For the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will be live blogging throughout the race as well as providing hour-by-hour reports for the entire 24 hours. This part of the live blog will be update during the build up to and the first six hours of the race.
Updates by James Broomhead, Tom Errington, Paul Hensby, Joe Hudson, James Singleton and Nick Smith.
And we’re off!!
The start of the biggest race of the year is just an hour away at the Circuit de la Sarthe!
There will be 54 cars on the grid after the withdrawal of the #99 Aston after Fernando Rees’ qualifying crash.
All the other cars that have been in walls and wars have been repaired and will take the start at 2pm UK time.
Just half an hour to until Fernando Alonso will flag the start of the race
15 minutes to go. We have something a bit fun for the parade lap.
A reminder that the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid will lead the 54 car field to the start of the race.
The Thiriet by TDS Racing Ligier will lead LMP2
And AF Corse Ferraris will lead both LMGTE Pro and Am with Gimmi Bruni and Sam Bird at the respective wheels.
Here we go. Formation lap ready for the off.
So. Here is this year’s Le Mans in numbers.
18: The number of former F1 drivers in the field. That’s 10.9% of the field!
36: The number of combined wins in the Audi driver line-up.
3: The number of times Audi have been beaten at Le Mans.
5057: The number of laps completed by cars in which Tom Kristensen has raced.
27850: The estimated horsepower under 55 right feet at about 15:00.001 CET this afternoon.
240.5l: The total engine displacement of all fifty-five starters.
Alex Wurz leads the way in the #7 Toyota from the #14 Porsche
So after lap one it’s the #7 Toyota of Alex Wurz who leads from the #14 Porche of Neel Jani and the #8 of Nicolas Lapierre.
Meanwhile Lotterer has got ahead of Bernhard for P4.
Harry Tincknell in the #38 Jota Zytek is beginning to pull away from the rest of the LMP2 runners after getting ahead of the pole sitting TDS Ligier JS P2. .
Wurz now has a 2.375 lead over his team mate Nicolas Lapierre, who has now moved ahead of Jani.
Gimi Bruni in the #51 Ferrari 458 Italia leads LMGTE Pro, with Sam Bird in the #81 leading LMGTE Am, also in a Ferrari 458.
Boost problem for Timo Bernhard in the #20, who has now dropped to seventh ahead of both Rebellion’s.
#27 SMP Racing Oreca 03R of Mika Salo pits.
The #2 Audi moves ahead of the #14 Porsche going into the Dunlop Chicane for P3.
Lotterer and Jani are still battling away for P3, with the Porsche visibly faster down the straights, but slower in the corners than the R18.
And now we see Lotterer stretch his legs through the corners, with Jani now defending from the #3.
As a side note, the Nissan ZEOD RC is currently running 26th, behind all of the LMP2’s.
The #1 Audi of Tom Kristensen has moved ahead of the #3 for P5.
Lotterer has now passed Lapierre for P2 in the #2 Audi as they go through traffic.
The #0 Nissan ZEOD RC has stopped at Arnage.
The #8 had a spin at the second chicane down Mulsanne, which is why the #2 Audi is now ahead.
A slow zone has now been initiated on Mulsanne down to the second chicane, with the #1 now pitting.
Alex Imperatori is on the charge and has taken the lead in LMP2 in the #47 KCMG Oreca.
Porsche #14 slow.
Both Rebellion’s in LMP1-L have now pitted, with the #12 of Nick Heidfeld P6 and the #13 of Andrea Belicchi P8.
Slow Zone has now been removed.
Matt McMurry is now in the #42 Greaves Zytek, becoming the youngest drive in Le Mans history.
Every car in LMP2 has pitted.
The #27 SMP Oreca with Mika Salo at the wheel is now back in the race but 7 laps down.
The top two cars pit. Wurz still leads from Lotterer.
The #7 Toyota gets very close to the #2 Audi in the pitlane as it gets released. Possible unsafe release.
We now have a fight for second, with the #8 Toyota less than a second behind the #2 Audi.
Audi #1, however, is having its own fight with the #20 Porsche for fifth, trading places at every corner!
#14 Porsche rejoins in 51st, five laps down.
GTE pit cycle is beginning.
Lapierre goes into P2 as he passes the #2 Audi, who has its sister car, the #3, just behind. Fantastic racing!
But Lotterer fights back! The #2 takes P2 once again from the #8.
Now it’s Marco Bonanomi’s turn in the #3 Audi to pass the #8 Toyota.
