As you can see we’ve enjoyed a quiet break here at AUSmotive HQ and it’s a bit remiss to be starting the year with an update that’s well over a month old. That said, here’s a gallery of images from the final WEC race of the 2014 season.
It will be remembered for a few reasons. First, it was the maiden win for Porsche since their return to the LMP1 category. Their progress in 2015 will be well worth watching.
Second, it was the final race for Audi’s Tom Kristensen, who, thanks to his incredible nine wins at La Sarthe is known as ‘Mr Le Mans’. Kristensen’s #1 Audi R18 finished third and it was great to see him on the podium in his farewell appearance.
FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), round 8, Sao Paulo (Brazil), LMP1, Race
First win for the Porsche 919 Hybrid under dramatic circumstances
Stuttgart. The Porsche Team has achieved its maiden win with the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the final race of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship in SÃ£o Paulo with the driving trio of Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany). At the same time as the team achieved the biggest success of its debut season, it had its deepest shock when Mark Webber had a very heavy accident in the sister car with less than half an hour to go before the end of the six-hour race. The Australian, who shares the Le Mans Prototype with Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), crashed heavily into the barriers at the fast last turn of the lap. He was in sixth position. The initial information the team received from the medical centre at the track was that he was not badly injured. However, he has been transferred to a hospital in SÃ£o Paulo for further checks. The race finished behind the safety car with Neel Jani at the wheel of the winning car.
How the race went for car number 14:
Lieb started from second, but lost one place to a Toyota on lap one. After breath-taking attempts to get the position back, after 37 laps he handed over the car, which was still lying in third, to Jani. The Swiss continued to attack the Toyota, they swopped places, but when Jani handed over to Dumas after 76 laps the car was still third. Dumas only got by when the Toyota had contact with another car on lap 88. On lap 105 Dumas had to pit early because of a right rear puncture. Lieb got behind the wheel again and took the lead after 119 laps when the sister car suffered problems. Lieb pitted after 144 laps to hand the car back to Dumas. After 183 laps Jani took over with the car lying second. At his final pit stop after 222 laps he stayed in the car and took the risk not to change tyres to save time. The risk paid off.
How the race went for car number 20:
Bernhard started from pole position and was leading by 12 seconds when he handed over to Webber after 38 laps. Webber stayed in the lead of the race, despite some trouble in traffic, and handed over to Hartley at the end of lap 79. For the Kiwi and car number 20 the dream to win the race was over soon as an unidentified problem cost some engine power. After 119 laps Hartley handed over to Bernhard, who continued in third. During a full course yellow after 153 laps Hartley got behind the wheel again. After 193 laps Webber took over again, with the car having meanwhile dropped back to sixth place. He had his last pit stop after 227 laps and a heavy crash in the fast last corner of the track when the race was on its 239th lap with less than half an hour to go.
Quotes after the race:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: â€œThe most important news of today is that, given the circumstances, Mark Webber is in good condition, according to the first information from the doctors. I find it hard to believe that we really managed to win our first race in our first WEC season, especially as our joy is overshadowed by Markâ€™s accident. This weekend we have been fastest in every session and had both cars on the front row. The race was a thriller until the very last lap. After three tough years we have achieved this win with a great team in our debut season. Congratulations to the team â€“ Iâ€™m very proud of them.â€
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: â€œAccording to our information Mark seems to be okay after this heavy accident. This weekend all drivers, mechanics and engineers have completed the last step we had on the agenda for this year: winning a race on our own merit. We were able to show what we have learnt in our debut season. Be it in terms of tyre management, pit stops or other operational aspects â€“ our team was top in every regard. Many thanks to everyone who contributed â€“ here on track or back home in Weissach. Our 2014 mission is over, and now we are looking forward to the next season.â€
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 14
Romain Dumas (36, France): â€œIt is great we have won that race for Porsche, but, of course, it was a lot more important to know that Mark was okay. My first stint today ended early due to a right rear puncture. I donâ€™t know what caused it, but maybe some debris. When I was back in the car later in the race I had a much better time. The grip level of the track had improved and we had changed the tyre pressure in the rear. The car was really good.
