During the fifteenth hour of the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans cars among the leader in several classes found problems.
None were more serious than the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid which has stopped shortly before the end of the previous hour. However, during the hour the severity of the problem became clear as first the car tumbled down the order, before being posted as an official retirement.
The team blamed a problem in the wiring loom for ending the race for the car that had dominated the race up to that point.
Benoit Treluyer consolidated the lead he had been handed, taking a three lap lead over the #20 Porsche to the end of the hour with the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro running in third place.
The Toyota’s retirement lifted the OAK Racing Ligier up to sixth overall, Alex Brundle driving the car through the end of the hour with a lap’s lead over Tristan Gommendy’s Thiriet by TDS Racing entry.
Darren Turner began the hour in the LMGTE Pro lead. However a quick visit to the garage for the Aston Martin Racing team to change the brake pads on the #97 Vantage GTE allowed Gianmaria Bruni to put the #51 AF Corse Ferrari clear into the class lead.
Behind the Aston the #92 Porsche ran third at the end of the hour having benefitted from a pair of issues for the #74 Corvette. First a failing illuminated number panel on the left side of the machine necessitated a new door panel before they car made a second longer stop on the pit apron with mechanics diving into the rear of the car trying to rectify a suspected transmission problem.
That dropped the car – part of the three way battle for the class lead during the night – to fifth in class behind the sister Corvette Racing C7.R.
In LMGTE Am it was the second placed car at the start of the hour that hit – literally – problems. Mirko Venturi crashed the #61 AF Corse Ferrari at the entry to the Porsche Curves and though the Italian was able to bring the car back to the garage with relatively minimal damage he not only dropped to 5th but was the cause of a SlowZone through the corner to allow marshals to reposition the barriers dislodged by the Ferrari.
The #95 Aston Martin Racing entry continued to lead the class, the issues for their nearest challenger allowing them to grow their lead out to three laps.
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 15 Hours
1 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
2 – #20 Porsche Team – Bernhard/Hartley/Webber
3 – #1 Audi Sport Team Joest – di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen
1 – #35 Oak Racing – Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy
2 – #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing – Badey/Gommendy/Thiriet
3 – #36 Signatech Alpine– Panciatici/Webb/Chatin
1 – #51 AF Corse – Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella
2 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Turner/Mücke/Senna
3 – #92 Porsche Team Manthey – Holzer/Lietz/Makowiecki
1 – #95 Aston Martin Racing – Poulson/Heinemeier Hansson/Thiim
2 – #88 Proton Competition – Al Qubaisi/Bachler/Ried
3 – #90 8Star Motorsports – Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti