The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2013 was held 22-23 June at the 38-turn, 8.469 mile Circuit de la Sarthe in France. The 81st running of the endurance race will be remembered for many things: the celebration of 90 years of myth and legend; a new chapter in the history book; a rewritten record; and, a stark reminder of the risk that motorsport presents.
Tom Kristensen and his teammates Allan McNish and Loïc Duval in the #2 Audi Sport Team Joest LM P1 took overall victory, the ninth overall victory for Kristensen. In GTE, Porsche prepared the way for its return to LM P1 competition in 2014 by securing its 99th and 100th class wins by taking both the Professional and Amateur classes respectively with #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz and #76 IMSA Performance Matmut of Raymond Narac, Jean-Karl-Vernay and Christophe Bourret. The LM P2 class win went to the #35 Morgan – Nissan of Oak Racing driven by Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez.
Aston Martin Racing finished third in GTE Pro class with its #97 Vantage GTE, a result dedicated by the team to its driver Allan Simonsen (DN), who was involved in a tragic accident in the #95 car shortly after the start of the race. David Richards, Chairman of Aston Martin, commented, “Following the wishes of Allan’s family, the team continued its participation in the race which was obviously very emotional and difficult for everyone. Both the #97 and #99 cars led for long periods of time but, ultimately, it was the changing weather in the last hours that cost us the victory we all longed for. I’d like to thank everyone who has shown us such support over the weekend and sent the messages of condolence to Allan’s family.”
The official statement from Automobile Club de l’Ouest:
At 15h09 the No.95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, driven by Allan Simonsen of Denmark, exited the track at high speed at the Tertre Rouge corner on his fourth lap of the race. The driver was immediately attended on the scene by the doctors from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Medical Service. In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries.
Allan Simonsen’s family has been informed immediately by David Richards, Principal of the Aston Martin Racing team. Allan Simonsen, an experienced driver aged 34, had taken part in seven 24 Heures du Mans.
His team mates in the No.95 car were his fellow countrymen, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen. The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will make no further statement while the exact reasons for the accident are still being wholly determined.
The race was gripping from the start as the LM P1 cars from Audi and Toyota traded places for supremacy. One by one challenges began to fall short of the exacting standard demanded. The Japanese team improved upon its 2012 performance with both cars not just finishing, but doing so in 2nd and 4th positions. The German team took overall victory with its #2 car, plus 3rd and 5th spots. Its chance to repeat a clean sweep was dented by the relentless challenge of Toyota and more seriously its #1 car suffering mechanical problems that kept it in the pits for close on 45 minutes. Yet none of this should diminish the accomplishment of the winning drivers.
Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich remarked post-race, “This is my 15th time at Le Mans, and this race was the most difficult for the drivers, teams and those deciding strategy. It was vital to be prepared, and with everything that happened it was very, very intense.”
You can only benefit from the misfortunes of others if you are fully ready. “Always expect and prepare for the unexpected,” Kristensen said before the race. Clearly the #2 drivers, mechanics and management had done so. Their car spent no time off the track or in the garage. Precise driving, efficient pit stops, effective driver changes along with adapting to the changeable weather and other distractions confirmed their R18 e-tron quattro was well primed for the contest.
Allan McNish complimented the preparation of the car, and explained their strategy was, “to be very careful, making sure [they] were clean and tidy, and did not have any extra pit-stops. Apart from one puncture it was a perfect run and you don’t get many of those, but that’s what we needed to win today.”
The 90th Anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans, did not run according to the hoped for script. Post-race celebrations have been muted and respectful. The closing words go to nine time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Kristensen, who knows better than anyone the rigours, dangers and emotions of endurance racing, “It is a dream come true winning the toughest and fastest race in the world…but we lost someone yesterday who had the same dream; so we have mixed feelings and this race is dedicated to Allan.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an event that endures effortlessly. Able to captivate, to impassion and to enthuse, its legacy is ever-growing and its ability to inspire teams to measure physical ability and mental capacity in a trial of man and machine is undiminished. The latest chapter in its illustrious 90-year history has now closed and becomes part of the legend.
