Allan McNish, Audi, Le Mans, 2011

F1 drivers in the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours

2011 Le Mans 24 HoursPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The two biggest rivals at Le Mans – Audi and Peugeot – both have all-new cars for this year’s race.

The race organisers hoped to create a more level playing field between the diesel and petrol-powered cars, limiting the diesels to 3.7-litre engines and petrol-powered cars to 3.4 litres.

But the early signs are the Audi and Peugeot turbo diesels will have it all their own way.

The new car designs also have to have ‘shark fins’ – similar to those recently seen in F1 – to reduce the chance of cars flipping over in high-speed spins.

Here’s a guide to the former F1 drivers participating in this year’s race, which will also be covered on F1 Fanatic Live.

LMP1 class

Allan McNish, Audi, Le Mans, 2011
Allan McNish, Audi, Le Mans, 2011

Allan McNish
Audi Sport North America (Joest) Audi R18 TDI #3

Last F1 result: 2002 Japanese Grand Prix, Toyota, DNS (Injured)

The former Toyota driver has won the race twice, most recently in 2008.

He, Tom Kristensen – the most successful driver ever at Le Mans, boasting eight wins – and Dindo Capello, form Audi’s strongest driver line-up. He is the only former F1 driver at the wheel of one of their cars.

Jan Lammers
Hope Racing ORECA-Lehmann #5

Last F1 result: 1992 Australian Grand Prix, March-Ilmor, 12th

Jan Lammers returns to the race he last competed in three years ago.

Expectations are low for what he, Steve Zachia and Casper Elgaard can achieve in the Hope – the first car to race at Le Mans with a hybrid engine.

Lammers holds the unusual record for the longest gap between consecutive starts in Formula 1: a ten-year interval between his drives for ATS in 1982, and his return with March in 1992.

Peugeot 908 HDI, Le Mans, 2011
Peugeot 908 HDI, Le Mans, 2011

Anthony Davidson
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #7

Last F1 result: 2008 Spanish Grand Prix, Super Aguri-Honda, DNF (radiator)

In contrast to rivals Audi, seven of Peugeot’s nine drivers are former F1 racers. Davidson will skip his BBC commentating duties while making his third appearance at Le Mans.

Last year he told F1 Fanatic: “The LMP cars are on a par with what we had in Formula 1 just a couple of years ago with traction control and all the other electronic advancements that we have to play with.

“It?s a fascinating world and something I can really fall back on my previous experience of years as a test driver and the races that I did in 2007 and 2008.”

Marc Gene
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #7

Last F1 result: 2004 British Grand Prix, Williams-BMW, 12th

Gene shares the number seven Peugeot with Davidson and Alexander Wurz. He shared the winning car with Wurz and David Brabham in 2009.

Alexander Wurz
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #7

Last F1 result: 2007 Chinese Grand Prix, Williams-Toyota, 12th

Like team mate Davidson, Wurz has been a regular at Le Mans since the end of his F1 career.

Stephane Sarrazin
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #8

Last F1 result: 1999 Brazilian Grand Prix, Minardi-Ford, DNF (accident)

You’d be forgiven for forgetting Sarrazin’s sole F1 start at Interlagos, substituting for an injured Luca Badoer.

Franck Montagny
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #8

Last F1 result: 2006 French Grand Prix, Super Aguri-Honda, 16th

Montagny deserved better than a handful of starts for Super Aguri, before being dumped for the more sponsor-friendly Sakon Yamamoto.

Sarrazin and Montagny share their car with Nicolas Minassian.

Sebastien Bourdais
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #9

Last F1 result: 2009 German Grand Prix, Toro Rosso-Ferrari, DNF (hydraulics)

After a string of Champ Car titles Bourdais made his long-awaited F1 debut in 2008. But it didn’t go according to plan and Toro Rosso dropped him halfway through 2009, replacing him with Jaime Alguersuari.

Bourdais is a proper home driver – he was born in Le Mans – and first competed in the race in 1999. This year he is also participating in the road course races on the IndyCar calendar for Dale Coyne Racing.

Pedro Lamy
Peugeot Sport Total 908 HDi #9

Last F1 start: 1996 Japanese Grand Prix, Minardi-Ford, 12th

Lamy became the first Portuguese driver to score a point in F1, finishing sixth in the 1995 Australian Grand Prix.