Neel Jani (30, Switzerland): â€œThis was a tough race â€“ every lap in qualifying mode and good battles with the number 8 Toyota. That it worked out in the end is almost unbelievable. Together with Romain and Marc we achieved the first pole position for the 919 Hybrid and now the first win. To me this was a dream season. The next dream would be to win the World Championship and to take Le Mans. We hope this is what the future brings. We are now even third in the driversâ€™ championship â€“ who would have believed that?
Marc Lieb (34, Germany): â€What a day for our team! On lap one I lost one position to a Toyota, he surprised me with boosting in a corner, as I wasnâ€™t expecting it. Afterwards it was impossible for me to get past him, although I had the faster car. I tried everything but he was all over the place. The second time in the car my biggest problem was tyre pick-up in traffic as soon as I had to leave the racing line. It was like driving on ice.â€
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 20
Timo Bernhard (33, Germany): â€œI had a very straight forward first stint with leading the race from the start until our first pit stop. I handed over the car to Mark Webber with a 12 second lead. Managing the traffic was really challenging, especially towards the end of my stint when I had some bad luck with slower cars. The heat was also really tough. My second stint later in the race wasnâ€™t as satisfying, because by then our car didnâ€™t have its full power anymore. However, this isnâ€™t important anymore. All what counts is that Mark is okay.â€
Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): â€œThis was an emotional rollercoaster with the most important news being that Mark is alright. The beginning of my first stint was great when I was leading the race. Timo and Mark had done a great job to bring our car to where it was and it felt fantastic. Then, about ten laps into my stint unfortunately we lost some engine power. We could not defend our position and dropped back. But at least we could have finished the race and it was great to drive on this track. However, this is overshadowed after Markâ€™s accident.â€
Race result 6 hours of SÃ£o Paulo (Brazil):
1. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 249 Laps
2. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, â€“ 0,170 s
3. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (BRA/F/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, â€“ 1 Lap
4. Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway (A/F/GB), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, â€“ 1 Lap
5. FÃ¤ssler/Lotterer/TrÃ©luyer (CH/D/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, â€“ 1 Lap
FIA World Endurance Champonship (WEC) after last out of 8 rounds,
1. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota, 166 (World Champion)
2. Lotterer/TrÃ©luyer/FÃ¤ssler (D/F/CH), Audi, 127
3. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche, 117
4. Di Grassi/Kristensen (BRA/DK), Audi, 117
5. Wurz/Sarrazin (A/F), Toyota, 116
6. Lapierre (F), Toyota, 96
7. Duval (F), Audi, 81
8. Nakajima (J), Toyota, 71
9. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche, 64,5
1. Toyota, 289 (World Champion)
2. Audi, 244
3. Porsche, 193
Toyota Racing: World Champions 2014
1 December 2014
TOYOTA Racing is the 2014 driversâ€™ and manufacturersâ€™ World Champion after a successful conclusion to the FIA World Endurance Championship season in the Six Hours of Sao Paulo, at Interlagos.
The eighth and final race of the season was a thrilling one, with the #8 TS040 HYBRID of World Champions Anthony Davidson and SÃ©bastien Buemi finishing second after a late safety car halted a potentially-successful battle for victory.
The #7 of Alex Wurz, StÃ©phane Sarrazin and Mike Conway were handed a harsh drive-through penalty which meant they finished fourth. That also dropped Alex and StÃ©phane to fifth in the driversâ€™ championship.
But the focus was on the team result today, with TOYOTA ending a 15-year wait for a title, following the 1999 World Rally Championship triumph.
Todayâ€™s result marks a historic moment in sportscar racing history as it is the first time a Japanese manufacturer has won the World Endurance Championship in any of its guises since its inception in 1953.
It also marks a significant milestone for the TOYOTA HYBRID System â€“ Racing. The project to pioneer a motorsport hybrid system began in 2006 and in July 2007 a TOYOTA Supra became the first-ever hybrid winner, in the Tokachi 24 Hours.
