2011 24 Hours of Le Mans - Click above for high-res image gallery
The 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans is over, and despite losing two of its three cars in horrifying crashes, it is Audi, once again, that climbs to the top of the podium as the race's overall winner. Andre Lotterer piloted the #2 Audi R18 TDI to victory, 13 seconds ahead of the Simon Pageneaud in the #9 Peugeot 908. The rest of the top five finishers were all Peugeot 908s, the #8 and #7 factory team cars, followed by the #10 Team Oreca Matmut entry. The top gasoline-powered LMP1 finisher was the Toyota-powered #12 Rebellion Racing Lola.
It's also a big day for Corvette Racing, which, after losing the leading #74 Corvette C6.R to an accident, still drove on to victory in GTE Pro with the #73 car of Olivier Beretta, Tommy MIlner, and Antonio Garcia. The 73 was a lap down at the 18 hour mark, but made it all back up to take the checkered flag with Garcia at the wheel, following a very strong stint by Milner. Second place in GTE Pro goes to the #41 AF Corse Ferrari, and BMW Motorsport visits the podium at Le Mans with a third-place finish for the #56 BMW M3 GT.
In the LMP2 Class, the leader at the midway point, the #41 Greaves Motorsport entry, drove to victory, followed by the #26 Signatech Nissan and #33 Level 5 Motorsports Lola HPD coupe.
Finally, in GTE Am, another Corvette claims victory: the #50 C6.R fielded by Labre Competition (it was one of last year's factory cars). Labre Competition also took second in the #70 Porsche 911 RSR. Rounding out the GTE Am podium is the #68 Robertson Racing Ford GT, one of the best-looking race cars on the circuit.
The 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans was both thrilling and chilling, and ultimately, all that drama translated into an exciting finish, with a jubilant and depleted Audi squad fending off everything Peugeot could throw at it. On the tenth anniversary of its first Le Mans win, Corvette Racing shook off last year's crushing disappointment at Le Mans with its victory, which also coincides with Chevrolet's centennial.
As the victors enjoy some well-earned celebration, the best auto race on Earth is history. We're already looking forward to next year.