Will rules break help Toyota beat Audi at Le Mans?

2013 Le Mans 24 Hours preview

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours. The name of one team is writ large across the recent history of the classic endurance contest: Audi, who won the race 11 times in the last 13 years.

But a change in the rules ahead of the year’s race could bring rivals Toyota into contention for overall honours. And as always there are several ex-F1 drivers to look out for in the huge field.

LMP1: Audi vs Toyota

Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Le Mans, 2013

In 2012 few thought Toyota could break the Audi hegemony on their return to endurance racing. Expectations are inevitably higher in their second year of competition.

Audi swept the titles in the reborn World Endurance Championship last year. They also claimed an almost routine 11th Le Mans triumph which for the second year in a row came courtesy of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer.

Toyota TS030 Hybrid, Paul Ricard, 2013But as the season drew to a close there were signs Toyota were ready to take the fight to their rivals. The TS030 Hybrid won three of the final four races at Interlagos, Fuji and Shanghai.

So when this year’s championship began at Silverstone in April hopes were high we would see a closely-fought battle between the two major manufacturers. But after claiming pole position for the race the Toyotas were outgunned by Audi’s R18 e-tron quattros.

Three weeks later the Six Hours of Spa was also won by Audi and as at Silverstone the highest Toyota was a lap behind. Their only 2013-spec car, in its first outing of the year, failed after four hours.

Following Spa the Automobile Club de l’Ouest invoked a rules change which will help Toyota bridge the gap. The ACO ruled petrol-powered LMP1 cars such as Toyota’s may carry an extra three litres of fuel – an increase the diesel-powered Audis are denied.

Audi objected to the change, claiming they were no quicker than the 2013 Toyota at Spa before it retired. But were Audi hiding their true pace?

After their performance last year Toyota’s minimum goal must be to get one of their cars to the finish. Both their cars retired before half-distance in 2012: Anthony Davidson sustained back injuries in a frightening crash and Kazuki Nakajima collided with the DeltaWing car before retiring with engine problems.

LMP2: Caterham join fierce battle

Greaves Motorsport Caterham Zytek Z11SN Nissan, 2013

The LMP1 entry may look a bit thin with just eight cars (five fewer than last year) but there’s a healthy LMP2 contingent to boost the ranks of the prototype division.

A shortage of funds forced LMP1 team JRM to abandon their entry leaving Karun Chandhok to join the Murphy Prototypes squad.

Caterham have a presence at Le Mans this year via the Greaves Motorsport squad. Their engineers, technicians and data analysts will work within the Greaves team on a Caterham-liveried Zytek Z11SN-Nissan. Caterham F1 reserve and GP2 driver Alexander Rossi will be part of the three-man driving squad.

Lotus have two examples of their new T128 for Le Mans, one of which is piloted by Force India tester James Rossiter. The car is not to be confused with the 2011 F1 car of the same name which was campaigned by Caterham when they were called Lotus. Got that? Good.

JRM are not the only team to have pulled out at the last minute. Green GT had entered under the ACO’s Garage 56 rules which allow a car not built to the regulations to compete as a means of promoting alternative technologies. But they withdrew their unconventionally-styled hydrogen fuel cell-powered car from the race earlier this month as they felt it wasn’t ready.

GT: Kobayashi joins Ferrari, Senna at Aston Martin

Kamui Kobayashi, Ferrari 458 Italia, Spa-Francorchamps, 2013

Two drivers who were on the grid at the 2012 F1 season finale have landed works GT drives for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. Kamui Kobayashi is at the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia and Bruno Senna has joined Aston Martin.

Kobayashi is part of the crack AF Corse squad who won the race last year with two other ex-F1 drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni. Tony Vilander was the third man in that car but this year he joins Kobayashi and Olivier Beretta, who took the class win for Corvette in 2011.

A single Dodge Viper will go up against the ranks of Ferraris, Aston Martins, Chevrolets and Porsches. An extra 911 was given an entry following the withdrawal of the Green GT car.

