2012 24 Hours of Le Mans
|2012 24 Hours of Le Mans|
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|Index: Races | Winners|
The 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans (French: 24 Heures du Mans 2012) was the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race, and formed the third round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship season. It was held on 16–17 June 2012 at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France, and was organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO).
For the second year in a row the race was won by Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer, and André Lotterer, who were driving an e-tron quattro, hybrid electric version of the Audi R18. They were a lap ahead of their sister R18 e-tron quattro entry, and three laps ahead of a conventionally powered Audi R18 ultra. This victory made the Audi R18 e-tron quattro the first hybrid electric vehicle to win at Le Mans, as well as the first with four-wheel drive.
A test session was held at the circuit two weeks before the race, on 3 June, scheduled to avoid clashing with events within the 2012 Formula One season. The race itself was also scheduled so as to avoid Formula One event clashes.
|Le Mans Test Day Schedule|
|Friday, 1 June||09:00 – 18:00||Sporting Checks and Administrative scrutineering|
|Saturday, 2 June||09:00 – 15:00||Sporting Checks and Administrative scrutineering|
|Sunday, 3 June||09:00 – 13:00||Free practice|
|14:00 – 18:00|
|2012 24 Hours of Le Mans Schedule|
|Sunday, 10 June||14:30 – 19:00||Sporting Checks and Administrative scrutineering|
|Monday, 11 June||10:00 – 18:00||Sporting Checks and Administrative scrutineering|
|Wednesday, 13 June||16:00 – 20:00||Free practice|
|22:00 – 24:00||Qualifying|
|Thursday, 14 June||19:00 – 21:00||Qualifying|
|22:00 – 24:00|
|Friday, 15 June||17:30 – 19:30||The 18th Drivers' Parade in Le Mans City center |
|Saturday, 16 June||09:00 – 09:45||Warm-up|
|15:00||Start of the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans|
|Sunday, 17 June||15:00||Finish of the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans|
For the second year, the ACO granted 56 invitations to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Entries were divided between the LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1), LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2), LMGTE Pro (Le Mans GT Endurance Professional), and LMGTE Am (Le Mans GT Endurance Amateur) categories, while a final 56th entry was granted for the Nissan-engined DeltaWing, which does not conform to any of the four categories.
Automatic entries 
Automatic entries are earned by teams which won the previous running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, or have won Le Mans-based series and events such as the American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, and the Petit Le Mans. Some second place finishers are also granted automatic entries in certain series and events. Entries are also granted for the winners of the Michelin Energy Endurance Challenge in both the American Le Mans Series and Le Mans Series. A final entry is granted to the champion in the Formula Le Mans category of the Le Mans Series, with the winner receiving their invitation in LMP2.
As automatic entries are granted to teams, the teams are allowed to change their cars from the previous year to the next, but are not allowed to change their category. However, automatic invitations in the two GTE categories are able to be swapped between the two based on the driver line-ups chosen by these teams. As the American Le Mans Series does not separate between the Pro and Am categories, only a single GTE invitation will be granted for their class champion.
|Reason Entered||LMP1||LMP2||LMGTE Pro||LMGTE Am|
|1st in the 24 Hours of Le Mans||Audi Sport Team Joest||Greaves Motorsport||Corvette Racing||Larbre Compétition|
|1st in the Le Mans Series||Rebellion Racing||Greaves Motorsport||AF Corse||IMSA Performance Matmut|
|2nd in the Le Mans Series||Pescarolo Team||Strakka Racing||JMW Motorsport||AF Corse|
|1st in the American Le Mans Series||Dyson Racing Team||Not Awarded||BMW Team RLL|
|2nd in the American Le Mans Series||Muscle Milk Aston Martin Racing||Not Awarded||Corvette Racing|
|1st in the Petit Le Mans||Peugeot Sport Total||Level 5 Motorsports||AF Corse||Krohn Racing|
|1st in Le Mans Series Energy Endurance Challenge||Pescarolo Team||AF Corse|
|1st in American Le Mans Series Energy Endurance Challenge||Dyson Racing Team||BMW Team RLL|
|1st in Le Mans Series FLM category||Pegasus Racing|
56th entry 
For the 56th and final entry for the 2012 running of Le Mans, the ACO has turned to promoting cars which feature advancements in technology, either for performance or ecological improvement. Three projects were submitted to the ACO, with the automatic entry being granted to an American group by the name of Project 56 who are developing the DeltaWing concept originally proposed for the American IndyCar Series. The extremely lightweight car features a unique layout that is far removed from the style of Le Mans Prototypes. The project is backed by Highcroft Racing, All American Racers, and the Panoz Group. Two other entries had been granted reserve status if the DeltaWing team withdrew; the Swiss-developed GreenGT LMP-H2, which utilizes a hydrogen fuel cell to run electric motors within a Le Mans Prototype style body, and the French Courage 0.12 will use stored energy to drive electric motors.