That pioneering super capacitor technology has been extensively developed, reducing weight and increasing power, leading to the 1,000PS, four-wheel-drive TS040 HYBRID which has simultaneously reduced fuel consumption by 25% compared to 2013.
In the new efficiency-focused LMP1 regulations, TOYOTA technology has triumphed, with the TS040 HYBRID winning five of its eight races and taking four pole positions, 12 podium finishes and four fastest laps.
Nevertheless, that success has been far from easy and the team appreciates the close and fair competition from Audi and Porsche which has made the 2014 season exciting and very rewarding.
TOYOTA Racing would like to thank all its valued partners for their part in delivering both World Championships. DENSO inverters and hybrid motors, TOTAL lubricants, Aisin AW hybrid motors, Nisshinbo super capacitors, ZF clutches and Takata safety equipment all played a pivotal part in both World Championships.
Todayâ€™s race marked the end of an era in endurance racing as Tom Kristensen retired from the sport. What he has achieved is truly remarkable and everyone at TOYOTA Racing wishes him the very best in his racing retirement.
Akio Toyoda, President, TOYOTA Motor Corporation: â€œAfter only three years in the FIA World Endurance Championship, Iâ€™m overjoyed that TOYOTA Racing was able to win both the driversâ€™ and manufacturersâ€™ World Championships this season with the TS040 HYBRID. I must express my sincere gratitude to our fans for their encouragement and our partners for their support. I would also like to say congratulations and thank you to all the drivers and racing team staff who worked so hard and closely together throughout the season. TOYOTA will use these experiences in the FIA World Endurance Championship to help revolutionize hybrid technology and to help make ever-better cars that delight people around the world.â€
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: â€œTodayâ€™s race was truly one of the most exciting I have been involved with. I am very proud of the result, especially considering the power loss we suffer at this altitude. Happily our hybrid system worked well which helped particularly with traffic management. Everyone pushed to the limit to find the final tenth of a second. To win both World Championships is one of our biggest achievements in motorsport. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and worked with us to achieve this incredible result. Our team and drivers have been superb this season; everyone has played their part, including Kazuki Nakajima and Nicolas Lapierre who are not with us here in Sao Paulo. We have been fighting against strong competitors who have an incredible history in endurance racing. This makes our achievement even more valuable to us. We will enjoy this moment but immediately we will be working hard to retain our titles in 2015.â€
TS040 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, StÃ©phane Sarrazin, Mike Conway)
Race: 4th, 248 laps, 7 pit stops. Fastest lap: 1min 18.778secs
Alex Wurz: â€œIt has been amazing as a team to win the manufacturersâ€™ World Championship, which is well deserved for TOYOTA Racing. It was really fun racing today; I enjoyed it. The car was good, especially in my second stint but less fun was to get a drive-through penalty for what I consider just racing. Never mind, I respect as always the decision of the race stewards but itâ€™s hard to take as it dropped us from third in the driversâ€™ championship. We had some very fast race weekends but didnâ€™t have the luck this year.â€
StÃ©phane Sarrazin: â€œIt is a very good season for TOYOTA and me. We are World Champion manufacturers, just amazing. The whole team has worked so hard not only this year but since the very beginning of the project and this is a fantastic reward. Our car has been strong in every race and that is really a credit to how well the team has performed. For us in our car we are very disappointed because we thought the penalty was harsh. That cost us positions in the race and the championship which was disappointing.â€
Mike Conway: â€œAs the race was unfolding it was a huge fight between TOYOTA, Porsche and Audi. It was really close. We saw a few different strategies but ultimately we were looking at a podium. We pushed flat-out all the way to try to get the car up there but itâ€™s just a pity we couldnâ€™t have had a restart because I think both cars could have made up positions. Obviously it is a great day for TOYOTA. World Champions; that was the objective this weekend, so huge congratulations to everyone. Itâ€™s great to be part of the team.â€