F1 drivers at the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours

Driver Team # Car Class Notes
Allan McNish Audi 2 R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 Raced for Toyota’s F1 team, now striving to beat them at Le Mans.
Marc Gene Audi 3 R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 Williams substitute won Le Mans with Peugeot in 2009.
Lucas di Grassi Audi 3 R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 Le Mans debut for ex-Virgin racer and Pirelli tester.
Alexander Wurz Toyota 7 TS030 Hybrid LMP1 Another former Williams driver who shared winning car in 2009.
Kazuki Nakajima Toyota 7 TS030 Hybrid LMP1 Swiped DeltaWing out of race on Le Mans debut last year.
Anthony Davidson Toyota 8 TS030 Hybrid LMP1 Making fifth consecutive start after surviving horror crash last year.
Sebastien Buemi Toyota 8 TS030 Hybrid LMP1 Red Bull reserve driver returns for second go with Toyota.
Stephane Sarrazin Toyota 8 TS030 Hybrid LMP1 One-time F1 starter making 12th Le Mans appearance.
Nick Heidfeld Rebellion 12 Lola-Toyota B12/60 Coupe LMP1 Team mate of Webber’s at Mercedes in 1999, second start for Rebellion.
Shinji Nakano Delta-ADR 25 Oreca-Nissan 03 LMP2 Has raced the ‘big three': Monaco GP, Indy 500 and Le Mans.
Karun Chandhok Murphy Prototypes 48 Oreca-Nissan 03 LMP2 Sixth overall on Le Mans debut with JRM last year.
Gianmaria Burni AF Corse 51 Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Pro Claimed several GT titles after F1 stint with Minardi.
Giancarlo Fisichella AF Corse 51 Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Pro A fixture in Ferrari’s GT squad since ending his F1 career with the team.
Olivier Beretta AF Corse 71 Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Pro Ten-times F1 racer entering his 19th consecutive Le Mans.
Kamui Kobayashi AF Corse 71 Ferrari 458 Italia LMGTE Pro Ex-Sauber driver making first Le Mans start while eyeing F1 return.
Jan Magnussen Chevrolet 73 Corvette C6 ZR1 LMGTE Pro Corvette stalwart has four class wins in the C6.R and its predecessor.
Pedro Lamy Aston Martin 98 Vantage V8 LMGTE Pro Raced in amateur class last year as a substitute and won.
Bruno Senna Aston Martin 99 Vantage V8 LMGTE Pro Drove an LMP1 Oreca in his 2009 ‘gap year’ but didn’t finish.

Seven former F1 drivers who competed in last year’s race are not in the field this time: Franck Montagny, Jean-Christophe Boullion, Sebastien Bourdais, David Brabham, Stefan Johansson, Jean-Denis Deletraz and Martin Brundle.

there’s always the possibility of last-minute changes so you can find the full entry list here:

Le Mans 24 Hours on F1 Fanatic Live

F1 Fanatic Live will be running throughout the race. Join us on Saturday afternoon for the build-up and all 24 hours of the race.

UK television coverage will be on Eurosport.

2013 Le Mans 24 Hours timetable

Date Time (local) Session
16th June 2:30pm – 7pm Scrutineering
17th June 10am – 6pm Scrutineering
19th June 4pm – 8pm Free practice
19th June 10pm – 12am Qualifying
20th June 7pm – 9pm Qualifying
20th June 10pm – 12am Qualifying
22nd June 9am – 9:45am Warm-up
22nd June 3pm Le Mans 24 Hours race start
23rd June 3pm Le Mans 24 Hours race finish

Over to you

Will you be joining us to watch this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours? Who’s your tip for victory in the different classes?

Have your say in the comments.

Images ?é?® Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Audi, Chevrolet, Toyota

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53 comments on Will rules break help Toyota beat Audi at Le Mans?

  1. andae23 (@andae23) said on 14th June 2013, 10:17

    F1 Fanatic Live will be running throughout the race.

    Yay! :)

    Also, here’s a spotters guide: http://www.spotterguides.com/2013-wec/

  2. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 14th June 2013, 10:59

    The best night of the year is coming!

  3. S.J.M (@sjm) said on 14th June 2013, 11:17

    As said by others too, I really feel that for Toyota to get the best chance, they should be running 3 cars with a strong driver lineup.