Entry list 
In conjunction with the announcement of entries for the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, the ACO announced the full 56 car entry list for Le Mans, plus nine reserves. On 16 April, the ACO released an updated entry list which confirmed the withdrawal of both Dyson Racing cars. Status Grand Prix and Murphy Prototypes were promoted from the reserve list in Dyson's absence. Several teams also withdrew their entries from the reserve list, including Jetalliance, Hope Racing, Lotus Cars, and Aston Martin Racing.
The 9 initial reserve entries were divided between five LMP and four GTE entries. Rather than the first reserve replacing a car of any class, a withdrawing LMP can only be replaced by another LMP and the same applies to GTs. The specific classes within LMP and GT are not considered in this process. At the time of the Test Day, there were 3 remaining reserve entries, a second Lotus entry in LMP, and the Pro IMSA Matmut Porsche and the Am Proton Competition Porsche in GT.
Qualifying was held over three sessions, each two hours in length. The first session, held on Wednesday night, was led by a trio of Audis with the No. 1 car setting the pace with a lap time of 3:25.453. Toyota, in their first qualifying session with the TS030 was fourth in the standings, 1.7 seconds off the lead Audi's pace. The Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca-Nissan led the LMP2 category by two tenths of a second over Murphy Prototypes. Corvette Racing No. 74 led the LMGTE Pro category with a 3:55.910 lap ahead of Luxury Racing's Ferrari and the No. 73 Corvette. The LMGTE Am class was led by Flying Lizard Motorsports by half a second over the Prospeed Competition Porsche.
The second session of qualifying was held in the early evening of Thursday. The majority of cars participating improved their qualifying times from the previous day, while the provisional pole position was lowered to a 3:24.078, now held by the No. 3 Audi. In the LMP2 category OAK Racing's No. 24 Morgan-Judd was the fastest ahead of the Signatech Oreca-Nissan. Luxury Racing was able to supplant Corvette at the top of the LMGTE Pro class by improving the class lap time by over half a second, while Aston Martin moved into second place ahead of Corvette. Flying Lizard did not improve their LMGTE Am lap time, maintaining the lead in the category. The final session held at the end of Thursday was led by defending race winner André Lotterer who ran a 3:23.787 lap early in the session, which was not beaten by the end of qualifying nearly two hours later. The pole position for the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was the first for a hybrid electric vehicle. Audi No. 3's time from the second session held for second place, 0.2 seconds behind the pole sitter, while Toyota No. 8 improved to third on the grid although a full second behind the fast lap. ADR-Delta brought home the LMP2 category pole by setting a nearly half a second ahead of OAK's lap from the second session. No improvements were made by the top cars of either of the LMGTE categories, giving Luxury Racing Ferrari and Flying Lizard Porsche pole positions in Pro and Am respectively. The unclassified DeltaWing 3:42.612 in the first qualifying session, making it the 29th fastest car in the field.
Jean-Christophe Bouillon was injured in an accident prior to qualifying on Wednesday was ruled out of the event two days later after complaining of pain in his ribs. No replacement driver was found, leaving Emmanuel Collard and Stuart Hall as the only drivers for the No. 16 Pescarolo-Judd.
Qualifying result 
Pole positions in each class are denoted in bold. The fastest time set by each entry is denoted in gray.