Car #7 under investigation for the unsafe release.
Talking of the pits, the #79 Weather Tech Porsche is shown with a left rear puncture.
The #61 Ferrari clips the #35 OAK Ligier and goes off into the gravel at Mulsanne Corner with Marco Cicoi at the wheel.
Sam Bird now has a 10 second lead over the #72 SMP Ferrari in GTE Am.
Ferrari looks like to should be ready to get going again, he is four laps down on the rest of LMGTE Pro
Wurz leads by 36 seconds from Marco Bonanomi in the #3 Audi
KCMG leads LMP2, Oak is second and Thiriet by TDS Racing is in third position
Prospeed Porsche is back out, seven laps down and with only two drivers to complete the remaining 22 hours and 48 minutes
#2 and #3 Audis are storming down the Mulsanne going into the second chicane, going in neck and neck with #2 ahead
#1 Audi is in the pits now, Tom Kristensen has just stopped for fuels and keeps on the same tyres.
A lot of the LMP2 cars are in the pits now, lasting about 40 minutes to a stint
#3 Audi in the pits now
Toyota are first and third, sandwiched by the #2 Audi
Radio Le Mans is reporting that there is rain at Tertre Rouge and out of the Dunlop curve
It is safe to say that it is very wet now, expect a number of teams to debate putting on inters now
Although it is now dry towards Indianapolis so it is a definitive mixed bag
#42 Caterham Racing car of Matt McMurry has spun just before Tertre Rouge – caught out by the rain
#20 Porsche is pitting
It is now bombing it down in the pit lane, #7 Toyota out brakes itself going into the first chicane on the Mulsanne
#3 Audi has had a heavy impact with the barriers at the first chicane. It’s facing the wrong way with heavy rear damage.
Safety Car is now out on track
Audi, AF Corse Ferrari, Toyota all tangled going into the chicane and they have all hit the barriers
No tv pictures but RLM reporting that LMP2 race leader is the reason the barriers at the first chicane is damaged, he is now limping back to the pits
Listen to Radio Le Mans live online here: http://radiolemans.0157.org/nplayer.php or on TuneIn for mobile viewers
Lapierre has got the #8 moving again but the #3 is still stuck where it is
#3 appears terminal, Ferrari is definitely terminal, Toyota could race on if it can get back to the pits and the damage isn’t too extensive
Rebellion #12 and #13 could make something out of this situation
#3 Audi is going onto the low loader, the three pronged attack has been stunted somewhat as the Toyota makes its way in the pits
Toyota mechanics are now a whirlwind of spanners as they try and assess the damage to the #8
Replays show that one of the factory Porsche GT cars was scraping its way down the barriers as the Toyota span and a speeding Ferrari tore its way up the middle and into a collision with the Audi
It was the #81 Ferrari that has had to retire
If you’ve missed anything from the first hour of the race, catch up here: http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2014/06/2014-24-hours-le-mans-hour-1-update/
Still under safety car following the downpour and associated crashes.
Under safety car its Toyota, Audi, Porsche – #7 from #2 and #20
After the dramas for the KCMG team during the rains Frank Mailleux leads LMP2 for Race Performance
Safety Cars getting ready to come in an return us to racing once more
Ram Racing’s LMGTE Pro car into the gravel. Looks like at the For Chicane
It was Matt Griffin in the Ram Ferrari
Porsche #91 911 RSR leads the LMGTE Pro class with Patrick Pilet on board.
The track may be drying following that rain shower, but apparently more rain could be on its way…
Told you. More heavy rain again. Safety car out on circuit once more.
#48 Murphy Prototypes LMP2 in the wall, Karun Chandhok onboard. He’s not the only one as well. #41 car also there.
Chandhok looked like he was abandoning ship, but it now looks like both cars will attempt to return to the pits. Extensive damage to both cars.
Meanwhile, the #8 Toyota has just joined the queue at the end of the pit lane. It has been in its garage for a long time following the first rain storm.
Sebastien Buemi is now behind the wheel of the #8 Toyota.
The race leader, the #7 Toyota driven by Alexander Wurz, will be taking on wet tyres at its next stop.
Safety car in the end of this lap.
Timo Bernhard is the new race leader.
Alex Wurz describes his first stint as “character building” and says he’s glad he’s survived it.
Seven seconds is the gap between Bernhard and the #7 Toyota, now driven by Stephane Sarrazin.
Sarrazin had been catching Bernhard quite rapidly, but now the Porsche is pulling away. First time Porsche has led outright at Le Mans since 1998.