    I cant wait for Le Man, hopefully the rule change will bring the teams together rather then give anyone an massive advantage.

    • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 14th June 2013, 20:48

      Their drivers are good wurz davidson and sarrazin were peugot drivers before they pulled out nakajima addmitedly is there because of toyota. I don’t know if its sebastian bourdais or buemi the table says buemi but the written list underneath says bourdais. bourdais was also a peugot driver and much better there than he was in f1 i think he joined toyota to so i assume it is bourdais. Buemi isn’t exactly a slouch though so toyota do have exceptional drivers…discounting nakajima.

  4. WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 14th June 2013, 11:28

    Will rules break help Toyota beat Audi at Le Mans? No. If Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer don’t win, then we can indeed start preparing for the onset of an apocalypse. Audi has a monster of a car, a Vettel-esc driver in Andre Lotterer, and nothing but the somewhat disappointing TS030 to worry them. However, I would wager that this time next year we’d be about to experience perhaps the best LMP1 battle at Le Mans for year, with Porsche looking likely to hit the ground running with a heavily invested in chassis and a driver line-up that will probably be headed by Mark Webber. Further down the grid, there is equal domination going on, with the Aston Martin Vantage GT3s putting in some excellent performances this year. The newly competitive chassis, in the hands of brilliant driver line-up of car #97, Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke (two guys who just recently dominated the Blancpain Endurance round at Silverstone in the Vantage GT3) and Bruno Senna, the Astons look well set to claim the GTE class win at Le Mans. Normally, I’d be severely contemplating going to Le Mans, but this year the result looks set to be rather too much of a formality. That, however, I don’t expect to be the case next year, so I hope to have a little trip over to Circuit la Sarthe next year.

    • FlyingLobster27 said on 14th June 2013, 12:15

      Mücke and Turner aren’t teamed up with Senna, but with Peter Dumbreck. Senna’s in the #99 Vantage GTE with Rob Bell and Fred Makowiecki, which is also an impressive line-up. Furthermore, I don’t think the GTE-Pro class is a foregone conclusion (or any class for that matter, although Audi have found some extra pace this year – thanks to an exhaust-blown diffuser?). The Astons are very quick on one lap, but haven’t turned that into domination just yet. Ferrari and Corvette are still good bets in the long run.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 15th June 2013, 15:42

        Sorry about that, but if anything, the presence of Dumbreck adds greater weight to my argument. Aston have the best driver line-up of the GTE-Pro teams, they have a great car over a lap, and definitely go into the weekend as the favourites. Regarding Ferrari, I agree, they probably have superior long run pace this year, but Corvette? Corvette have been extremely uncompetitive since the creation of the WEC, and they definitely aren’t in the running.

        • FlyingLobster27 said on 17th June 2013, 18:15

          Corvette have been extremely uncompetitive since the creation of the WEC

          You do know that Corvette don’t compete in the WEC, right? So yeah, their only WEC outing in 2012 wasn’t great, they did have mishaps including a shunt if I recall correctly, and AF Corse were certainly too strong anyway. Now on top of that, if they had slumped behind RLL, Flying Lizard, ESM and Team Falken Tire, I’d agree with your claim unreservedly, but reclaiming their ALMS title against that opposition isn’t what I call “extremely uncompetitive”…

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 14th June 2013, 14:03

      There’s @william-brierty again, with one of his absolutist comments.

      Though I will say there’s more reason in this train of thought than the previous one where people were “utterly delusional” if they thought anybody but Fabio Leimer would win the GP2 series.

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 15th June 2013, 15:37

        @wsrgo – You do realize that most people would’ve forgotten about that by now? You do realize that it is not exactly entirely within the realms of social acceptability to hunt someone just to say “Ha! You’re wrong!”? I made a mistake regarding Lemier. I saw his pace in Bahrain, where he was a second faster than anyone else, and I thought “championship wrapped up”, which it normally would’ve been. How was I to know that Leimer would suddenly forget how to drive a car? And what are you saying? That the Audi #1 won’t win? That Audi can’t take their proven driver line-up and years of Le Mans experience ontop of their blatant pace advantage over their only rivals to win Le Mans again this year? No, of course you aren’t saying that, I mean, you have a brain don’t you? You were being a r g u m e n t a t i v e.

