Le Mans 24 Hours 2015 The 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours


By: Scott Mitchell, AUTOSPORT staff, Mitchell Adam, Glenn Freeman, Edd Straw, Gary Watkins


Status: Stopped
Here's our full race report on the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, including a detailed rundown of the LMP2 and GTE races:

Porsche wins Le Mans with Tandy, Bamber, Hulkenberg

Porsche, Le Mans 2015

Porsche, Le Mans 2015

@Toyota_Hybrid: "We’re very disappointed but now we start preparing for #LM24 2016 when we want to return much stronger!"
Remember, the winning crew has just two Le Mans starts prior to this edition to its name, both for Tandy.

All three drivers in that car have earned their positions in the Porsche line-up through consistently strong performance in a variety of categories. Always good to see hard work and genuine ability achieving success behind the wheel.

Chapeau to Tandy, Hulkenberg and Bamber.
The race-winning car now takes the traditional route the wrong way down the pitlane to pull up underneath the podium.
A total of 37 cars have been classified. As expected, the #22 Nissan and the #4 CLM, which both crossed the line, did not complete enough laps to meet the 70% winner's distance rule for classification.
Here's the finishing order up front:

1 #19 Porsche (Hulkenberg/Tandy/Bamber)
2 #17 Porsche (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber)
3 #7 Audi (Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler)
4 # 8 Audi (Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis)
5 #18 Porsche (Jani/Lieb/Dumas)
6 #2 Toyota (Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway)
7 #9 Audi (Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Rast)
8 #1 Toyota (Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima)
9 #47 ORECA (Lapierre/Howson/Bradley) - LMP2
10 #38 Gibson (Turvey/Dolan/Evans) - LMP2
Big victory for KCMG in LMP2, with Bradley behind the wheel. They had the fastest package all week and made it count, despite a couple of hairy moments on Sunday.

Jota completed another remarkable Le Mans comeback to take second, ahead of the G-Drive (OAK) outfit.
Jubilant scenes in the Porsche pits, with plenty of grown men in tears as Hulkenberg completes a victory lap in the #19 car.
This has been a fantastic victory by the #19 car, which took control of the race in the ninth hour and hasn't let its advantage slip since then.
And it's GTE Am victory for the #72 SMP Ferrari.
Corvette wins the GTE Pro battle, as Oliver Gavin crosses the line for his fifth Le Mans class triumph.
Victory goes to Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber in the #19 Porsche.
And Porsche wins Le Mans for the 17th time!
The two Porsches are running together, #19 leading second-placed #17.
And the #19 Porsche is heading towards the line. The 24 Hours are up so the chequered flag is ready. Already, celebrations are breaking out in the Porsche garage.
Here's what Hulkenberg, who is about to take the #19 Porsche across the line to win Le Mans, had to say about his hopes last month:

"So me going there as a rookie, not having any experience, I just want to go there open minded and do a good job and enjoy it.

"Of course, we want to do well and I'd love to win and it would be a dream come true, but we should be realistic."
The GTE Am-leading #SMP Ferrari has a bit longer, but is also on course for class glory.
Through the first sector now, Gavin is about three minutes from GTE Pro victory for Corvette.
Hulkenberg starts what will be his final lap - the leading car crosses the line with 3m40s on the clock.
Porsche have decided the victory is nigh - the t-shirts celebrating win number 17 have been brought out!
Hulkenberg's on-board camera shows his windscreen is now being hit with raindrops. It's not too heavy, yet, and he crosses the line with a 3m25s to suggest things don't look critical on the weather front as things stand.
@MurphyPrototype: "The team is bringing out intermediate tires for @karunchandhok - best play it safe as we have nothing to lose or gain at this stage."
Lots of folded arms down in the Porsche garage, as its two leading cars try to thread their way around this track for another eight minutes.

Audi boss Wolfgang Ullrich makes his way to the Porsche pit now to offer his congratulations.
We still have 40 cars circulating.
We are just 10 minutes away from what should be Porsche's record-extending 17th Le Mans 24 Hours win.
"Slippery surface" reported all the way from the middle of the Mulsanne straight to the Porsche Curves.
We've had four safety-car periods during this race, totalling 2 hours and 4 minutes.
We've had lots of reports of rain spots from various teams and marshals' posts, but this is the first time it's been visible on screen and out of the media centre window. Just over 10 minutes to go.
Race control informs us it is raining on the Mulsanne Straight.
There are some reports of rain around the circuit, which could spice up the final 15 minutes. The leading #19 Porsche is in the pits for a splash of fuel.
One final stop for the second G-Drive entry, with Derani currently behind the wheel. He'll drive it home to cross the line in fourth place, one spot behind the Bird-led #26.
So, with 15 minutes to go, time for AUTOSPORT to revisit its predictions. Each member of our six-person team at Le Mans called the winner for each of the four classes pre-race. That's a total of 24 predictions.

Our success rate (assuming nothing changes in the final few laps) was 0 per cent. And that shows just how unpredictable Le Mans really is.
Elsewhere in LMP1, Rebellion has shown some promising pace, but has had too many troubles to get anywhere near last year's fourth-place finish.

The #13 car of Imperatori runs 18th and the #12 machine of Heidfeld is 26th.

Heidfeld Le Mans 2015

Heidfeld Le Mans 2015

There is still a Nissan on the move - the #22 car of Krumm is running last but on target to take the chequered flag. Unfortunately, it will be some way off the minimum 70 per cent race distance required to be classified as an official finisher.
Since AUTOSPORT arrived at the circuit on Wednesday morning, we've seen this grandstand in many different states of capacity. It was fairly quiet during practice, then built up on Saturday before the race and gradually thinned out over the evening.

Today, the fans have returned to the start-finish straight, and it's packed with people keen to see the cars greet the chequered flag. They - along with Porsche, KCMG, Corvette and SMP - have 20 minutes to wait.

The #18 Porsche, in fifth place, has paid what should be its last visit to the pits. Jani at the wheel.
Twenty minutes remain and all is well in GTE.

In Pro:

1. #64 Corvette
2. #71 Ferrari
3. #51 Ferrari

In Am:

1. #72 SMP Ferrari
2. #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche
3. #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari
As for Toyota, it's been a chastening experience for the reigning Wold Endurance Championship-winning team. It's two cars are sixth and eighth.

Toyota Le Mans 2015

Toyota Le Mans 2015

It's been a tough Le Mans for Audi. Currently, Treluyer is third in #7, Di Grassi fourth in #8 and Albuquerque seventh in #9. But it has given Porsche a proper run for its money.
Has been a fine performance from all three drivers in the #19 car (who have a grand total of two Le Mans starts prior to this race under their belts!)