One year earlier he crashed badly testing a Lotus at Silverstone, breaking his legs.

Lamy and Bourdais share their Peugeot with Simon Pagenaud.

Olivier Panis
Team ORECA Matmut Peugeot 908 HDI #10

Last F1 result: 2004 Japanese Grand Prix, Toyota, 14th

The 1996 Monaco Grand Prix winner makes his fourth start at Le Mans with ORECA.

Confusingly, Peugeot have continued to call their all-new car the 908. The 908 used by the ORECA team is the previous model.

Jean-Christophe Boullion
Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota B08/60 #13

Last F1 result: 1995 Pacific Grand Prix, Sauber-Ford, DNF

The former Sauber driver also races for a Swiss team at Le Mans. This will be his 12th start in the race.

Tiago Monteiro
OAK Racing Pescarolo-Judd P01 #15

Last F1 result: 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix, Midland-Toyota, 15th

Made his Le Mans debut in 2009 but skipped last year’s race.

Monteiro memorably reached the podium at the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix, when only six cars started the race.

He also races in the World Touring Car Championship.

Aston Martin, Le Mans, 2011
Aston Martin, Le Mans, 2011

Christian Klien
Aston Martin Racing AMR-One #007

Last F1 result: 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, HRT-Cosworth, 20th

The former HRT pilot returns to Le Mans having previously driven for Peugeot in 2008 and 2009.

But he faces a difficult race with the new Aston Martin which has suffered many problems in testing.

LMP2 class

Shinji Nakano
OAK Racing Pescarolo-BMW/Judd P01 #49

Last F1 result: 1998 Japanese Grand Prix, Minardi-Ford, DNF (Throttle)

Nakano hasn’t raced at Le Mans since 2008. He returns for his fifth start as the only former F1 driver in LMP2.

He made his F1 debut with Prost in 1997, scoring points for them twice.

GTE Pro class

Ferrari 458 Italia, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011
Ferrari 458 Italia, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Giancarlo Fisichella
AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia #51

Last F1 result: 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari, 16th

Fisichella was fourth in class on his Le Mans debut last year. He returns with the AF Corse squad this year, having swapped the F430 for the new 458 Italia.

Gianmaria Bruni
AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia #51

Last F1 result: 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, 17th

Former Minardi driver Bruni shares a car with Fisichella and Toni Vilander.

Jean-Denis Deletraz
Luxury Racing Ferrari 458 Italia #58

Last F1 result: 1995 European Grand Prix, Pacific-Ford, 15th

Deletraz made a few woeful appearances in F1 in 1994 and 1995. He’s been more successful in sports cars, winning the 2007 Spa 24 Hours. This is his ninth appearance at Le Mans.

Update: Deletraz will no longer participate in the race having been replaced by Pierre Thiriet. Thanks to Victor_RO for the tip.

Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Sebring, 2011
Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, Sebring, 2011

Olivier Beretta
Corvette Racing C6.R #73

Last F1 result: 1994 Hungarian Grand Prix, Larrousse-Ford, 9th

Beretta started just ten F1 races in 1994 but has a string of American sports car titles to his name.

Was on course for a win in the GT2 class last year until team mate Emanuel Collard collided with Davidson’s Peugeot. This year he shares his car with Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia.

Jan Magnussen
Corvette Racing C6.R #74

Last F1 result: 1998 Canadian Grand Prix, Stewart-Ford, 6th

The second of the Corvettes, which should be right in the thick of the competitive GTE field, is driven by ex-McLaren and Stewart pilot Jan Magnussen.

Magnussen was dropped halfway through his second season of F1 and has raced at Le Mans every year since.

Follow the Le Mans 24 Hours on F1 Fanatic Live

F1 Fanatic Live will be running throughout the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Join us for live comments plus tweets from the teams and drivers ahead of the race start at 3pm local time (2pm British time) on Saturday.

Who’s your tip for victory at Le Mans this year? Have your say in the comments.

Le Mans 24 Hours

Images ?? Audi, Peugeot, Aston Martin, Ferrari spa, Corvette