        On secondary note, I think you need to look up the meaning of “absolutist” before you attempt to use in conversation again. To call me “absolutist” would be to compare me to Syria’s Al Assad, Robert Mugabe or Simon Cowell. However, I do think it is valid to label my comments “assertive”, “confident”, “assured” or if you wanted to be cynical, “naive”.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 14th June 2013, 14:52

      I wouldn’t rule out Kristensen’s Audi so soon.

      • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 14th June 2013, 20:52

        I agree wholeheartedly unless…he is shareing his car with mcnish.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 14th June 2013, 21:39

          McNish has been a big reason for that car losing the last couple of years. To be fair though, when he crashed last year it was because he needed to be pushing like mad to catch the leader, which he was certainly doing.

        • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 15th June 2013, 15:43

          Argeed, but he did do a great job at Silverstone this year.

          • Audi3 said on 16th June 2013, 20:25

            Think back 5 years to 2008 when the Peugeots were very fast (better than 3 seconds a lap over the Audi R-10). Kristensen, Capello and McNish drove the perfect race to win. Capello has retired, but never underestimate the skill and ability of Mr. Le Mans, Tom Kristensen. And furthermore, he is paired with McNish because the two compliment each other very well.

    • Eleanore (@leucocrystal) said on 14th June 2013, 15:42

      Very excited for Le Mans this year, and glad to see Bruno Senna still driving. He’s done very well too so far with Aston Martin, and is currently leading the driver’s points in the GTE Pro class. Here’s hoping they continue their scoring streak!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 15th June 2013, 2:25

      I may well be wrong but I suspect we will not be seeing Audi-Porsche duels at Le Mans since both belong to the VW company, more likely it will be a simple brand change or they will be in different classes.

  5. joeyzf1 (@) said on 14th June 2013, 11:29

    Looking forward to it. :)

  6. Calum (@calum) said on 14th June 2013, 11:30

    Part of me feels it’s unfair that Toyota have not developed their car as well as Audi but are still going to have a really good chance thanks to the rule-break. Nevertheless a competitive race with two teams will be more enjoyable than an inter-team battle with the Audis.

    • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th June 2013, 13:15

      @calum
      I think it’s more the fact that the rules have, ever since Audi first started competing with diesels, unfairly favoured diesel powered P1 cars. The massive advantage they have in terms of torque has only recently been addressed in terms of hybrid power being used to make up for the shortfall. So it’s more the case that the rules changes are there to make it fair rather than to hand an advantage to an uncompetitive car.

      Last year, when Audi were stunned to find that Toyota were effectively beating them, they began lobbying for changes to the hybrid rules, which would bring the balance back in their favour. It’s a very fine balancing act, creating a set of rules which allow different design philosophies to compete with one another on a level playing field. I think the ACO do a brilliant job of it, especially compared to the shambles we’ve had in BTCC for the past few years where genuinely well developed cars were artificially hobbled in order to allow poorer teams to win races.

      Don’t forget that the TS030 is developed in exactly the same Cologne windtunnel facility as half the cars on the F1 grid. It is far from underdeveloped!

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 14th June 2013, 13:58

        @mazdachris – Great comment, however I don’t think you can say that diesel provides a) better fuel economy for the Audis and b) better performance because of the torque. Audi have a rather small advantage in terms of torque on the exits of corners, but this fails to counteract the advantage petrol provides Toyota down the entirety of the straights. And if diesel was such a win/win option, why didn’t Toyota simply make a diesel car, it’s not as if Audi have a monopoly on diesel racing cars?

        It seems to me that the combination of better straight line speed and the hybrid system provides the petrol LMP cars with the greater advantage than Audi have with the better torque and fuel economy of diesel. So therefore, the R18’s brilliance is not manifested purely in its small torque advantage, but rather is aerodynamic superiority. Couple the lighter weight of the R18 over the TS030 and you have a car that is just plain faster on raw grip-based performance.

