24 Hours of Le Mans Underway, Hybrids Kicking Ass Already

After weeks of waiting, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is finally here. And it is an extra-special race this year what with hybrid race cars from both Audi and Toyota taking to the field, as well as the experimental Nissan DeltaWing. So far, the hybrid cars are putting on an impressive showing, with the No. 18 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro taking the 1st place pole position during qualifying, following by a non-hybrid Audi R18, and then one of the two Toyota TS030 hybrids. That means of the top three qualifying cars, two were hybrids.

Now that the race is officially underway though, it seems that the two Audi hybrids are proving more resilient and reliable than the non-hybrid R18 Ultras. Both R18 Ultras are down and out as of this writing due to mechanical troubles, while the two Audi e-tron hybrids are currently in the lead. Nipping on their heels though are the two Toyota TS030 hybrids, who are opening an ever-widening gap between the hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles.

In other words, just a few hours into the race the hybrids are already kicking ass.

And what of the experimental Nissan DeltaWing? It too is doing rather well, running towards the back of the LMP class but ahead of the GT racers, putting it solidly in the middle. The DeltaWing has had a few teething issues, but so far it is putting in an impressive performance. This Le Mans race is already proving to be an exciting competition of speed and new technology, but the race has only just begun, and anything can happen.

For my money though, I am rooting for Toyota. I know, right? But Audi has dominated Le Mans for most of the past decade…I’d love to see Toyota’s hybrids usurp the crown, especially after such a long absence from Le Mans racing. Of course I’m rooting for my boys in Corvette Racing, who runs on E85 ethanol, as well. The Corvettes are currently in third place in the GT class, about a minute behind the lap leader.

Watch the whole 24 Hours of Le Mans via live stream here. Hope you can speak French!

 

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.