24 Hours of Le Mans – Outstanding cars of the LMP1 era (3/3)

24 Hours of Le Mans – Outstanding cars of the LMP1 era (3/3)

The LMP1 class created in 2004 is on the cusp of its last race, the 8 Hours of Bahrain finale of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season. The new Hypercar class will pick up the mantle next year. Meanwhile, here are a few remarkable examples of LMP1 cars that heated up the track over the last 16 years.

Hope Racing's ORECA 01 Hybrid (2011)

Announced in 2010, Hope Racing's hybrid LMP1 project was revealed on 1 April 2011. The innovation of the car could be found in its engine rather than the ORECA chassis: a two-liter turbo combined with a hybrid system that stored kinetic energy in a carbon disc during each braking to release it on re-acceleration. The project was the work of Jean-Marie Brulhart and Benoît Morand, and the car was entrusted to Jan Lammers (1988 winner with Jaguar), Steve Zacchia and Casper Elgaard. It became the first hybrid prototype to take the start in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Sadly, it was forced to retire after a fire.

Aston Martin AMR One (2011)

Presented on 2 March 2011, the Aston Martin AMR One was built to succeed the DBR1-300 winner at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. The open prototype was designed and developed jointly by Prodrive and Aston Martin Racing, and boasted simple aerodynamics and a six-cylinder inline turbocharged engine. This technical solution offered an advantage: a small footprint that made it possible to free up large spaces for the path of the aerodynamic flow. Though two cars were fielded in the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans, they proved technically fragile and were forced to retire. The AMR One project was scrapped the following year.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro (2012)

The Audi R18 e-tron quattro was the first prototype equipped with hybrid technology, at the front wheels. The car recovered kinetic energy when braking and released it when accelerating at the wheels, in the seven zones of the circuit defined by the regulations and only from 120 kph. It made its first appearance in competition in 2012, the year the FIA World Endurance Championship was created, and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for its very first participation, as well as in 2013 and 2014. Audi also won the FIA WEC Drivers and Manufacturers titles in 2012 and 2013.

Winners with the R18 e-tron quattro

  • André Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fässler in 2012 and 2014
  • Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish in 2013