        By comparison to the R18, the TS030 is unquestionably aerodynamically disadvantaged. Toyota ended 2012 with a car that was faster on raw performance, but still lagging the Audis in terms of fuel consumption. That is the polar opposite in 2013. With Toyota perhaps focusing a little too much on fuel consumption over the winter, they have left themselves vulnerable to the aerodynamic improvements Audi have made. This an era of raw performance in sportcars, with the races being something of sprints, and fuel consumption being of lesser importance.

        Regarding Cologne, I fail to see how the competence of the development centre of the TS030 provides any kind of evidence regarding its aerodynamic merit. I know aerodynamics in F1 and aero in Le Mans are two very different things, but many of those involved in Toyota’s Le Mans programme were the same people that worked for Toyota’s F1 programme, something that was notably lacking in any kind of aerodynamic merit despite the enormous budget, and only really found performance on tracks were mechanical grip was king in hands of the sporadically on form Jarno Trulli. As McLaren are perfectly illustrating now, size of budget and facilities available are irrelevant if you don’t have the people with the correct expertise.

        • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th June 2013, 15:22

          @william-brierty
          No, I totally agree on most points. Though it’s important to understand that Toyota’s participation is based pretty much entirely on the equalisation formula in the first place. Indeed, Audi don’t have the monopoly on diesel race cars, but they do have over a decade’s worth of experience building them, and that’s something Toyota really couldn’t hope to compete with. Building a Le Mans prototype from the ground up while simultaneously developing a brand new hybrid powertrain concept is enough of a challenge without also having to get to grips with the finer points of ultra high performance diesel engines. It’s tempting to imagine the engine in the back of the Audis as just a large diesel engine with a couple of turbos bolted on, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. And it’s not as if there are any other experts in the field they could have simply drafted in. Just ask Mazda how easy it is to design a reliable, competitive diesel race engine.

          Petrol is a path well trodden, and well understood by a manufacturer with the racing heritage of Toyota. Plus of course their entire brand ethos is centred around petrol engines and petrol hybrids. It’s not hard to see why diesel wouldn’t be attractive to them. With the costs of competition rising, and the relative lack of opportunity for anyone running a petrol engine to get anywhere near the diesels, it’s not hard to see why the ACO decided something needed to be done. Off the back of tweaking the rules they had Toyota step up to the plate and fill the void left by Peugeot’s exit, plus Porsche joining up next year, and a whole host of other manufacturers allegedly beating down the door to go racing, and it’s hard to say it was a bad idea. While we can look at the current spec cars as being on a relatively level playing field, five years ago that certainly wouldn’t have been the case.

          Despite all this, you can’t change the fundamental characteristics; diesels are always going to have higher torque, especially at low RPM, and better fuel economy than a similarly specced petrol engine. The solution the ACO have come up with is basically twofold; firstly using inlet restrictor sizes to deliver vaguely comparable power levels between petrol and diesel, and the second being to restrict the fuel tank sizes with a view to using the need for fuel stops as another means of equalising performance. The problem, as you point out, is that performance is not determined entirely on engine performance; a car with lower power may match the laptimes of one with higher power if it is able to corner faster. Or beat the more powerful car over the duration of a race if it can make fewer fuel stops. But at some point the line is going to be blurred between giving an equal opportunity for comparably well developed chassis, and allowing a poorly developed car to make up for its shortcomings by giving it an unfair advantage. Even simply measuring corner speed is not a good measurement of chassis ability; around a circuit like La Sarthe, high corner speed means downforce, and downforce means drag. Ultimate performance is always a compromise between drag and grip, so a car which has a higher cornering speed could easily be considered badly developed, given the conditions and requirements of the track upon which it’s racing.

