“Each Le Mans is always unique”, said Romain Dumas, Audi’s factory driver.
And indeed he is right as this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans did see some new and unique entries into the grid, joining in the usual faces in endurance racing like Audi, Aston Martin and Corvette. Toyota made a surprising entry into the LMP1 class with two of their TS030 petrol-hybrid racers, challenging the champions bearing the Four Rings while Nissan had a unique entry into the race with their experimental DeltaWing, which is also its first appearance in any race.
But unfortunately things did not go well for both of them. While just five hours into the race, the No.8 TS030 piloted by Anthony Davidson had come into contact with a Ferrari 458 Italia while he was about to go into a corner from the Mulsanne straight, sending the hybrid Toyota airborne before ending up in the tire barrier with the Ferrari, putting them both out of the race. Looking pretty similar like Allan McNish’s 2011 crash, Davidson also survived the crash but was hospitalized with two fractured vertebra.
That had left Toyota’s No.7 to carry the flag, but it did not end well for it either. The No.7 went into the pits during the safety car period, and only a few moments after the race restarted, it had crashed into Nissan’s DeltaWing, knocking the experimental racecar off-track and into the wall. Although the No.7 did manage to continue the race afterwards, the DeltaWing was out of the race, despite efforts in trying to revive it. The sole TS030 later on had to retire from the race due to engine failure at around the 12th hour of the race.
And as predicted, the Audi team had again dominated the Circuit De La Sarthe; taking in the first, second third and fifth position of the chequered flag. Although it did not end well for both of the teams, they had displayed a great potential, especially for the DeltaWing where it had managed to clock a 3:45.737 across the 13.629km circuit.
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Looks like it’s done on purpose. The ferrari tries hard to narrow the gap from the outer lane towards the apex, while the Toyota pushes hard before the gap closes, but the rear did not clear properly, and at those high speeds a slight nudge means a major accident.
Salute to the Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro team! I was waiting for the Deltawing to come out after getting hit but eventually it didn’t…i like d way it swirl around d corner…but no match to the flawless Audi machine!