Starved of the usual summer Le Mans this year, we’ve decided to do a tribute article of sorts to the three notable Le Mans winners from the last decade of racing. Hopefully, it’s enough to whet your appetite on the grand-daddy of endurance racing until it returns on September 19th. We’re going to take a look at the three most dominant cars to have won since 2010, plus some additional information like anecdotes, quotes, etc. So, get stuck in, and get ready for some championship endurance reading. Sorry.
Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Years Won: 2012, 2013, 2014
Notable Drivers: Marcel Fässler, Tom Kristensen,
The beast that is the Audi R18 e-tron quattro debuted in 2012 and went on to win three Le Mans competitions consecutively. Each spec change saw considerable improvements to the vehicle, including it’s six driver-selectable automatic modes in which driver Allan McNish remarked
“I don’t have to press a button … It does it automatically … It is like traction control.”Allan McNish
As far as Le Mans winners go, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was as dominant as any and will justifiable characterise the early 2010s of Le Mans racing.
Porsche 919 Hybrid
Years Won: 2015, 2016, 2017
Notable Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg, Timo Bernhard
The Porsche 919 Hybrid was Porsche’s first all-new prototype since the RS Spyder, its successful class 2 relative. It was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show on Match 4th, 2014. Upon its racing debut in 2015, Porsche used three liveries as a nod to past Le Mans winners. The no. 17 was adorned in red as a tribute to the Porsche 917 and Porsche’s first overall Le Mans victory in 1970. The no. 18 was designed in black to showcase its similarities between itself and the 918 Spyder. Finally the no. 19 was unspectacularly painted white, which was Porsche and Germany’s national standard racing colours.
Toyota TS050 Hybrid
Years Won: 2018, 2019
Notable Drivers: Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima
Picking up from the legacy of the legendary Mazda 787b, the Toyota TS050 Hybrid is only the second Japanese engineered car to join the ranks of Le Mans winners past and present. Before its initial consecutive glory in Le Mans 2018 and 2019, the driver Kamui Kobayashi set a record lap time of 3:14.791 with the Toyota TS050 Hybrid in qualifying. This is currently the fastest ever lap set at Circuit de la Sarthe since chicane modifications on the Mulsanne Straight in 1990.
LE MANS WINNERS FROM THE LAST DECADE THAT DIDN’T QUITE DOMINATE.
Audi R15 TDI Plus
Years Won: 2010
Notable Drivers: Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas
The R15 TDI plus was a successful response to the Peugeot 908s victory from the year before, ensuring the 908 was consigned to the footnote of Le Mans winners history. It made a mockery of its supposed rival The Oreca Peugeot at 8 Hours of Le Castellet, and then went on to reignite Audi’s dominance of Le Mans by securing a 1-2-3 finish in the 2010 competition, capitialising on Peugeot’s engine issues.
Audi R18 TDI
Years Won: 2011
Notable Drivers: Marcel Fassler
Before the beast of the e-tron quattro, came the R18 TDI. Continuing Audi’s campaign of dominance that briefly slipped in 2009, this beautiful car paved the way for future Audi Le Mans winners. That is until Porsche rudely interrupted the party later on in 2015.
As always, we hope you enjoyed reading our blog. If you’re a fan of endurance racing, including the spectacle that is Le Mans, we’d advise you to check out our fantastic range of prints designed for fans like you on our main website. Whether you’d love to see the Circuit De La Sarthe itself hang proudly on your wall, or perhaps you’d rather celebrate some of the more legendary cars to compete over the years, we’ve got something for everyone. Make sure you keep up with our latest blog and designs by following us on twitter, facebook, and Instagram. Until next time folks.