          There’s no right or wrong answer, in the end. I merely point out the cologne facility and the F1 heritage as an illustration of the level of technical ability which is being put into the car’s development. This is not a low-budget fly-by-night team asking for rules breaks to allow them to compete, but a very professional manufacturer outfit with resources very much comparable to those of Audi. In the end, where you have two teams competing with each other under ‘different’ sets of regulations, there’s always going to be the possibility for people to cry foul; to say that one team is winning purely by virtue of a set of rules which favour their personal technical solution. This has undeniably been the case with Audi for several of their years of dominance, but I don’t think it’s the case now. Diesels have had a very unfair advantage over their petrol counterparts, and I think seeing that advantage addressed in a way which means that diesels and petrol cars have the potential to put in roughly the same number of laps over the duration of an endurance race is fundamentally a good thing.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 15th June 2013, 2:36

            Wouldn’t it be great if we could be having a similarly varied technical discussion about F1.

          • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 15th June 2013, 16:49

            @mazdachris – I think you have pretty much covered everything there in that brilliant and rather enlightening comment. However I will remind you that or the two manufacturers in WEC, Toyota is by far the richest. If Toyota had been passed a piece of paper with numbers on it proclaiming that a diesel car would enable them to win Le Mans as a result of diesel-based performance advantages, then I am sure, cost regardless, that Toyota would have adopted diesel. They didn’t, clearly thinking the performance benefit is not justified by the cost and research needed to create a diesel powered car. Two things matter to car manufacturers, money, and publicity that might lead to more money, and a Le Mans victory triggers both of those. Trust me, if Toyota thought that a diesel powered chassis was worth the expenditure and that its performance advantages were a must, they’d have invested both the time and the money. They clearly didn’t, but from a spectators’ perspective it leaves us in a rather interesting position in LMP1, with petrol vs. diesel.

            @hohum – I like to think I provide some of the variety in F1 technical discussions, if not the accuracy, objectivity or detail.

          • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 17th June 2013, 9:09

            @william-brierty Perhaps, but it’s a bit of a chicken/egg situation. I do think that a lot of manufacturers held off competing because, for various reasons, they didn’t want to develop a diesel race engine, and the perception was that this was the only way to compete.

            I mean, just looking logically, there’s got to be some reason why Audi switched from petrol to diesel engines, and why Peugeot chose diesel for the 908, and I don’t think it’s merely a case of them wanting to showcase their particulate filter technology! Until last year diesels have bee4n dominant, and it’s only after the rules have been switched significantly that you’re now seeing a petrol car with a shot at winning again. Aston Martin certainly never came anywhere close, nor Rebellion. Though of course that’s probably down to a lack of aero development as much as anything else.

            Either way I’m just glad that someone stepped in to fill Peugeot’s shoes, and that they’re able to compete with the Audis. Not dominate them, but genuinely take the fight to them. It shows the sport’s in very good health when manufacturers who have shunned the world of F1 are giving a blank cheque to sportscar operations.

  7. thatscienceguy said on 14th June 2013, 11:43

    Ummmm, JRM didn’t win P2 last year, they weren’t even competing in P2. They entered P1, and were the last P1 car to finish. I don’t think they even entered the race this year – they haven’t entered any WEC races.

    P2 winners were Starworks, who aren’t returning, Potolicchio is running in GT-AM with Bright and Aguas.

    I’m looking forward to the new 991 Porsches run by Manthey/Porsche and seeing how they compare, the Porsches were really outclassed last year, hopefully the new evolution can bridge the gap. The GT-Pro should be a cracking battle all round, some awesome driver lineups, the new Vipers, aww, getting excited just thinking about it.

    Guessing the overall battle will be a anti-climax, after such a promising start last year it seems Toyota have really fallen a long way behind. Hoping not as I’m a fan of Wurz and hoping he can do well, but not convinced.

    P2 could be an absolute stormer of a race once again, you can generally rely on P2 producing a great race.

    • thatscienceguy said on 14th June 2013, 12:01

      There are also two Vipers, not one.

    • FlyingLobster27 said on 14th June 2013, 12:09

      Correct. I’d spotted the LMP1 Strakka HPD in the pics, but somehow hadn’t twigged the JRM bit. The worst part is they didn’t win the non-official “privateer P1″ class either, that went to one of the Rebellion Lola-Toyotas in 4th overall, beating one of the Diesel-only Audis that had hit the wall a couple of times. BTW the sight of Romain “the Hulk” Dumas ripping the front end off that Audi after his off at the first Hunaudières chicane was most amusing; if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look.

