The 90th anniversary of the 24h of Le Mans was overshadowed by the death of the danish sportscar driver Allan Simonsen.
It was raining and he led in the GTE Am class, going into the 2nd lap of the race. Then he turned into the Tetre Rouge corner.
He came out wide onto the run-off area and lost control of his Aston Martin Vantage V8.
He then made a big impact against the armcor barrier on the drivers side.
Allan was still responsive after the crash and then he was taken to the Medical Center, where he succumbed his injuries.
The death of Allan was officialy announced from the ACO on 18:00 o’clock/6 pm (GMT+1) during the race.
The family of Allan wanted Aston Martin Racing and Prodrive to continue the race.
It was the first death during the race of the 24h of Le Mans since 1986, were Jo Gartner died in a Porsche 962LM Group C and the first death in the 24h of Le Mans since 1997, were Sebastian Enjolras died in a Welter LMP in pre-Qualifying .
Allan Simonsen was one of the most experienced sports car drivers out there and he also drove in the Australian V8 Supercars Series for Kelly Racing.
It was he’s 7th 24h of Le Mans, he will be truly missed. He was only 34 years old.
R.I.P. Allan Simonsen.
Official Statement from the ACO:
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which organizes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, released the following statement:
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.
LMP1: Audi vs Toyota and Rebellion with bad luck
Audi were the favourites for the race and nobody expected Toyota to challenge them.
But we were surprised. Toyota already showed their pace at the first lap, were Lapierre went from 4th to 2nd and nearly overtaking the #1 Audi for the lead of the race, until the Safety Car came out.
After the SC, Lapierre couldn’t drive the pace of the #1 Audi with Andre Lotterer anymore and had to settle for 2nd.
Then Lapierre swapped positions with his teammate Davidson on the 3rd hour and then both stayed on 2nd and 3rd positon until the last hour of the race.
Meanwhile the No.1 Audi with Lotterer/Treyuler/Fässler had no problems and it looked like they would run away with the win, but in the evening time the No.1 Audi had to come into the garage for a alternator change.
It costed them over 40 minutes to change it and of course it costed them the race win.
The No.3 Audi R18 with Jarvis/Di Grassi/Gene had also problems at the same time.
The car had contact with a the Labre Competition Corvette from the GTE-Am class and had a right rear tire puncture. They lost nearly 10 minutes at the pitstop.
But after that the #3 car had a awesome battle with the #7 Toyota from Lapierre/Nakajima/Wurz for 3rd position.
But the #7 eventually got 3rd position.
The No.2 Audi with McNish/Kristensen/Duval then grabbed the lead from the No.1 Audi and stayed there until the end.
They had a lead over 2 laps of the 2nd placed Toyota TS030 from Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi.
The #7 Toyota was 3rd but lost the position when Lapierre crashed his car at the Porsche corners in rainy conditions and it was only 1 hour to go.
Lapierre brought his damaged car back to the garage and after half an hour the car was repaired, what was a great effort by Toyota Racing.
The #7 Toyota finished 4th behind the #3 Audi.
The #13 Rebellion Lotus Lola was on a incredible 5th position with Belicchi/Beche/Cheng. But Andrea Belicchi crahsed the car after the SC period hard into the barriers.
Belicchi was taken to the hospital were he broke two rips. Also the #12 Rebellion was in trouble with Jani/Prost/Heidfeld.
The car had mechanical misfortunes and finished 8th in class. Surprisingly then the Strakka HPD from Levenths/Kane/Watts won the LMP1 Privatiers battle, what wasn’t really a battle.
LMP2: OAK Racing dominance
The Morgan Nissan from OAK Racing was the fastest car out on track.
The car is 8 kph faster on the straights than for example the Oreca 03 Nissan, because the car is/was actually a LMP1 car transformed into a P2 car.
So Baguette/Nicolet made a start/finish win nearly leading every single lap in this class.
Baguette spun under heavy rain in the 23rd hour but managed to bring the car back to the track safely to win the race.
3rd was the G-Drive Racing Oreca 03 Nissan from Conway/Martin/Rusinov ahead of the Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan from Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm.
The two Lotus T128 Praga were 15 and 16th in class for a long time until they had both to retire because of mechanical issues in the morning of the race.
GTE-Pro and Am: Porsche vs Aston Martin, Corvette disappointment
Porsche had a great lead battle with the race win favourites Aston Martin since lap 4 of the race.
After the #97 Aston Martin from Turner/Mücke/Dumbreck drove into the pits to switch from slick to rain tires, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR from Lieb/Lietz/Dumas drove away with the win in GTE-Pro.
They landed ahead of the #92 Porsche 911 RSR from Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister.
AF Corse couldn’t really catch up with the pace of the Aston’s and the Porsche’s and were the best of the rest with 4th and 5th.
Corvette was surprisingly slow, only 6th was the best postion. The SRT Viper GTS-R also disappointed with 8th and 9th in class.
Porsche also won in GTE-Am with the IMSA Matmut Perfomance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 2012 spec from Narrac/Burnet/Vernay.
