2011 24 Heures du Mans - 79th Grand Prix d'Endurance, June 11-12 - Race Week Thread

Mercury

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since I was in Sydney for the weekend and totally missed out on seeing anything of the race, is there a place where I can watch the highlights (prefer ~1hrs worth rather than a 5-min job)

Might be worth searching for Eurosport's "24 minutes" shows. They had a couple before the race, a couple during, and 1 post race edition. I imagine finding those would be an excellent review of the whole race.
 

WillDAQ

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If a driver is going to change his line in order to take his normal racing line, he better be damn well sure he's not going to impede anyone.

Sorry, but false distinction.

The drivers were instructed to say on the racing line and allow the faster cars to find their own way past.
 

Martin90

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Sorry, but false distinction.

The drivers were instructed to say on the racing line and allow the faster cars to find their own way past.

I've been watching a lot of onboard footage from the Audis and Peugeots, but all GT drivers stick to the outside line in that kink when a prototype gets close and wants to overtake, always. I think that was the reason why Rockenfeller thought he could pass. Kaufmann moved the right pretty late as well. It all just seems to confirm that he wasn't aware of Rockenfeller being that close.
 

mpicco

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I watched bits of the race and it was quite a good show. I even purchased EuroSport2 cos the 24 hour coverage changed channels every 3 hours or so :D

It was really too bad about some accidents with the Audis that looked very avoidable, specially the second one. So the lonewolf winning was ever more impressive, when Peugeot were trying with all their tricks including blocking a lapping car several times over, having 3 cars on which to test tyres vs road conditions on, and having 12 lap stints instead of 10-11...

One issue that baffled the Portuguese commentators was the lack of Pedro Lamy's driving for his Peugeot... it was mostly Sebastian Bourdais.
 

vikiradTG2007

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One issue that baffled the Portuguese commentators was the lack of Pedro Lamy's driving for his Peugeot... it was mostly Sebastian Bourdais.

Lack of pace, Radio Le Mans says that he only drove two stints on Saturday and was sidelined by the team for being too slow, the rest of the driving for the 9 car was done by Bourdais and Pagenaud. Audi did the same thing with the 2 car, Fassler had a bad stint early during the night and didn't drive the car any more afterwards, Lotterer and Treluyer took the car to the finish.
 

mpicco

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Lack of pace, Radio Le Mans says that he only drove two stints on Saturday and was sidelined by the team for being too slow, the rest of the driving for the 9 car was done by Bourdais and Pagenaud. Audi did the same thing with the 2 car, Fassler had a bad stint early during the night and didn't drive the car any more afterwards, Lotterer and Treluyer took the car to the finish.

Could be, but overloading the other 2 drivers like that, doesn't it reach a point where a slower but more awake/fresh driver is preferable to a fast tired one? Isn't that maybe how Alexander Wurz binned the other Peugeot?
 

vikiradTG2007

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Could be, but overloading the other 2 drivers like that, doesn't it reach a point where a slower but more awake/fresh driver is preferable to a fast tired one? Isn't that maybe how Alexander Wurz binned the other Peugeot?

With the race as close as that, keeping the quick guys in the car was more important than driver fatigue.
 

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Sorry, but false distinction.

The drivers were instructed to say on the racing line and allow the faster cars to find their own way past.
For what it's worth, I think that instruction is stupid. It opens up a lot of "is he going to let me by or do I need to find a way around him?" guesswork that slows drivers down and, in the case of Audi, collects them. It really should be "the prototypes are in a much faster race, and you should drive predictably so they can get around you efficiently".

"Stay on the racing line" is good in theory, but I saw plenty of GT cars making way for the prototypes during the race, and Rocky had no reason to believe that Kaufman wasn't going to do the same until about 0.8 seconds before he got hit. Yes, it's absolutely the passing driver's responsibility to make sure a pass can safely take place... but like I said, he didn't know one couldn't until 0.8 seconds before it went wrong.

Kaufman had plenty of room to let him pass and follow outside the racing line for a couple of seconds; that pass would have definitely been completed before even halfway through the kinks, and he had plenty of warning that he was going to be passed imminently. The "Audi white-out" problem is possibly a valid excuse, but one Kaufman didn't cite.
 

