Their words – LMP1 from Le Mans


After an epic 24 Hours of Le Mans here is what the drivers and team personnel said from the LMP1 class and take a look at how the teams saw the race.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich:

“This was no doubt one of the most thrilling and action-packed races at Le Mans. For us, it was also one of the most difficult ones and that’s why, in my personal ranking of emotions, it takes one of the top spots. The whole week was a period of many highs and lows for us. And during the 24 hours every car was running in front at least once. In the first two thirds of the race, it was our rivals and in the final third we worked our way towards the front. This can only be achieved with a very special team performance. The combination of an efficient concept and a team of strong drivers, who extract the best from it – that was the key to success.”

Marcel Fässler:

“A brilliant race for us, but also one with many highs and lows for all the crews and manufacturers. The spectators saw a spectacular race in which the tables kept turning and that was unpredictable and thrilling through to the final hours. We were within striking distance for a long time, then led the race, and then lost ground again. In the end, fortune was on our side. Not only because of the perfect result but also because of the premiere according to the new regulations, Le Mans 2014 was a milestone for Audi.”

André Lotterer:

“This was a fantastic day for us following some very stressful weeks for the whole Audi squad. The race started well and the spectators saw a great battle between all three manufacturers. When an Audi retired, we chased Toyota as a duo. After our rivals had a problem, the way seemed to be clear. Then we had a problem. But our mechanics never lost their motivation and very quickly changed the turbocharger. They know Le Mans and what needs to be done.”

Benoît Tréluyer:

“I’m overjoyed after this incredible race. There was so much happening and lots of ups and downs. But our team spirit always remained intact. We all felt so sorry about the accident of car number ‘3.’ We subsequently took the lead until we had some problems. When car number ‘1’ was running in front we were sure they’d make it. ‘It’s your turn to win the trophy for Audi,’ we said to them. When they got problems, Tom Kristensen said to us, ’Now it’s your turn.’ There was a nice, positive atmosphere between both driver squads throughout. ‘Thank you’ to the whole team, to our engineer Leena (Gade) and to my fellow drivers.”

Marc Gené:

“When I arrived at Le Mans I had victory in the LMP2 category in the back of my mind. But with all due respect: a podium place in the LMP1 class is obviously a lot more overwhelming. Everything came as such a surprise for me. And of course I also spent some thought on whether my performance was right. But Tom (Kristensen), Lucas (di Grassi) and the whole team gave me great help. Even victory would have been possible for us. But I’m overjoyed with this result as well.”

Lucas di Grassi:

“What a race! I can’t recall when I last experienced such an exciting car race – neither at Le Mans nor anywhere else. Our week with the accident of Loïc (Duval) got us off to a really bad start. The mechanics had to prepare a completely new car so that the qualifying session was just a rollout for us. Then we clearly led the race three hours before the end and the tables suddenly turned again. Even though we’re a bit saddened in the end: this is my second podium in my second Le Mans race, Audi has won and everybody has been rewarded for their hard work.”

Tom Kristensen:

“This race was simply incredible – and that goes for our whole squad. We arrived at Le Mans with a good car. Then we lost a car right at the beginning of the week and Loïc Duval retired. We had to change all our plans. Everybody was telling us that our car would no longer be in contention in the race. The guys prepared everything again from scratch overnight. Then we started the race with Marc Gené as our new team-mate. In the rain, it was a very turbulent beginning. Then we made up ground until an injector had to be changed at night. This was followed by a puncture and subsequently we were leading the race. Our advantage was huge. We just had to reach the finish but then we had a new problem. So we were back in third place but in the end finished in second. We can be proud of this. It was like in a fairy tale and they don’t always have perfect endings. For Audi, on the other hand, the outcome of the race was perfect. This week, we’ve experienced the full range of emotions. Unbelievable!”

Filipe Albuquerque:

“Marco (Bonanomi) drove fantastically. That was a good foretaste of what would have been possible for our car today. I’m sure that we’d have been in contention at the front through to the very end. It’s almost tragic: one minute everything’s okay and in the next it’s all over. When the rain set in somebody hit Marco – he had no chance. This is how tough Le Mans can be.”

