One can get blase about the reliability of the cars that emerge from mega-buck factory racing programmes. We've become so used to LMP1 machinery being driven flat-out through the entire duration of the Le Mans 24 Hours without delay that we somehow expect the frontrunners each and every year to have trouble-free runs from green light to chequered flag.
Audi Sport boss Wolfgang Ullrich was talking in those terms in the run-up to the race, in the knowledge that his R18 e-tron quattro wouldn't have the speed of Toyota's TS040 HYBRID.
"Le Mans is not just about having the fastest car," he said. "The level of competition is that high this year that there is really no place for small errors."
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Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 25th as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 60 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.
Gary, who also writes for RACER, Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.