MadCat360

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Sorry, but false distinction.

The drivers were instructed to say on the racing line and allow the faster cars to find their own way past.

No. The distinction is modified with the inclusion of blocking rules. Any movement to directly impede another car's path is blocking. This is true in F1. This is true in SCCA. This is true in every racing organization on the planet*. You do not make a move that will impede another car's immediate path in such a way that there is nowhere to go, eg, will cause a collision. When the cars have such a large speed differential, it becomes much easier to do that and have an incident like this, because the cars don't have to be as close to make it a collision situation if they alter their line. With equal cars, you can turn in at the entrance of a corner nose to tail, or even rear wheel to front wheel with no problems. But with a 30 MPH speed differential, he could be a couple car lengths back at the turn in point and still duck under you at the apex. That kind of speed demands serious respect.

If the ACO really said that, to drive on the racing line no matter what, they are idiots and the drivers are idiots if they listened. That's not how it works in the real world, as Dogbert pointed out with the fact that all the GT cars were making room. That's just the natural order of things. It's born out of tremendous respect and sportsmanship. It's not even a rule situation, I don't know why I even referenced any kind of blocking rule; it's just simple preservation.

*IndyCar's retarded blocking rule notwithstanding. Making a move to the inside is not blocking if there is no immediate threat of collision.

Would you drive on one side of the circuit through all the kinks leading to Indianapolis (and possibly beyond that) until the car with the white lights makes it's way past you?

Couple things to consider about the situation:

The Audi's lights are very distinct. They are the brightest things on the track. If he didn't know it was an Audi I'd be very surprised. Of course he will say he had no idea because the racing public thinks racing drivers are stupid anyway, so he'll be forgiven. But he'd be pretty unaware if he couldn't at least make a decent guess it was an Audi due to the sheer intensity of those new LEDs.

The curve on Mulsanne doesn't need to be apexed by any car on the 24 hour grid, there is no understeer or oversteer, no splitters scraping from cornering load and no tire noise.

It's a 24 hour race and we're only halfway through.

So the only real question we have, is it an LMP1? Simple test. Run a wide line in the Mulsanne curve. If he goes by, it was an LMP1. If not, it's an LMP2, and we'll let it by in the next good braking zone. We don't need to run wide in every corner once we've verified the speed differential (running through a corner is a really good method for this at night, because you can essentially triangulate the car's position in your rear view mirror as you round the bend, and no, you don't need to stare at the mirror to do this). If it turns out it was really an LMP1 and he was just being nice in the curve, then he'll definitely get by us on the straight and we won't have to worry any more.
 
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WillDAQ

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This is true in F1. This is true in SCCA. This is true in every racing organization on the planet*.

If the ACO really said that, to drive on the racing line no matter what, they are idiots and the drivers are idiots if they listened. That's not how it works in the real world.

This was the discussion at 1am on RLM. Apparently the ACO were very clear in the drivers briefing that it was up to the car behind to make the safe pass. The car in front was to stay exactly on the racing line as it was judged to be the most predictable path that the car in front could take. As soon as you start expecting the driver in front to move off line you open up the question of how much they move off line and where they move off line.

I fail to see how F1 or other regulations are relevant. There are few series which drive at night with such varying speed vehicles.



The Audi's lights are very distinct. They are the brightest things on the track. If he didn't know it was an Audi I'd be very surprised. Of course he will say he had no idea because the racing public thinks racing drivers are stupid anyway, so he'll be forgiven. But he'd be pretty unaware if he couldn't at least make a decent guess it was an Audi due to the sheer intensity of those new LEDs.
Having lights that are brighter than other competitors are only going to compound the problem as the light intensity is one of the few indicators of distance the drivers have.


The curve on Mulsanne doesn't need to be apexed by any car on the 24 hour grid, there is no understeer or oversteer, no splitters scraping from cornering load and no tire noise.
Having stood at that corner at night watching the cars run through, it isn't quite the cake walk you make out, certainly not at night with fewer reference points.
 

Martin90

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So, there we are, a day after the 79th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans. I usually reflect upon the race at raceday, but I was simply too tired to do a proper reflection, lol. Unlike usually, I wasn't able to follow everything right from the start of scrutineering, and the habits of listening to all previews, scrutineering reports and watching truth in 24 were lost due to a busy schedule. I was able to watch most of practise and qualifying, and luckily, the whole race.