Dempsey DelPiero Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR with Foster/Long/Dempsey lost the good looking 3rd positon to a AF Corse Ferrari, so they finished 4th.
It was a great 24h of Le Mans 2013, despite the death of Allan Simonsen.
The next race of the WEC is on the 1st September 2013 at the 6h of Sau Paulo in Brazil.
WEC drivers Prototype Champioship standings:
|4||DI GRASSI L.||BRA||/||0||15||0||30||0||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||45|
|10||HEINEMEIER HANSSON D.||DNK||4||1||2||0||8||0||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||15|
|12||PEREZ COMPANC L.||ARG||2||0||4||1||1||0||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||8|
|18||KA TO J.||CHN||0,5||0||/||0||/||0||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||–||0,5|
WEC Teams GTE-Pro championship standings:
Porsche AG Team Manthey 74
Aston Martin Racing 71
AF Corse Ferrari 60
AF Corse Ferrari 56
Porsche AG Team Manthey 44
Aston Martin Racing 26
Full results (without retirements):
1. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 348 laps (34 stops)
2. #8 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 347 laps (30 stops)
3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 347 laps (30 stops)
4. #7 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS030 hybrid LMP1 * 341 laps (29 stops)
5. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 * 338 laps (32 stops)
6. #21 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka Racing HPD ARX-03c LMP1 * 332 laps (29 stops)
7. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 329 laps (30 stops)
8. #24 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2 * 328 laps (31 stops)
9. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 327 laps (32 stops)
10. #42 Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 327 laps (28 stops)
11. #49 Companc/Kaffer/Minassian Pecom Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 * 325 laps (29 stops)
12. #43 Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard Morand Racing Morgan-Judd LMP2 320 laps (28 stops)
13. #48 Hartley/Patterson/Chandhock Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 319 laps (29 stops)
14. #38 Dolan/Turvey/Luhr Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan LMP2 319 laps (29 stops)
15. #36 Paniatici/Ragues/Gommendy Signatech Alpine Alpine-Nissan LMP2 317 laps (32 stops)
16. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro * 315 laps (22 stops)
17. #91 Bernhard/Pilet/Bergmeister Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR GTE-Pro * 315 laps (24 stops)
18. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Pro * 314 laps (24 stops)
19. #34 Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen Race Performance Oreca 03-Judd LMP2 314 laps (32 stops)
20. #73 Garcia/Taylor/Magnussen Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 312 laps (23 stops)
21. #71 Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro * 311 laps (23 stops)
22. #51 Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro * 311 laps (23 stops)
23. #74 Gavin/Milner/Westbrook Corvette Racing Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Pro 309 laps (25 stops)
24. #41 Kimber-Smith/Lux/Rossi Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan LMP2 * 307 laps (31 stops)
25. #53 Farnbacher/Dalziel/Goossens SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 306 laps (28 stops)
26. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 306 laps (23 stops)
27. #55 Perazzini/Case/O’Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am 305 laps (24 stops)
28. #61 Gerber/Griffin/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am * 305 laps (23 stops)
29. #77 Dempsey/Foster/Long Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 305 laps (24 stops)
30. #50 Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor Larbre Competition Corvette C6 ZR-1 GTE-Am * 302 laps (25 stops)
31. #96 Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTE-Am * 301 laps (26 stops)
32. #93 Bomarito/Kendall/Wittmer SRT Motorsport Viper GTS-R GTE-Pro 301 laps (26 stops)
33. #40 Downs/Dagonneau/Younessi Boutsen Ginion Racing Oreca 03-Nissan LMP2 300 laps (29 stops)
34. #67 Gibon/Milesi/Henzler IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am 300 laps (22 stops)
35. #66 Bertolini/Alfaisal/Qubaisi JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Pro 300 laps (26 stops)
36. #88 Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 300 laps (23 stops)
37. #75 Collard/Crubile/Perrodo Prospeed Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RSR GTE-Am * 298 laps (23 stops)
38. #81 Pottolicchio/Aguas/Bright 8 Star Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GTE-Am * 294 laps (25 stops)
39. #39 Porta/Raffin/Brandela DKR Engineering Lola B11/40-Judd LMP2 280 laps (31 stops)
40. #12 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60-Toyota LMP1 * 275 laps (26 stops)
We have good days in Le Mans right now. A manufactur after the other is confirming a Le Mans entry for 2013/2014.
Nissan confirmed a return at the Sarthe last week.
They will begin their LMP1 programm in 2014 to start from the 56th box, before they make a full entry 2015 to the WEC and Le Mans.
Nissans last time at Le Mans was from 1997-2000 when they used the R390 GT1 car to compete against the Porsche 911 GT1 and the McLaren F1 GTR.
But we don’t know how the Nissan LMP1 will gonna look like. Hopefully like this, it looks similar to the Aston Lola though..
Now Porsche is also coming back in 2014 with a LMP1 car to compete against Audi and Toyota, but we know that already since last year. The first testing sessions could come in mid-summer. We don’t know how the Porsche LMP1 is gonna look like either.