Marco Bonanom:

“I feel incredibly sorry, especially for my two team-mates and the whole squad. Everybody gave everything for success for a whole year during the preparation – and now it was over for us so early. We had the potential to clinch a really good result. I had no chance in the accident. I drove slowly in the heavy rain in order to take no risk on slicks. The situation with the Toyota turned out okay but then the Ferrari drove into my car – that meant the end of my race and unfortunately also for our Audi.”

Oliver Jarvis:

“I’m incredibly disappointed. Not just for me but, most of all, for the whole squad. Many people only see these days here at Le Mans – but preparations that last nearly a whole year are behind this event. I’m sure that today we’d have had a chance for victory too – that makes the retirement through no fault of our own an especially bitter pill following such a strong performance by Marco (Bonanomi).”

Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President:


“There is certainly a huge amount of disappointment in our team because both of our TS040 HYBRIDs had enough speed to win the race. But part of the magic of Le Mans is that it is so unpredictable and challenging; today we only needed to avoid misfortune. Sadly that wasn’t the case but that’s motorsport and we have to accept the result. We will come back stronger for this experience and we have a World Championship to fight for, starting at the next race. All team members, including the drivers, performed brilliantly in this race, not only to repair the damage but to stay positive and bring home third position. I am very proud of this and the whole team should be proud of their efforts too. Finally, I would like to congratulate both Audi and Porsche for their impressive performances. Everyone fought extremely hard today and showed great competitive spirit.”



Sébastien Buemi:

“In a way I am disappointed because we came here strong favourites but we didn’t manage to win. On the other hand we were many laps behind and came back into it and got third place. We could not have hoped for a podium after the accident. We came back a long way and did a good job. But it’s clearly a tough day for us because we were hoping for more. We are still leading both championships so that is at least a positive.

Anthony Davidson

“It was definitely an eventful race. We had the speed all along but it didn’t go right in the tricky conditions and the car was heavily damaged; from there we were on the back foot. It could have happened to anyone, it was just one of those things. I was surprised to be standing on the podium. From not even being in the top 30 after the accident and end up on the podium just goes to show the speed. The win comes to you, not the other way around in this race.”

Stéphane Sarrazin:


“I am very, very sad for all the team, the mechanics, engineers; everyone. Everybody did the maximum not only today but in all the preparation. We were leading the race since the start. The car was just amazing and we were not pushing too hard; we were taking no risks and managing it all quite well. But Le Mans decided against us and we stopped on track. It is a real pity. We did the maximum and we were in good shape to win this race. But Le Mans is long and anything can happen, as we saw unfortunately for us today.



Andreas Seidl, Team Principal LMP1:

“At the moment, of course, there is a lot of disappointment. But if anyone would have told us before the race that the outcome would be what it was, we would have been very happy with it. We have learned a lot for next year and tomorrow we start to prepare for 2015. The drivers and the entire crew – everyone did a great job. We are proud to have brought one car to the finish line. To be able to fight with the other one for the silverware until shortly before the end was the icing on the cake.

Mark Webber


“That was tough for everyone. It would have been such an amazing achievement to go through to the finish. I think we never expected to be in such a great position towards the end of the race. What Porsche did is a very big feather in its cap. Few people know how hard it is to get the cars to this point in the race. I’m really sorry for the guys. There is never ever a good retirement in Le Mans, but today is one of the best you could probably have in a way, because we went so far and we learned so much. If you stop early you learn nothing and it’s tough. When you stop with a lap to go it’s probably even more brutal. It was our first time here at Le Mans and we were very close to the podium.“


Timo Bernhard:


“I think, after all, it was a great return for Porsche – to come back to Le Mans and to the WEC after such a long time. But for me it is very sad because we were fighting very hard – at the end, in fact, also for the victory. It would have been a podium at least. It is hard to take, the guys did a great job. The car was running well. We had some difficult issues with the balance of the car, and it was not easy to drive. But in the end, I was saving fuel and keeping away from the kerbs. And then we had a broken engine, which happened in first gear. But I think the bottom line is, it’s a great return by Porsche.”



Marc Lieb:

“I am rather lost for words, because it is hard to deal with incidents like those that occurred during the race. The no. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid had a really fantastic race. They had no problems at all until shortly before the end. On the other hand, our no. 14 car was slowed down by some minor technical failures, which forced us to stop several times in the pits. Nevertheless, we did the best we could. Some one and a half hours before the chequered flag there was a bigger problem. The team managed to get the car running again and we finally managed to cross the line.”

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