TS040 HYBRID #8 (Anthony Davidson, SÃ©bastien Buemi)
Race: 2nd, 249 laps, 6 pit stops. Fastest lap: 1min 18.399secs
Anthony Davidson: â€œIt wasnâ€™t the way we wanted to win the manufacturersâ€™ World Championship but it was good fun trying to win the race today. We didnâ€™t expect to be fighting for victory so that was in a way a bonus. It also shows why we are the champions because we didnâ€™t give up at all today. We pushed Porsche all the way to the end. Although we were denied the chance to fight to the flag, it was still good fun. Congratulations to Porsche who did a great job all weekend. I want to say big thanks to the team for all their hard work this year. It has been good fun being part of it.â€
SÃ©bastien Buemi: â€œI am really happy because together with Anthony we did a great race. We did a few mistakes but we were pushed to the absolute limit by the Porsche guys and I think they deserved the win. We are a little disappointed because we thought we could have fought hard at the restart. But we are really happy overall with the performance and winning the two titles. Itâ€™s been a great year for us. We are driversâ€™ and manufacturersâ€™ World Champions and now we look forward to next year.â€
Emotional WEC finale for Audi at SÃ£o Paulo
- Tom Kristensen celebrates widely recognized farewell with podium result
- Marcel FÃ¤ssler/AndrÃ© Lotterer/BenoÃ®t TrÃ©luyer are runners-up in the championship
- Audi surrenders constructorsâ€™ title for the first time after two years as World Champions
Ingolstadt/SÃ£o Paulo, November 30, 2014 â€“ Audi was pleased to finish the finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) on a positive note. The brand with the four rings achieved its sixth podium result of the season at SÃ£o Paulo with Tom Kristensen securing another trophy in his last race as a pro. Audi closed the year in second place of the manufacturersâ€™ standings, while Marcel FÃ¤ssler/AndrÃ© Lotterer/BenoÃ®t TrÃ©luyer (CH/D/F) took second place in the driversâ€™ championship. Following a remarkable recovery, the trio in the number 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro battled its way forwards from the last to fifth place.
Top performance all the way to the end: In his last race, Tom Kristensen once more proved his prowess. Together with Lucas di Grassi (BR) and LoÃ¯c Duval (F) the nine-time Le Mans winner, in third place, clinched his last trophy for Audi in Brazil. In the thrilling final stage, he prevailed against the number 7 Toyota â€“ thanks to excellent lap times with low fuel consumption. The Dane, who had announced the end of his professional career before the last race of the season, experienced an overwhelmingly emotional weekend brimming with recognition. A medal presented by the Brazilian Automobile Association, a lap of honor on Saturday, the inscription â€˜Thanks Tom â€“ Mister Le Mansâ€™ emblazoned on the number 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro and a finish with messages from all WEC teams and honors on the podium provided the Dane with an unforgettable finale after 138 Sport, GT and touring car races with Audi. For Lucas di Grassi, the result was a special one as well. After having started from position six, the Brazilian who was born in SÃ£o Paulo presented himself to his home audience in top form.
The sister car, designated as number 2, had chances of clinching a podium result as well in spite of a setback. After BenoÃ®t TrÃ©luyer, during the first race lap, had to have a system reset performed and dropped to the back of the field, he started his recovery. Only 30 minutes later, the Frenchman had battled his way back to sixth place. His team-mate AndrÃ© Lotterer underscored the pace of number 2 by setting the fastest race lap. Ultimately, the 2012 World Champions took fifth place following the body damage repairs. After an accident of Mark Webber, in which the Australian suffered no major injuries, a safety car period ended the race.
At the end of the third FIA WEC season, Audi looks back on a successful interim tally. In 24 races since 2012, the company has scored 13 victories (rate: 54 percent), which makes it the most successful marque in the LMP1 class. Two World Championship titles in the driversâ€™ and manufacturersâ€™ classifications in 2012 and 2013 complete the sporting results. The highlight of the 2014 season was the success at Le Mans in June â€“ marking Audiâ€™s 13th win in the iconic 24-hour race since 2000.