|Pos||No.||Team||Car||Class||Qualifying 1||Qualifying 2||Qualifying 3||Gap||Grid|
|1||1||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||LMP1||3:25.453||3:24.997||3:23.787||1|
|2||3||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi R18 ultra||LMP1||3:26.694||3:24.078||3:27.578||+0.291||2|
|3||8||Toyota Racing||Toyota TS030 Hybrid||LMP1||3:28.295||3:26.151||3:24.842||+1.055||3|
|4||2||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||LMP1||3:26.536||3:26.038||3:25.433||+1.646||4|
|5||7||Toyota Racing||Toyota TS030 Hybrid||LMP1||3:27.191||3:26.502||3:25.488||+1.701||5|
|6||4||Audi Sport North America||Audi R18 ultra||LMP1||3:27.554||3:26.420||3:26.600||+2.633||6|
|7||21||Strakka Racing||HPD ARX-03a-Honda||LMP1||3:32.750||3:29.622||3:37.253||+5.835||7|
|8||12||Rebellion Racing||Lola B12/60-Toyota||LMP1||3:33.211||3:29.837||3:34.476||+6.050||8|
|9||13||Rebellion Racing||Lola B12/60-Toyota||LMP1||3:33.140||3:31.866||3:41.533||+8.079||9|
|10||17||Pescarolo Team||Dome S102.5-Judd||LMP1||3:34.716||3:34.925||3:33.066||+9.279||10|
|11||22||JRM||HPD ARX-03a-Honda||LMP1||3:37.088||No Time||3:35.421||+11.634||11|
|12||15||OAK Racing||OAK Pescarolo 01-Judd||LMP1||3:38.414||3:37.367||3:35.584||+11.797||12|
|13||16||Pescarolo Team||Pescarolo 03-Judd||LMP1||No Time||3:37.485||3:48.716||+13.698||—1|
|15||24||OAK Racing||Morgan LMP2-Judd||LMP2||3:40.902||3:38.598||3:40.310||+14.811||14|
|17||46||Thiriet by TDS Racing||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2||3:39.252||3:41.975||3:41.990||+15.465||16|
|18||49||Pecom Racing||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2||3:41.916||3:39.711||3:40.292||+15.924||17|
|19||48||Murphy Prototypes||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2||3:39.877||3:40.652||3:42.057||+16.090||18|
|20||35||OAK Racing||Morgan LMP2-Nissan||LMP2||3:41.721||3:39.899||3:41.707||+16.112||19|
|21||30||Status Grand Prix||Lola B12/80-Judd||LMP2||3:41.451||3:42.518||3:40.280||+16.493||20|
|22||44||Starworks Motorsport||HPD ARX-03b-Honda||LMP2||3:40.639||3:41.863||3:40.471||+16.684||21|
|23||45||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2||3:40.727||3:43.763||3:42.949||+16.940||22|
|24||42||Greaves Motorsport||Zytek Z11SN-Nissan||LMP2||3:42.125||3:40.738||3:43.230||+16.951||23|
|25||38||Jota||Zytek Z11SN-Nissan||LMP2||3:41.287||3:41.428||No Time||+17.500||24|
|27||33||Level 5 Motorsports||HPD ARX-03b-Honda||LMP2||3:42.224||No Time||3:42.696||+18.437||26|
|28||41||Greaves Motorsport||Zytek Z11SN-Nissan||LMP2||3:47.408||3:43.406||3:42.292||+18.505||27|
|30||40||Race Performance||Oreca 03-Judd||LMP2||3:48.124||3:43.619||3:46.200||+19.832||29|
|31||31||Lotus||Lola B12/80-Lotus||LMP2||3:48.067||No Time||3:45.664||+21.877||30|
|32||28||Gulf Racing Middle East||Lola B12/80-Nissan||LMP2||3:50.526||3:47.244||4:15.649||+23.457||31|
|33||43||Extrême Limite ARIC||Norma MP200P-Judd||LMP2||3:51.012||3:53.560||3:48.025||+24.238||32|
|34||59||Luxury Racing||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Pro||3:56.076||3:55.393||3:58.647||+31.606||33|
|35||97||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin Vantage GTE||LMGTE Pro||3:57.466||3:55.870||3:56.036||+32.083||34|
|36||74||Corvette Racing||Chevrolet Corvette C6.R||LMGTE Pro||3:55.910||3:58.214||3:57.981||+32.123||35|
|37||71||AF Corse||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Pro||3:57.509||3:58.960||3:56.484||+32.697||36|
|38||73||Corvette Racing||Chevrolet Corvette C6.R||LMGTE Pro||3:57.181||3:59.433||3:59.471||+33.394||37|
|39||79||Flying Lizard Motorsports||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Am||3:57.594||4:09.762||4:03.420||+33.807||38|
|40||77||Team Felbermayr-Proton||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Pro||3:57.648||3:57.606||4:19.147||+33.819||39|
|41||75||Prospeed Competition||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Am||3:58.035||9:51.593||3:59.739||+34.248||40|
|42||80||Flying Lizard Motorsports||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Pro||3:58.717||4:00.011||3:59.372||+34.930||41|
|43||99||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin Vantage GTE||LMGTE Am||3:58.725||4:00.958||No Time||+34.938||42|
|44||58||Luxury Racing||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Am||4:00.849||3:58.800||No Time||+35.013||43|
|45||29||Gulf Racing Middle East||Lola B12/80-Nissan||LMP2||4:14.086||No Time||3:58.895||+35.108||44|
|46||88||Team Felbermayr-Proton||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Am||3:59.529||3:59.181||3:59.971||+35.394||45|
