Jack Leconte’s Larbre Competition - Saleen S7R driven by Gabriele Gardel, Roland Berville, & Julien Canal for the 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Image Credit: antsphoto
24 Hours of Le Mans 2010: Saleen notches first ever win at last ever event
A Saleen S7R wins the last LMGT1 classification race to be held at the 24 hours of Le Mans. In its 78 year history, a Saleen car has never won at Le Mans ... until today, when the Jack Leconte’s Larbre Competition - Saleen S7R driven by Gabriele Gardel (Roland Berville, & Julien Canal co-drivers) crossed the finish line in P1 at the end of the 24th hour. The Saleen is the only car racing at Le Mans that is not racing in the FIA GT1 World Championship.
In winning the LMGT1 Class, the #50 Larbre Competition Saleen S7R completed 331 LAPS, 2ND was the #72 Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette C6,R with 327 LAPS, and 3RD was the #52 Young Driver AMR Aston Martin with 311 LAPS. This will be the last year the LMGT1 Class will be run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in order to align the 24 Hours of Le Mans format with the ALMS and the classification formats they have adopted. This is a good move for Le Mans because this will allow more competitive teams from across the "pond" to be able to enter into this hallmark motorsports race event.
The 78th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans was a race that saw many firsts but chief among them was that a new overall distance record had been set when the #9 Audi Sport North America - Audi R15 TDI diesel-powered car crossed the finish line, with Timo Bernhard driving, completing 392 laps. Timo led a event podium sweep of Audi R15 TDI's in a surprise ending when the faster paced group of Team Peugeot Total - Peugeot 908 HDi - FAP diesel-powered cars that had qualified in the first three positions (also at Le Mans setting record speeds) to start the race (with a fourth one from Team Oreca Matmut in P4) ... and pulled away with one of the cars having over a lap lead on the Audi cars, at one point, had to retire and never completed the race.
It is Audi's 9th overall 24 Hours of Le Mans win, equaling the total notched by Ferrari ... both manufacturers are in second place in wins behind Porsche who have 16 overall wins.
What this 78th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans shows is that in the end it is endurance and perseverance that carries the day. Hats off to all the winners in class beginning with LMP1: #9 Audi Sport North America - Audi R15 TDI LMP2: #42 Straka Racing - HPD ARX.01 LMGT1: #50 Larbre Competition - Saleen S7R LMGT2: #77 Team Felbemayr Proton - Porsche 997 GT3 RSR Michelin Green X (completing the most laps on the least amount of fuel): #42 Straka Racing - HPD ARX.01.
... notes from The EDJE
PS. The Saleen which was named after Steve Saleen, is not raced by the Saleen Automotive Group in the US (formerly of Irvine, CA), nor does Steve Saleen of SMS (Corona, CA) have anything to do with it anymore. (DW)