Last year I said I was going to remember the race for some time, but this year was a true classic, possibly even greater than in 2008. Compared to last year, it would be the first time for both Audi and Peugeot to run their new cars at the Circruit de la Sarthe. The months before the events, everyone had been speculating about what we were going to see. Some said that the Peugeot would continue their domination, others insisted that Audi had finally built a car able to beat the 908 on raw pace. Myself? Didn't have a clue. In qualifying and practise, the two candidates for the overall title were very closely matched. Benoit Treluyer impressively set the pole at 21 laps old tyres.

Raceday. Love the building up towards the race starting with the warm-up in the morning, quickly followed by a great legends race. Last time we could see sir Stirling Moss live in action. The clock slowly ticked towards 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Timing screen, check. Live feed, check. Radio le Mans, check. The 79th running starts as all cars roar past the grand-stands. In the first few laps something becomes very clear: Audi seems to be able to match the pace of Peugeot, and is perhaps even faster. Then the first of two "I scared myself to death" moments arrived: the crash of Allan McNish. Favourite car, favourite driver. My stomach turned as I saw his car being totally destroyed. Miraculously, McNish managed to get out unhurt.

The race continued, and whilst that happened some other things became clear: Peugeot had an advantage over Audi as far as fuel consumption was concerned, but Audi had (unlike other years) an advantage over Peugeot as far as tyre wear was concerned. The #2 car even managed to do a quintuple stint, amazing. Then, the second big crash of the race. To be honest, I was even more scared here than I was with McNish's crash. I had no idea that Rocky was out of the car and looking at the wreck from what was left I genuinely thought he would be seriously wounded, if not worse. Thanks to all that's holy, he managed to get out and survive this horrific accident. Have to say, the safety car periods were a bit difficult to get through, especially because of their extensive lengths.

Then, the race to the flag, to what would become one of the closest finished in the Le Mans history ever. Audi escaped trouble when with a slow puncture on the #2 car in the last hour, where they could just take enough fuel for the overall victory. What a drama, what an emotion, what a race.

I don't think Peugeot expected Audi to be this fast, compared to previous years. I'm amazed that all top cars finished without mechanical failures. Also delighted not to see the #7 crew on the podium after that silly drive from Gene. Very unsporting from him to deliberately ignore blue flags and even block the leading car.

Delighted to see the Corvettes take win at Le Mans! Unfortunately, GTE was never as exciting as GT2 was last year. I think performance-wise, the cars were a bit more apart as well. Amazing to see the LMP2 runners doing such a good job, quite a lot of finishers!

That's it for this year as far as the greatest motorsport event in the world is concerned. A true classic, this year. I enjoyed every second from it, because it had everything: drama, emotion, joy. Congratulations to Audi for their tenth win at Le Mans. Thoroughly deserved, especially after the two horrendous crashes.

Big thanks to Radio Le Mans for the stunning commentary and also to everyone in this thread. Enjoyed following the race here, we even managed to get more posts than in 2010! See you all next year :cool:
 

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This was the discussion at 1am on RLM. Apparently the ACO were very clear in the drivers briefing that it was up to the car behind to make the safe pass. The car in front was to stay exactly on the racing line as it was judged to be the most predictable path that the car in front could take. As soon as you start expecting the driver in front to move off line you open up the question of how much they move off line and where they move off line.
Of course, it boils down to "you don't ever have to make a pass". Rocky could have backed off if it didn't feel right. But that's the problem; up until Kauffman hit him, there was no indication that Kauffman was going to keep on keeping on, as it were.

I fail to see how F1 or other regulations are relevant. There are few series which drive at night with such varying speed vehicles.
Why it's relevant is because if there's no indication that Kauffman was going to keep racing his own race and make Rocky wait, the natural assumption is that he's going to stay off-line and let the rapidly approaching car with lights flailing go past. Every single other racing series that I can think of says "if you are lap traffic, you stay out of the way", and from what I saw of the race, that's how it naturally played out... except for the questionably-experienced Kauffman.

Given this, Kauffman may be a victim of his own inexperience and terrible instruction from the ACO.
 