Renault confirmed that they bring the name Alpine back to the Sarthe after 35 years. Alpine-Renault will already comeback this year with Signatech from the LMP2 class. Signatech will now switch from Nissan to the Renault engine. It’s just the beginning of a longtime project for Renault, so we can see them also in the LMP1 class in the near future. Alpine-Renault won the 1978 24h Le Mans.
Lotus also planning a LMP1 car with the T128, this car will be first used as a LMP2 prototype this year in Le Mans and then for the rest of the WEC season.
But what is with the experimental looking Delta Wing? Well the Delta Wing is optimized for the LMP1 class and now has a different color. From “Batman” to the “Silver Arrow” (the name rings a bell)
Which other Manufactures could also come to Le Mans?
Mazda has been always romourd to come to Le Mans one day.
They build the Mazda Furai Concept few years ago and are building engines for Dyson Racing in the ALMS.
Mazda planned to bring a LMP2 engine with a Lola car this year.
But no they were finding it more important to build the Mazda 6 GX car for the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series instead of
concetrating on the come back for the biggest endurance race in the world.
Of course they wanted to show the perfomance of the Mazda 6 on a racetrack, but who cares?
I mean there are only four cars in the GX class, two of them are Mazda 6s.
The action is in the DP and GT class, so i don’t see a future for this class, especially when Grand Am an ALMS are coming together in one series in 2014 and nobody knows if this class is going to survive.
The last time Mazda was at Le Mans was in 1991 when their won the 24h Le Mans with the legendary 787B.
Aston Martin had their problems with their comeback to Le Mans back in 2009.
The Aston Lola was a quite good car, for 3 hour races, but not for 24h hour races.
This car nearly won the ALMS title in 2011.
Aston Martin then produced the all new AMR-One for Le Mans 2011 and guess what happend.
This car only lasted seven laps and it was so embarrissing that Aston Martin retired from their LMP programm.
I hope they comeback one day, but hopefully with more success.
Who remembers the Bentley Speed 8 at Le Mans 2003?
Yes they won the race but after then Bentley retired due financial issues, because of the build of an new road car, named the Continental GT.
Bentley now coming back into motorsport with the Continental Supersports GT3 for the FIA GT Series and the Blaincpain Endurance Series.
Bentley said that they have interes to build an LMP, but ave to concetrate on their GT3 programm.
But Bentley could easily comeback, they just have to build the GTE version of the Continental and that’s it!!!
Of course they are also other Manufactures like Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes, MG, Cadillac (yes in 2002), and we don’t have to forget the privatiers like Rebillion, Strakka, OAK, Pikket, Dyson, Drayson and many more.
Of course looking forward to the comeback of Dome maybe next year with their own LMP1 car
Exciting times for the WEC and Le Mans ahead in the next 2-3 years and of course with awesome racing.
The WEC goes in 2013 in his 2nd year. They will be still 8 rounds, including the 24h of Le Mans. The WEC will drive in Austin instead of the 12h of Sebring and Silverstone is now the season opener. They will also make ”Super Weekends” with the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) in Silverstone and Spa, ALMS with Austin and the AsLMS (Asian Le Mans Series) in Fuji and Shanghai.
Toyota will only use one TS030 in the entire WEC season (apart from Spa and Le Mans). Audi will still use two R18 Diesel Hybrids and four cars for Le Mans. Audi will even compete the 12h of Sebring, the season opener of the ALMS (American Le Mans Series). Rebillion will only use one Lola B10/60 Toyota, because they use two of them in the ALMS. OAK and JRM didn’t confirm anything to their LMP1 programm and Strakka will also use one HPD ARX-03a. So only 5 cars are in the LMP1 class, maybe more in Spa and Le Mans.
The LMP2 is the class with the most cars. Lotus will use two T128, Gulf and Greaves will also use two cars. OAK will compete with two Morgan Nissans and Signatech Nissan with two Zyteks. ADR-Delta and Pecom will use one car each.
In GTE-Pro are two cars each from AF-Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, Manthey Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage V12. In GTE-Am they could be two Corvette Rcaing ZR1, one IMSA Porsche and maybe one BMW Z4 from Saudi Falcons.
Note: I will visit the 6 Hours of Spa this year, follow me on twitter @Motorsport4ever and subscribe to motorsportracer97 on Youtube for news and (hopefully) HD footage of the ELMS and WEC race.
WEC (World Endurance Championship) Calender 2013:
1. 6H Silverstone 14th April 2013 (Super Weekend ELMS)
2. 6H Spa-Francorchamps 04th May 2013 (Super Weekend ELMS)
3. 24H Le Mans 22nd June 2013
4. 6H Sao Paulo 01st September 2013
5. 6H Austin 22nd September 2013 (Super Weekend ALMS)
6. 6H Fuji 20th Oktober 2013 (Super Weekend AsLMS)
7. 6H Shanghai 10th November 2013 (Super Weekend AsLMS)
8. 6H Bahrain 30th November 2013