The 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans turned out to be a historic homecoming for Porsche claiming a 1-2 victory. My pre-race predictions were somewhat less successful, let’s see how they turned out class by class.
Winner: I had predicted the No. 18 Porsche driven by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas. I didn’t get the number right but the marque was correct as the sister car driven by Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber was victorious. The 18 finished fifth.
Dark Horse: Eighth place was the best that the No. 1 Toyota could do. Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima did what they could, but nine laps off the pace is a harsh reality when looking at the time sheets.
Long Shot: The No. 9 Audi finished a distant seventh sandwiched between the two Toyotas. It’s not where Reinhold Joest wants them to finish, but it’s better than not finishing at all.
Winner: My prediction ended up third in class as I didn’t think KCMG would be able to keep the lead from the pole position. Of course, KCMG managed to lead nearly the entire distance scoring a dominant win for the No. 47 car of Richard Bradley, Matthew Howson and Nicolas Lapierre.
Dark Horse: The No. 46 Oreca Nissan retired after an incident in the middle of the race with the No. 99 Aston Martin. After 204 laps, former Champ Car driver Tristan Gommendy had to retire the car.
Long Shot: The No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports car was not at the front end of the LMP2 grid, but finishing was a good result for the American squad as Ryan Dalziel, Scott Sharp and David Heinemeier Hansson brought the car home in 28th position overall and tenth in class.
Winner: The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 was not able to stay out of the garage, a lengthy stay in the last hour and a half took the team out of contention for the win and relegated them to the bottom step of the podium.
Dark Horse: The No. 97 Aston Martin car retired very early in the race with 110 laps completed and finished 51st overall.
Long Shot: This was a very good story as Corvette Racing managed to win despite the No. 63 car’s withdrawal. Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Jordan Taylor deserve massive props for bringing their C7.R the victory.
Winner: The No. 98 Aston Martin unfortunately proved that the first cliché of racing is true: to finish first, first you must finish. In the final hour of the race Paul Dalla Lana went straight into the barrier at the Ford Chicane while leading the class. This allowed SMP Racing No. 72 Ferrari with Victor Shaytar into first and on top of the podium.
Dark Horse: The No. 53 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper sadly retired after completing 304 laps when mechanical issues relegated the car to the garage. The Viper was able to lead early in the race, but late race reliability is what brings cars to victory lane.
Long Shot: The Larbre Competition Corvette retired after completing only 94 laps. The team suffering after an accident in the morning warm up. The No. 50 finished 52nd overall.
Image: Porsche AG