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Martin90

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Of course, it boils down to "you don't ever have to make a pass". Rocky could have backed off if it didn't feel right. But that's the problem; up until Kauffman hit him, there was no indication that Kauffman was going to keep on keeping on, as it were.

Given this, Kauffman may be a victim of his own inexperience and terrible instruction from the ACO.

Totally agree there. If you look at the other footage, all GT cars always stay on the outside line through that kink. Kauffman moves to the right at the latest moment possible. Completely his fault, although I do think, as you said, the ACO could have been a bit more clear about it, as he was clearly inexperienced at Le Mans.

Reaction from Rocky:
Unfortunately things didn?t go so well for us even though we were fighting for one of the top three positions. It was 22:41 hrs; the race wasn?t even eight hours old. I was driving my fourth stint. I only had to drive another three or four laps before the fuel tank would have been empty. After the Mulsanne corner I was on the long straight heading towards Indy. There was a GT car ahead of me in the second right kink. It moved to the left and I flashed the headlights several times.

For me it was clear that the driver would stay on the left like in every previous lap. We overtake frequently at this point during the race. In the very moment I was driving at 300 km/h alongside him he misjudged the situation. He moved suddenly to the right. I wanted to try and avoid him by driving on the grass. It would appear that he probably touched my car ever so lightly on the rear. I turner sharp left.

It was a heavy accident. But the most important thing is that I?m really okay. The safety standards of the Audi R18 TDI are simply incredible and they saved my life. I?ve never had such an accident in my life and hope that I will never, ever to experience anything like this again.

I?m really sorry. We had a good chance of fighting for the win during the race. I would definitely use such a gap again because I believe it wasn?t a risky manoeuvre. It was a completely normal straight ahead overtaking.

I think we have to consider whether we can find another solution for amateur drivers. It is simply too dangerous. It was critical on more than one occasion as I could see. At that moment on Saturday evening things didn?t work out for me. On Monday I left Le Mans for home.
 

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Having stood at that corner at night watching the cars run through, it isn't quite the cake walk you make out, certainly not at night with fewer reference points.

If the driver can't manage running a car width wide in a flat out corner that is not on the limit and does not have marbles on the outside then he should not be on the track. This is premier racing. Not amateur's learning ground.

I'm sorry but "I've been near it and it looks impressive to me" does not qualify as an informed opinion on the behavior of vehicle dynamics at high speed. Scott Pruett specifically said the same thing I'm saying about that corner during Speed's broadcast. Considering that he's won at Le Mans in a GT car, I'm willing to bet on his info over yours. A lot of corners in motorsport that look very impressive and scary from the outside are actually very easy. Corkscrew at Laguna is one. Stand on the bottom amongst the trees and it's breathtaking. From the cockpit it's just a chicane.
 
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mpicco

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That crash reminded me of Robert Kubica's one in Canada 07. These racecars are tough nuts to crack, fortunately.
 

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I am absolutely shocked drivers get to just walk away from accidents like that. Safety technology has seriously caught up to the speed race cars drive these days and that's amazing.
 

WillDAQ

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If the driver can't manage running a car width wide in a flat out corner that is not on the limit and does not have marbles on the outside then he should not be on the track. This is premier racing. Not amateur's learning ground.
A car width makes a difference when the track 3 car widths wide, not to mention a slight off camber crest towards the apex. It's not a problem of absolute grip so much as the car being unsettled. You may consider yourself far more of a driving expert but i've driven the corner myself at 'legal' speeds and I don't think its the cake walk you're making it out to be, at least not at 200mph at night. I can see we're just going to have to disagree on this.

blah blah I'm willing to bet on his info over yours. blah blah
I'm merely reporting what the ACO stated in the drivers brief, you can rage all you want but i'm really not bothered.
 
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HatePersonified

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Congrats to Audi, they def deserved it after the travesties they encountered in this year's race.

I wish Ferrari would get back into prototype racing...but that will never happen... :/ sucks

At least an F458 got second in GTE!

They would have been 3rd if not for a fucking errant backmarker Porsche. If Horst wasn't already in the hospital, I'm sure Jan would have put him there judging by how pissed off he was in the post-shunt interview.
 
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