore races in the USA someone would put him into the wall. Maybe he'll show up for Petit Lemans at Road Atlanta ...probably not because he is a second class driver in a first class car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      does anyone no a website where i could watch the race? i don't receive speed channel
        • 4 Years Ago
        Or if you want to watch something that isn't illegally put on their website like the above guy just referred to, you could goto SpeedTV.com. They had a full feed of the race throughout the whole 24hrs.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I watched the whole race pretty much. It was worth every second.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I didn't make it the whole race. I took a little nap right after the start and then again with about 5 hours left but got up to see the finish. When it wasn't on tv I watched on speed.com and they did a fabulous job by the way.

        I just couldn't believe it as the Peugeots began to fall one by one by the wayside. I was hoping Audi could win but I think they would rather have their competition running at the end. But it is an endurance race.

        That GT2 battle between the Ferrari and the Corvette was great while it lasted. It seemed they were hooked up nose to tail for two hours or so.

        LeMans is always a great event and now I can't wait until next year to do it all over again.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I watched close to ten hours of the race and couldn't agree more! I remember cheering at about midnight when the top running Peugeot went down with flames thinking that Audi actually had a chance at this one. Much more interesting race than last year with the R15 pluses.

        I was bummed when the Risi ferraris ran into major problems, and also when the second corvette was in an unfortunate situation between the Peugeot and the wall. The wreck at midnight basically ended the battle between the GT40 and S7.

        Definitely an interesting race, and I am glad to see Audi back on top :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Love this race, hate the Speed coverage. I nearly disconnected my center speaker to shut off the non stop commentary. Don't they get that some of us just want to watch the race and listen to some race cars at full out? Was there even one solitary second when someone wasn't speaking? And way too much time in the pits. Come on, just want to watch some racing here!
      • 4 Years Ago
      i cant tell you how upset i was about the second corvette being taken out. the lions got what was coming to them.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes with 7 hours to go, that was an unnecessary move on peugot's part. Even if you realize you're the only one left, there should have been some better judgement with regards to safety at the very least.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thank you for mentioning this. I got home from a party and turned the race on just in time to see this. Totally uncalled for, and they were in first place to. Was really pissed off at the Porsche driver with his comments of "Thankfully the Corvette got into a accident...".

        Though I will say the Corvette boys hauled ass and fixed that rear end in record time in my eyes. They should be proud of their effort regardless of not being able to finish the race due to engine problems related to that accident. Does anyone know if Peugoet(sp?) got a stop and go for causing that accident?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Peugeot was not penalized. Not only are penalties rare at Le Mans, but it'd be near impossible for a French team in a French car to get a penalty for a non-contact event at Le Mans. Especially if they are contending for the lead.

        It was a bad move, completely uncalled for. And the Peugeot driver (Anderson?) blamed the Corvette driver for the incident!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry, I meant Collard, not Gavin.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Amen. Justice to Peugeot for knocking Oliver Gavin out of the race.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Maybe, but it was bad luck that the Peugeot caught the Vette in the Porsche curves. The commentators had said the 908 could go through there about flat out and if you go off there it will definitely hurt. There were a few questionable moves I saw during the event.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I didn't get to see the whole race
        (btw, WTF did Speed TV break away from LeMans to televise a friggin Nascar practice run!??)

        But one of the announcers mentioned that he was shocked that there were so many errors committed by the various teams. He seemed to think they weren't managing the race well in terms of durability. Does anyone have any particulars?
      • 4 Years Ago
      So many cars ended up being outed this year it was ridiculous...
      • 4 Years Ago


      Anthony Davidson should have beed disqualified!!! Period.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Truth in 24
        • 4 Years Ago
        Great flick.

        SpeedTV sucked though. Saying the Corvette got knocked off by Davidson's Peugeot was 100% pure BS. The Corvette plainly didn't allow enough room for a P1 car he saw coming from a mile away. They just kept bashing Davidson throughout the broadcast for whatever reason.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm glad Audi won it purely for the fact that they have some cars that you might actually want to buy, available in the showroom. I don't know what the point of Peugot making such impressive racecars is if they have nothing to back it up with for the consumer to enjoy.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Paul:

        FYI - in auto racing executing a clean pass is always the responsibility of the overtaking driver (except in cases of extreme stupidity by the overtaken driver).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Davidson was already driving like a maniac trying to catch up to Audi (and was already warned once by officials). He put his car into the line the Corvette was already committed to. Contact or not the Peugeot never should have dove inside like that.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Great tip, Ryan- I didn't catch the part where he was warned (cause I was sleeping- silly me).


        What an incredible race: After last year, when Peugeot ran such fast cars with no issues, I really was wondering if it was just too easy for the big-budget teams to build fast reliable cars... But considering the immense investment of time, money and personnell it took for Peugot to run this year- it is clear that this race is truly the ultimate test of an organization's ability to perform on all levels.

        It's for this reason that the Audi team should be given such credit: They knew their strengths and limitations with regard to the race car, they risked as little as possible, and put together the strategy with the highest chance of paying off, and it did. Absolutely stunning.

        I would love to see more manufactuers enter the LMP1 field, and I think it will happen once they figure out how to effectively regulate the diesels...
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Carlos Yeah, the Peugeots certainly had a design flaw. Thats the only way to explain them all having the rear suspension issues.

        I was rooting for the American teams as well. Was also bummed to see the all woman Ford GT get knocked out.
        Carlos
        • 4 Years Ago
        If three, THREE!, of Peugeot's cars failed in the same place that must mean engineering heads will roll.

        Congrats to Audi!

        I am sad that the Corvettes were sent packing, I was rooting for the all American boys :(
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yup, I'll give it a watch later :). I'm surprised the French pushed their cars tithe point of failure, they were the fasting thing out there going into the race
      • 4 Years Ago
      Did anyone else notice that a 10 year-old Saleen won the GT1? I was rooting for it with no expectation for it to even finish. I saw it in the same category as the Murcielago...but by golly it won and against a Corvette C6.R...Well done on their part. Also, if you have been paying attention Peugeot has basically forced the Audi's to be slower with all the added weight and restrictions imposed by the "regulations." I figure French conspiracy since the major governing bodies are based in France and Le Mans is also in France. Just my uninformed opinion...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Awesome awesome race, very surprising audi pulled another victory, all they need is one more to beat ferrari for the greatest amount of lemans victories, here's hoping they bring their A game when the new P1 cars debut. If anything, this should help Dr. Ullrich press for adequate funding
        • 4 Years Ago
        oh weird, I wonder what speed's announcer was referring to then. strange. maybe just that they've tied ferrari.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1 more win nets audi with second most wins,... behind porsche
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