24 Hours of Le Mans 2013 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)
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24 Hours of Le Mans 2013 – Overall Race Results
1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 348 laps
2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 347 laps
3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 347 laps
4. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 341 laps
5. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 338 laps
6. #21 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03c LMP1 332 laps
7. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 329 laps
8. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 328 laps
9. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 327 laps
10. #42 Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 327 laps
11. #49 Companc/Kaffer/Minassian Pecom Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 325 laps
12. #43 Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard Morand Racing Morgan-Judd LMP2 320 laps
13. #48 Hartley/Patterson/Chandhock Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 319 laps
14. #38 Dolan/Turvey/Luhr Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 319 laps
15. #36 Paniatici/Ragues/Gommendy Signatech Alpine Alpine-Nissan LMP2 317 laps
16. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro 315 laps
17. #91 Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro 315 laps
18. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Pro 314 laps
19. #34 Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen Race Performance Oreca 03-Judd LMP2 314 laps
20. #73 Garcia/Taylor/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 312 laps
21. #71 Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro 311 laps
22. #51 Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro 311 laps
23. #74 Gavin/Milner/Westbrook Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 309 laps
24. #41 Kimber-Smith/Lux/Rossi Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan LMP2 307 laps
25. #53 Farnbacher/Dalziel/Goossens SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 306 laps
26. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 306 laps
27. #55 Perazzini/Case/O’Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 305 laps
28. #61 Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 305 laps
29. #77 Dempsey/Foster/Long Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 305 laps
30. #50 Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor Larbre Competition Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Am 302 laps
31. #96 Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Am 301 laps
32. #93 Bomarito/Kendall/Wittmer SRT Motorsport Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 301 laps
33. #40 Downs/Dagonneau/Younessi Boutsen Ginion Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 300 laps
34. #67 Gibon/Milesi/Henzler IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 300 laps
35. #66 Bertolini/Alfaisal/Qubaisi JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro 300 laps
36. #88 Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 300 laps
37. #75 Collard/Crubile/Perrodo Prospeed Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 298 laps
38. #81 Potolicchio/Aguas/Bright 8 Star Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 294 laps
39. #39 Porta/Raffin/Brandela DKR Engineering Lola B11/40-Judd LMP2 280 laps
40. #12 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60-Toyota LMP1 275 laps
41. #13 Belicchi/Beche/Cheng Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60-Toyota LMP1 275 laps
42. #70 MacNeil/Rodrigues/Dumas Larbre Competition Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Am 268 laps
43. #33 Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b LMP2 242 laps
44. #46 Thiriet/Badey/Martin Thiriet by TDS Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 310 laps
45. #99 Bell/Makowiecki/Senna Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Pro 248 laps
46. #45 Nicolet/Merlin/Mondolot OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 246 laps
47. #47 Imperatori/Tung/Howson KCMG Morgan-Nissan LMP2 241 laps
48. #98 Auberlen/Dalla Lana/Lamy Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Pro 221 laps
49. #32 Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz Lotus Lotus T128 LMP2 219 laps
50. #30 Mowlem/Hirschi/Burgess HVM Status GP Lola B12/80 Coupe-Judd LMP2 153 laps
51. #54 Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 147 laps
52. #57 Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani Krohn Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 111 laps
53. #25 Graves/Nakano/Hamilton Delta-ADR Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 101 laps
54. #28 Giroix/ Haezebrouck/Ihara Gulf Racing Middle East Lola B12/80 Coupe-Nissan LMP2 22 laps
55. #31 Weeda/Rossiter/Bouchut Lotus Lotus T128 LMP2 17 laps
56. #95 Simonsen/Poulsen/Nygaard Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Am 2 laps
24 Hours of Le Mans 2013 – Top Three Class Results