Petit Le Mans may only be fourteen years old but in that time it has grown to become one of the world’s top sports car races.
The 2011 edition was the biggest yet with a massive field of 53 cars allowed to take the start with more having entered but had to qualify to make it into the race. As always, it was a diesel battle up front between the factory giants of Peugeot and Audi.
As it was the final round of the 2011 American Le Mans Series season it was the penultimate round of the ILMC which many teams were taking part in.
Words By: Simon Tibbett
The Rebellion Racing Lola with a Toyota power plant. Toyota has a full LMP program underway. There is also rumors that Rebellion may come to US soil next year for a full ALMS season along with other new LMP possibilities since the Le Mans Series in Europe no longer has an LMP1 class.
Oak Racing came out in full this year fielding three cars, the number 15 LMP1 entry gets pulled to the pit lane from their paddock. They would finish 7th overall.
The ESM Ferrari 458 leaves the paddock for the pit lane. No other series in the world allows you to stand so close to and even touch these world class machines without being somebody.
The French team Oreca gets final touches done. They’re using last year’s Peugeot 908 and beat the factory squad this past March in the Twelve Hours of Sebring. They would finish an amazing 2nd overall at Petit. Mazda fans may recognize the name, Oreca was part of the master mind behind the 787B’s win at Le Mans.
The Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche gets ready for battle. This car would beat the 55 BMW in the closing stages of the race for 2nd in GT. He did so in amazing fashion.
So what is AM? The ILMC uses GTE-PRO and GTE-AM as their GT classes. Basically PRO cars are new GT cars such as the 458 with professional drivers. AM class cars can be a year old and must have at least one paying driver.
The local Robertson Racing squad with their Ford GT. The team had a rough weekend with a major wreck before race day. They would finish 12th in class. Their highlight of the year was a podium finish in the AM class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Peugeot 908, the 8 car would go on to win overall as the 7 car would not finish with mechanical issues. The win gave Peugeot the ILMC championship in what has been a dominant running minus a win at Le Mans.
Traffic was the name of the game for the 2011 Petit Le Mans. Here the Audi R18 passes the Dyson Racing Mazda Lola on the run to turn eleven. It was always tight on track with fifty two starters in multiple classes on a 2.54 mile circuit.
The single car team ran by Falken Tire has been a strong force this year in ALMS GT. They would finish 5th in class at Petit.
The new Audi R18 races on US soil for the first time in 2011. Some may say the rear fin ruins the car but it’s just a new rule we must get use to. They would not finish due to an accident and the number 2 car would not finish either due to mechanical problems. An unheard of Petit for the German squad.
The Oreca Nissan driven by Lucas Ordonez in the photo. They would finish 3rd in LMP2. For you Gran Turismo fans Lucas got his start on Gran Turismo and won the GT Academy event.
The spectator count at Petit Le Mans is amazing and being there is a sight to see. Over 100,000 people attend the race from all over the world. If you’ve never been it’s worth the price.
Night racing is an amazing sight. The glowing brakes, the exhaust flames, the lights, the sounds. The list goes on. It’s something that cannot be described in words or watched on video. Not even pictures can show the full beauty of night racing. Special thanks again to Tim Easterday for the photo work!
Results - 394 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Montagny/Sarrazin/Wurz Peugeot 9h34m23.972s 2. P1 Lapierre/Minassian/Gene ORECA Peugeot + 5 laps 3. P1 Fernandez/Primat/Mucke AMR Lola-Aston + 6 laps 4. P1 Pla/Premat/Yvon OAK Pescarolo-Judd + 10 laps 5. P1 Prost/Jani/Belicchi Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 13 laps 6. P2 Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa Level 5 HPD + 19 laps 7. P1 Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues OAK Pescarolo-Judd + 24 laps 8. PC Dobson/Richard/Lewis PR1 Mathiasen FLM + 26 laps 9. PC Ducote/Ducote/Marcelli Intersport FLM + 26 laps 10. GT Fisichella/Bruni/Kaffer AF Corse Ferrari + 27 laps 11. GT Bergmeister/Long/Pilet Flying Lizard Porsche + 27 laps 12. GT Auberlen/Werner/Farfus BMW + 27 laps 13. P2 Brown/Johansson/Patterson United OAK Pescarolo + 27 laps 14. GT Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook Corvette + 28 laps 15. GT Henzler/Sellers/Ragginger Falken Porsche + 29 laps 16. GT Sharp/van Overbeek/Farnbacher Extreme Speed Ferrari + 29 laps 17. P1 Dyson/Smith/Cochran Dyson Lola-Mazda + 31 laps 18. GT Firman/Jakubowski/Halliday Luxury Ferrari + 33 laps 19. GT Neiman/Holzer/Law Flying Lizard Porsche + 33 laps 20. GT Muller/Hand/Priaulx BMW + 35 laps 21. GT Brown/Cosmo/Bell Exteme Speed Ferrari + 37 laps 22. P2 Mailleux/Ordonez/Vernay Signatech ORECA-Nissan + 37 laps 23. GT Miller/Maassen/Collard Miller Porsche + 37 laps 24. GTE-A Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo Krohn Ferrari + 39 laps 25. GTE-A Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel Larbre Corvette + 41 laps 26. GT Robertson/Snow/Murry Robertson Doran Ford + 44 laps 27. GTC Pappas/Bleekemolen/Bleekemolen Black Swan Porsche + 48 laps 28. GTC Sweedler/Wong/Keen Alex Job Porsche + 48 laps 29. GTC Ende/Pumpelly/Ludwig TRG Porsche + 49 laps 30. PC Jeannette/Gonzalez/Junco CORE Autosport FLM + 54 laps 31. GTE-A Kauffman/Aguas/Bell AF Corse Ferrari + 56 laps 32. P1 Burgess/McMurry/Willman Autocon Lola-AER + 58 laps 33. GTE-A Giroix/Kauffman/Wainwright Gulf Aston Martin + 62 laps 34. PC Lux/Julian/Zugel/Grogor Genoa FLM + 67 laps 35. PC Bennett/Montecalvo/Dalziel CORE Autosport FLM + 70 laps 36. P2 Nicolet/da Rocha/Lafargue OAK Pescarolo-Judd + 70 laps 37. GT Ortelli/Makowiecki/Beltoise Luxury Ferrari + 78 laps 38. P2 Tucker/Franchitti/Diaz Level 5 HPD + 80 laps 39. GTE-A Ehret/Mullen/Wills CRS Ferrari + 84 laps 40. P1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish Audi + 92 laps 41. P1 Bernhard/Dumas/Fassler Audi + 98 laps 42. PC Nicolosi/Boon/Lueders Performance Tech FLM + 101 laps Retired/not classified: GTC von Moltke/Norman/Keating TRG Porsche 247 laps GT Rossiter/Mowlem/Hansson Jetalliance Lotus 237 laps GT Slingerland/Rich/Kasper Jetalliance Lotus 197 laps GTE-A Lietz/Ried/Bullitt Proton Porsche 163 laps GT Junqueira/Wilden/James RSR Jaguar 92 laps P1 Bourdais/Pagenaud/Davidson Peugeot 78 laps GT Beretta/Milner/Garcia Corvette 76 laps P1 Luhr/Graf/Pickett Muscle Milk Lola-Aston 63 laps P1 Al Masaood/Kane/Leitzinger Dyson Lola-Mazda 29 laps GT Jones/Moran/Lewis RSR Jaguar 27 laps