Turvey and Bradley having a great battle for ninth, with Bradely ahead in the LMP2 class.
Turvey and Bradley having a great battle for ninth, with Bradley ahead in the LMP2 class.
Race positions after three hours
Still a damp circuit, some areas drying out quicker than others under the bright sun.
We have the #33 Ligier of Adderly Fong off track into the gravel. The car is currently being retrieved.
Fong’s car went off at Indianapolis.
Long is no longer leading the LM GTE AM, as Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin takes the class lead.
#20 Porsche and #7 Toyota gap at the top is at around 8 seconds, but the gap is in constant flux. Warnings of more bad weather too.
GTE-Pro now has a leader change too, with Jorg Bergmeister taking the lead ahead of Marco Holzer.
Tyre changes may be incoming, with Mulsanne and the esses virtually dry now.
#1 Audi R18 has pitted with Kristensen in the car. Driver change sees Lucas Di Grassi into the car.
One of the GTE cars has flown straight off into the gravel. One of the Ferraris.
#20 Porsche is pitting from the race lead, Sarrazin now concedes the lead to the #7 Toyota.
#60 Ferrari, driven by Lorenzo Case, narrowly avoided a collision to an Aston Martin when it went into the gravel.
Porsche still in the pits means it drops into third behind Treluyer in the #2 Audi.
Brendon Hartley is now in the #20 Porsche.
#14 Porsche is still chasing the leading pack of LMP1, and has pitted from 15th.
The #14 Porsche leaves the pit with Marc Lieb behind the wheel.
Sebastian Buemi just set the fastest lap in the #8 Toyota down in 43rd position.
Frev and Brundle battling for the LMP2 lead, Frey is currently in the class lead.
Treluyer has just pitted the #2 Audi. The #20 Porsche now moves ahead in the order.
Confirmation that the #41 Zytek Nissan has retired.
Alex Brundle has now taken the class lead in the LMP2.
The race leading #7 Toyota has pitted.
Now the lead returns to the #20 Porsche, nipping ahead of the #7 Toyota as it leaves the pitlane.
#71 Ferrari is now officially retired.
Interestingly, the #20 Porsche lead means that Porsche lead LMP1, GTE Pro and GTE AM, through the #20, #77 and #91 respectively.
How long that will last, who knows as the #74 Corvette with Milner is closing fast on Bergmeister’s #91 Porsche.
0.2 second gap between Milner and Bergmeister now. Milner then overtakes!
GTE Am leader Long hands over to Patrick Dempsey in the #77 Porsche.
Dempsey now driving, finds himself behind the #98 Aston Martin of Nygaard.
Lieb making progress in his attempts to close down the LMP1 pack. Finds himself now running in 13th in the #14 Porsche.
Now 50 laps in, and Hartley’s #20 Porsche leads the #7 Toyota of Treluyer by 20 seconds.
Battle for 4th in LMP2 with the #46 Ligier of Badey losing out to the #43 Morgan – Nissan of Hirsch.
Alex Brundle pits from second in LMP2.
Lieb is now up to 11th in the #14 Porsche.
Hartley has a 13 second lead over Sarrazin. Track is now dry.
Milner’s lead is now up to seven seconds after dispatching the two Porsches for the class lead in GTE Pro.
LMP2 has a new leader, Chatin moving the #36 Alpine into the lead.
Four hours in and it’s time to look at another race going on, the Michelin Race Performance award. Here’s how things are looking so far.
Meanwhile the gap between the #20 Porsche and #7 is now just 9.9 seconds. Stéphane Sarrazin is at the wheel of the #7 at the moment.
And into the pits comes Hartley in the #20.
The #36 Signatec Alpine currently leads LMP2, with the #74 Corvette leading LMGTE Pro and the #98 Aston Martin leading LMGTE Am.
Alex Brundle (#35 OAK Racing), who took fresh tyres at his last stop, is eating into Michel Frey’s (#34 Race Performance) lead in LMP2.
#43 Morand Morgan is in the gravel at the first Mulsanne chicane.
Meanwhile the #52 RAM Racing Ferrari has also pulled off, but unrelated.
Parante, who was in the #52, has pulled it off at Arnage and looks to have a small fire.
Sarrazin in leading Toyota #7 pits, takes fuel, and rejoins in the lead by five seconds.
The #75 Porsche is fighting for position with the #57 Krohn Racing Ferrari, with the ProSpeed car getting pass on the Mulsanne Straight.