      It might end up being an intra-Audi battle at the end. I hope not, but at least Dr Ullrich is keen to let his drivers race each other, as the Silverstone WEC round showed. P2 and GTE-Pro could be thrillers, I’m looking forward to Corvette vs Ferrari vs Aston, possibly with the Porsches thrown in. I don’t think we’ll see the Vipers up there this year though.

    • ajokay (@ajokay) said on 14th June 2013, 12:48

      The P2 race really is one to watch. Really looking forward to that.

  8. ajokay (@ajokay) said on 14th June 2013, 12:47

    A little change to make, the Strakka pictured alongside the Caterham and Alpine in the LMP2 section is running in LMP1, the only privateers alongside Rebellion’s two Lolas.

  9. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 14th June 2013, 13:10

    The car is not to be confused with the 2011 F1 car of the same name which was campaigned by Caterham when they were called Lotus. Got that? Good.

    LOL. You’re throwing those jokes a lot more often now, @keithcollantine Love it !

  10. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 14th June 2013, 13:39

    The T128 thing is even more confusing when you realise that the ‘Lotus’ team isn’t actually Lotus as such, they’re just sponsored by them, and the team itself is actually headed by Colin Colles; former team principle of HRT!

  11. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 14th June 2013, 16:16

    rules break? i’d say both ACO and FIA have put in place broken rules for decades, particularly when it comes to performance “equalization” (changing rules to suit ferrari over ford, porsche 962 over road cars, french teams over porsche, and diesel/audi over gasoline). i guess at some point you have to cater to those that bother to show up.

    the introduction of diesel brought in a rules break that IMO crippled lmp1 – diesel interests successfully lobbied that gasoline’s greater mass did not offset its greater energy content. my solution is neither complicated nor unique:
    cars in class x have a maximum fuel (either gas or diesel) capacity y, which can be pumped out of the tank at rate z. may the better race car win.

    • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 14th June 2013, 21:01

      I thought diesel peugot vs audis was great it gave us some of the closest lemans races.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 15th June 2013, 2:44

      I think you mean “diesels” greater mass, and I suspect the additional 3 litres of petrol (gasoline) is supposed to equalise the fuel on a mass rather than volume scale, but I have not been following LM class racing so may be totally wrong.

  12. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 14th June 2013, 16:21

    I would be amazed to see anything other than an Audi 1-2-3. I can’t see the new Toyota being reliable enough to beat the bullet-proof Audis over 24 hours. Still, the battle between the Audi teams is always fun to watch so there’s still plenty of interest in the battle for the overall win. I expect the very consistent Rebellion team to give Toyota a few headaches too.

    The GT class is where all the excitement is, in my view. The battle between Ferrari and Aston has been excellent so far this season. Couldn’t pick a winner out of the two if I tried.

  13. Rick (@viscountviktor) said on 14th June 2013, 19:36

    @keithcollantine having real problems on my account, can’t seem to join any forums.

  14. Kanil (@kanil) said on 14th June 2013, 20:13

    Much like last year, I’ll have 5 post-its stuck to the side of my TV, each with a number scrawled on it. Each time an Audi or Toyota retires, you take one off. At the end of the race, if there’s no post-its left, Heidfeld wins and we party. If there are some left, hopefully Kobayashi will have done well in GT.

  15. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 14th June 2013, 20:53

    I hope one day we’ll watch the same car in Indy 500, Le Mans and F1. For now, it’s far fetched but maybe in the future.
    Maybe for Le mans a tad slower, but lasting 24 hrs, with under 10 second pitstops – including driver changes.
    When that happens, I can live with windshields and some kind of ‘fender’. Like the non-F1-Caterham front wheels.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 14th June 2013, 21:43

      That sounds bleak. Why would you want all motorsport to be alike?

      • FlyingLobster27 said on 14th June 2013, 22:38

        I agree, not the same cars – it would likely ruin Le Mans. But same drivers, yes please! Make the Triple Crown happen again! Only Graham Hill’s managed it, and Jacques Villeneuve got closest in recent years with 2nd at Le Mans in 2008.

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