Skip to content

Le Mans: GTE Key News and Notes

Jun 15, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Patrick Dempsey AP

As the battle between the production titans raged on at the front of the field throughout the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race to win the GTE Pro and GTE Am classes was also very hotly contested.

Ultimately, the win in GTE Pro went to Ferrari’s AF Corse team with the No. 51 car, piloted by Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander. However, the two lap margin of victory was rather generous following a supreme fight through the night between the No. 51, the No. 97 Aston Martin Racing car, and the No. 74 Chevrolet Corvette, with just three seconds separating the top three at points.

The AF Corse team managed to stay out of trouble, though, and led home the No. 73 Chevrolet Corvette of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor. Last year’s class winner, the No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey car, completed the GTE Pro podium. Ferrari F1 driver and this year’s race starter Fernando Alonso took to Twitter to send his congratulations to the AF Corse drivers.

For Aston Martin, it was another difficult race at the Circuit de la Sarthe. The No. 97 was in the mix to claim class victory after Bruno Senna put in a superb overnight stint to lead ahead of Vilander and Tom Milner in the No. 74, with the latter eventually being classified in fourth place in class. Eventually, Aston Martin came unstuck again due to a loose steering pipe. Senna made his frustration clear on Twitter, but vowed to return in 2015 for a third shot at endurance glory.

In the GTE Am class, it was an emotional victory for the No. 95 Aston Martin Racing car. The all-Danish troupe of Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Nicki Thiim dominated proceedings to win just a year after their teammate, Allan Simonsen, died on lap two of the race. A late technical scare on the car threatened to hand the win to Porsche, but the team soon fixed the issue and brought the car home.

Patrick Dempsey’s third attempt at Le Mans did not go entirely to plan. The Grey’s Anatomy star put in a solid performance behind the wheel, but after setting his sights on a podium finish in the GTE Am class, fifth place will have come as a bitter disappointment for his No. 77 Porsche team and co-pilots Joe Foster and Patrick Long.

On the same weekend as the World Cup began, a former winner was trying his hand in the most famous motor race. Fabien Barthez played an instrumental part in France’s victory at the 1998 tournament, playing in goal, but was forced to settle for ninth place on his debut at Le Mans in the No. 58 Team Sofrev car alongside Anthony Pons and Soheil Ayari.

An honorable mention has to go to the No. 79 Prospeed Competition car, which was fored to switch to GTE Pro at the last minute due to the withdrawal of its bronze-rated driver. Despite only having two drivers, the car ran well to finish fifth in class with Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil sharing duties behind the wheel.

Backing up its class victory in GTE Pro, AF Corse secured a podium finish in GTE Am with the No. 61 car finishing third behind the No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche.

However, the early leader in the GTE Am class for AF Corse, the No. 81 car of Sam Bird, Stephen Wyatt and Michele Rugolo, got caught up in the incident between the No. 3 Audi and the No. 8 Toyota during the first rain shower on Saturday afternoon.

Just as it was a classic race at the front of the field in the LMP1 class, the GTEs certainly put on a show. The three GTE Pro cars dancing in the dark down the Mulsanne straight will remain as one of the greatest sights from this year’s race, and for the Danes in the No. 95 Aston Martin, this might just be the sweetest victory of all.

The FIA World Endurance Championship now begins its summer break, with the next round taking place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin on the 20th September.

Latest Posts
  1. Hamilton closes out Bahrain GP practice on top

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:02 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Qualifying Getty Images

    The defending world champion edges out Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in FP3 ahead of qualifying later today.

  2. WATCH LIVE: FP3 for the Bahrain GP from 8am ET on Live Extra

    Apr 18, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Mercedes and Ferrari continue to exchange blows in Bahrain, but who will get the upper hand ahead of qualifying?

  3. Ricky Taylor, Auberlen on pole for TUDOR at Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:16 PM EDT

    Photo: IMSA Photo: IMSA

    Ricky Taylor, Bill Auberlen secure pole positions for Round 3 of TUDOR Championship season in Long Beach.

  4. Power, Pagenaud laugh off last year’s Long Beach contact in post-practice press conference

    Apr 17, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    A quick flashback to last year's Pagenaud, Power contact. A quick flashback to last year's Pagenaud, Power contact.

    Some good banter between Simon Pagenaud and Will Power occurs during post-practice press conference, as the two laugh off their contact here last year.

  5. GP2: Vandoorne continues pole position streak in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    Five in a row for the McLaren junior driver as he starts the 2015 season in style.

  6. Raikkonen and Vettel cautious about challenging Mercedes in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Ferrari’s long run pace suggests that Mercedes may not have it all its own way on Sunday.

  7. INDYCAR confirms more aero kit updates coming to Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:41 PM EDT

    KimballRahal AP

    More from INDYCAR has been released regarding aero kit updates.

  8. Button upbeat despite two practice stoppages in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    He may have only completed 17 laps in total on Friday, but Jenson Button remains positive about McLaren’s progress.

  9. Red Bull GRC: Media day series notes

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    GRClogo2

    Red Bull Global Rallycross rolls out a series of announcements for media day, Thursday in Long Beach.

  10. Dixon leads Ganassi 1-2 in Long Beach opening practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:24 PM EDT

    Scott Dixon Getty Images

    Scott Dixon on top in opening practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series at Long Beach.

  11. Brake problems hinder Toro Rosso in Bahrain practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Carlos Sainz Jr. AP

    A mixed day for both Carlos Sainz Jr and Max Verstappen during practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

  12. Bottas pleased with practice showing, but thinks there is more time to find in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Practice Getty Images

    Williams usually reserves its pace for Saturday, but Valtteri Bottas bucked the trend in Bahrain on Friday.

  13. Hamilton sure Mercedes will avoid Malaysia issues in Bahrain

    Apr 17, 2015, 2:36 PM EDT

    AUTO-PRIX-BHR-F1 Getty Images

    Briton pleased with Mercedes work following practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

  14. Sato looks for a St. Pete encore and/or Long Beach repeat on Sunday

    Apr 17, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Getty Images

    He’s not the race defending champion, but as the most recent Long Beach winner still in the IndyCar field, Takuma Sato is indeed one to watch this weekend.

  15. Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel and Perez under investigation for incidents in Bahrain GP practice

    Apr 17, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

    Mideast Bahrain F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    A busy night for the stewards in Bahrain due to two incidents at the end of FP2 on Friday.

  16. Rocky Moran Jr. to replace Huertas in Coyne’s No. 18 for Long Beach

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:32 PM EDT

    Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston - Day 3 Getty Images

    Rocky Moran Jr. to make IndyCar debut this weekend with Dale Coyne Racing in a last-minute fill-in role for Carlos Huertas.

  17. Rosberg heads up Mercedes one-two in Bahrain FP2

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:31 PM EDT

    Rosberg 174av Getty Images

    Normal service is resumed in FP2 as Mercedes dominates proceedings, but Ferrari proves that it could be in the running for the race win on race day.

  18. Could Long Beach provide the venue for Pagenaud’s first Penske win?

    Apr 17, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    PagsStPete AP

    Picking a winner from the Team Penske quartet is always a challenge, but Simon Pagenaud has his best shot yet to break through this weekend.

  19. Max Chilton adjusting to life outside F1, embracing Indy Lights opportunity

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Photo: Carlin Racing Photo: Carlin Racing

    Max Chilton reflects on his new dual role with Carlin in Indy Lights, and a bit on his Nissan LMP1 role as well.