Quotes after the race
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): â€œThis was a very emotional weekend. Itâ€™s fantastic that Tom Kristensen on his last double stint still defended the podium place. We managed to end the FIA WEC season on a positive note in Brazil. Itâ€™s great that we managed a podium finish although our aim, obviously, is to be on the very top of the podium.â€
Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): â€œ2014 was an emotional roller-coaster ride for us. That was true for the Le Mans 24 Hours but applies to the WEC season as well. The way we closed the season wasnâ€™t ideal but it ended on a positive note. The highlight of the weekend, no doubt, was the farewell of Tom Kristensen, whoâ€™s been with us for such a long time. We thank him very much â€“ he had a part in shaping our sweetest successes.â€
Ralf JÃ¼ttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): â€œCongratulations to Porsche on their first victory. We made the best of our potential. The greatest part about it is Tom finishing on podium in the final race. He more than deserved this champagne shower. If thereâ€™s a driver that can do a particularly good job of saving fuel while extracting the best possible performance from the Audi, itâ€™s Tom. Weâ€™re taking a successful season finale into the winter break and will be going for all-out attack again in 2015.â€
Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): â€œThis was one of my toughest races of the whole season. At the end, with Tomâ€™s farewell, the situation was very emotional again. We gave everything but, unfortunately, had a few minor problems. Still, we never gave up. Itâ€™s great to be on the podium here in my hometown SÃ£o Paulo. And itâ€™s particularly sweet to be able to share this moment with Tom â€“ simply incredible!â€
LoÃ¯c Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): â€œIâ€™m happy about our successful close of the season, particularly for Tom. The race was anything but easy. But we were in contention and mounted the podium â€“ a great reward for the team. And of course Iâ€™m happy that Mark Webber didnâ€™t suffer any serious injuries.â€
Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): â€œA big â€˜thank youâ€™ to everyone! I finished my first race with Audi at Sebring in 2000 on the podium and ending my career Iâ€™m on podium again â€“ after a difficult race. To save another pit stop we had to drive more efficiently towards the end. That was on my stint. It was another exciting stage until the safety car was deployed. Congratulations to Porsche on their first victory and to Toyota on winning the title. And Iâ€™m happy to have spent my career at Audi with the best team in the world. Emotionally, this was the best weekend in my career.â€
Marcel FÃ¤ssler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): â€œIt was a great honor for me to drive in the same team together with Tom Kristensen. Obviously, saying goodbye to such a great racer is a huge step and a loss for us. As far as our car is concerned: we were unfortunate right at the beginning and had to reset the systems. Unfortunately, that cost a lot of time and afterwards we started a recovery. In the end, the joy of being the runners-up in the World Championship outweighs anything else. It was a tough, difficult season that we can still be proud of with this final result.â€
AndrÃ© Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): â€œWe drove another strong race at the end. Iâ€™m particularly happy for Tom Kristensen, who has crowned the end of his career with another podium place. Whenever a racing legend like Tom retires itâ€™s a really special occasion. Heâ€™s been a role model for me and always inspired me. Actually, except for a few problems that unfortunately cost us the podium, our race went well. I enjoyed the car and the pace was right too. In addition, we managed to set the fastest race lap.â€
BenoÃ®t TrÃ©luyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): â€œIâ€™m overjoyed that Tom was able to celebrate a podium result in his last WEC race. Just like his team-mates, he showed a remarkable performance. At the same time, Iâ€™d like to congratulate Porsche on their first victory. It was a difficult race for us and we suffered a few setbacks. Still, our car was fast. We scored some points again at the end â€“ that was positive.â€
1 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 249 laps in 6h 01m44.608s
2 Buemi/Davidson (Toyota) + 0.170s
3 Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (Audi) â€“ 1 lap
4 Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) â€“ 1 lap
5 FÃ¤ssler/Lotterer/TrÃ©luyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) â€“ 1 lap
6 Bradley/Howson/Imperatori (Oreca-Nissan) â€“ 24 laps
7 MÃ¼cke/Turner (Aston Martin) â€“ 28 laps
8 Makowiecki/Pilet (Porsche) â€“ 28 laps
9 Calado/Rigon (Ferrari) â€“ 28 laps
10 Bruni/Vilander (Ferrari) â€“ 29 laps