|47||50||Larbre Compétition||Chevrolet Corvette C6.R||LMGTE Am||3:59.192||4:05.426||4:13.459||+35.405||46|
|48||66||JMW Motorsport||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Pro||4:00.883||3:59.638||4:10.192||+35.851||47|
|49||51||AF Corse||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Pro||No Time||No Time||4:00.025||+36.238||48|
|50||81||AF Corse||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Am||4:04.493||4:00.288||4:00.924||+36.501||49|
|51||67||IMSA Performance Matmut||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Am||4:00.332||4:00.829||4:07.180||+36.545||50|
|52||61||AF Corse-Waltrip||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Am||4:04.861||4:00.691||4:08.217||+36.904||51|
|53||57||Krohn Racing||Ferrari 458 Italia GT2||LMGTE Am||4:04.698||4:04.075||4:02.323||+38.536||52|
|54||83||JMB Racing||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Am||4:04.416||4:02.461||4:20.082||+38.674||53|
|55||70||Larbre Compétition||Chevrolet Corvette C6.R||LMGTE Am||4:03.021||4:02.969||4:09.709||+39.182||54|
|56||55||JWA-Avila||Porsche 997 GT3-RSR||LMGTE Am||4:08.170||4:03.661||4:03.705||+39.874||55|
Audi drivers Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer, and André Lotterer won the overall race for the second year in a row by a margin of one lap over their teammates. The victory was Audi's eleventh and Joest Racing's twelfth success at Le Mans. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro also became the first hybrid electric vehicle to win at Le Mans as well as the first with a four-wheel drivetrain. The leading car covered 5151.8 km, making 33 pit stops. Audi's primary competitors, Toyota, making its return at Le Mans as an entrant for the first time since 1999, failed to complete the event following several accidents and mechanical failures. The No. 8 Toyota driven by Anthony Davidson was sent airborne at the Mulsanne Corner after being clipped by the No. 81 AF Corse Ferrari of amateur driver Pierguiseppe Perazzini at the end of five hours. The Ferrari also flipped and landed on its roof after hitting the tyre barrier. Davidson suffered two broken vertebrae in the crash but was able to pull himself from the car in the immediate aftermath of the accident The No. 7 Toyota, driven by Kazuki Nakajima, made contact with the experimental DeltaWing as the race restarted after an hour under caution for Davidson's incident. Following lengthy repairs, the Toyota returned to the race but succumbed to an engine failure in the 11th hour.
The American Starworks Motorsport team won the LMP2 prototype category in a HPD-Honda with drivers Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, and Tom Kimber-Smith. The grand touring professional category was won by No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari's Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni, and Toni Vilander, while the amateur class was won by No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette, driven by Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal, and Pedro Lamy. 240,000 spectators attended the race weekend.
Race result 
Class winners are marked in bold. Cars failing to complete 70% of winner's distance (264 laps) are marked as Not Classified (NC).
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- "2012 Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship A superb field". lemans.org. Automobile Club de l'Ouest. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2012.
- "Only two drivers will race for the No.16 Pescarolo". LeMans.org (Automobile Club de l'Ouest). 15 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "80º Edition des 24 Heures du Mans Race Starting Grid" (PDF). fiawec.alkamelsystems.com. Automobile Club de l'Ouest. 16 June 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "Anthony Davidson breaks back after Le Mans 24 Hour accident". BBC Sport. BBC. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Beer, Matt (17 June 2012). "Audi #1 crew claims first hybrid Le Mans victory". Autosport.com. Haymarket Press. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
- "24 Hours of Le Mans 2012: 240, 000 spectators!". lemans.org. Automobile Club de l'Ouest. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- "FIA WEC 80° Edition des 24 Heures du Mans Race Final Classification" (PDF). lemans.org. Automobile Club de l'Ouest. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
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