3.4 seconds separate Sarrazin in the #7 Toyota from Hartley in the #20 Porsche.
Sebastien Buemi in the #8 Toyota TS040 HYBRID is now up to 33rd place after the cars earlier shunt.
Alex Brundle in the OAK Ligier takes the LMP2 lead from Michele Frey, who misses the first Mulsanne Chicane.
Meanwhile the OAK Racing Team Asia Ligier – HPD has gone off but rejoined.
Brundle now has a five-second lead in LMP2.
#29 Pegasus Racing smoking down Mulsanne.
We’ve had word that it was the telemetry unit in #52 RAM Ferrari that caught fire.
Patrick Dempsey in the #77 Porsche retakes 2nd in GTE Am as Hamilton in #53 pits.
Unscheduled stop for Hartley in the #20 Porsche from P2.
#50 Larbre Morgan gets 15s stop and go for pit lane speeding.
Mark Webber confirms the #20 had puncture forcing an early stop.
Bruno Senna in the #97 is now right behind both factory Porsche’s on the Mulsanne.
And Senna now moves ahead of the #91 Jörg Bergmeister.
And now Senna is ahead of Marco Holzer’s #91 Porsche as well.
Senna is now P3 in GTE Pro behind the #74 Corvette who leads and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari which sits second.
Lucas Di Grassi passes the #20 Porsche to move the #1 Audi into P3.
And that was the easiest move Di Grassi will make all weekend! He just breezed past the Porsche into the first corner.
Di Grassi pits the #1 Audi from third, whilst Mark Webber is kitted up to take over the #20 Porsche.
The #91 GTE Factory Porsche passes the sister #92 for P4 in class.
The #13 Rebellion R-One will have to change its race number panel on the left side during its next stop
Hartley locks up and misses the first chicane on Mulsanne.
Very close between the #2 Audi and #8 Toyota exiting pit lane. Not in terms of position but contact!
Sarrazin continues to hold lead in the #7 Toyota
#61 AF Corse has just had a spin as the shadows begin to drift across the track.
The #20 Porsche hits the pit lane, and falls behind the #1 Audi into fourth
Sarazzin in the #7 Toyota leads by one minute from the #2 Audi
The #13 Rebellion pits as they try and recover from its earlier problems
It is currently a Ligier 1-2 in LMP2
The #74 Corvette leads GTE Pro; Richard Westbrook currently behind the wheel.
The #98 Aston Martin currently leads GTE Am
Benoit Treluyer (#2 Audi) was 0.026s faster than Stephane Sarazzin (#7 Toyota) on that last lap!
Treluyer then took 2.5 seconds out of Sarazzin on the following lap!
The #14 Porsche is in the pits from sixth. Lieb has handed over to Dumas!
The #13 Rebellion back in the garage with more issues.
the #2 Audi pits from second; Treluyer stays onboard for another stint
The #8 Toyota down in 16th overall pits; Davidson on board
As it stands Oak Racing are leading LMP2 – they won this category in 2013
The leading #7 Toyota has pitted. Nakajima has taken over from Sarazzin behind the wheel
After the pit stop cycle, #7 Toyota leads #2 Audi and #20 Porsche
The #66 Ferrari of Pumpelly has spun but recovered on track
The darkness is approaching, and Anthony Davidson is flying in the recovering #8 Toyota
The #66 being pushed into the garage after its spin for a bit of repair work
Kazuki Nakajima continues to build a lead for the #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid. He now leads Benoit Treluyer by 50 seconds.
#20 Porsche 919 Hybrid is off at Arnage. Brendon Hartley is facing down the escape road.
Hartley has power but doesn’t appear to have drive, the marshals are with the stricken LMP1-H.
OK, Hartley has found reverse and now has the #20 heading back to the pits. He has lost third to the #1 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron Quattro of Lucas di Grassi though.
The #20 Porsche gets fuel, tyres and a driver change. Looks like Mark Webber has just climbed aboard. The car now heads back out onto the circuit.
Puncture for the WeatherTech Porsche #79. Jeroen Bleekemolen struggles down the Mulsanne Straight, limping the car back for a fresh set of rubber.
Meanwhile the recovery drive for the #8 Toyota continues. Anthony Davidson is now in 12th and chasing the #26 G-Drive Morgan for 11th.
Bleekemolen is now at Indianapolis and Arnage. His careful driving is paying off because the tyre is still intact.
W’re onto part two as we shift into the hours of darkness.