I wrote this after Le Mans 2011 – the epic battle between Audi and Peugeot. It is reproduced here by kind permission of www.fourtitude.com. All photos reproduced courtesy of George Achorn with many thanks.
“This year was incredible because it was a track position and fuel strategy race until the very end. It was elemental. It was the raw, basic, purest elements of sports car racing. It’s unbelievable how high the level of competition was this year. The final stop: we were just in the fuel window to finish the race. We could have gone longer but we had a slow puncture. We came in with twenty one seconds in hand. Fuel hose on. We were three quarters of the way through fuelling when the Peugeot appeared; stopped in its box, fuel hose on. For 10 seconds the fuel hoses were on at the same time – that’s how close it was. Our hose came off and the pit stop started. The first two wheels are on. We are going for the third when the fueller pulls off the Pug. Our fourth wheel is going on and the Pug starts to move. The crowd is in a frenzy! We dropped off the jacks and beat them out by a hundred metres – with 40 minutes to go in a twenty four 24 hour race. But that was it. That was the moment. The guys killed it. The perfect stop. It was fast, smooth and the pressure of the whole world watching didn’t affect them. The psychological closer to the whole thing was sending out Lotterer ahead of Pagenaud on four new tires. Incredible.
Incredible indeed. Kettler and his young team had won against the odds. It was a gritty, emotional and tough race, fought under immense pressure from the team, the fans, themselves and a sometimes combative opponent. And this one was done without takes, without stunt drivers and without a script. In the final analysis then, it wasn’t a Steve McQueen movie after all.
Click here to read about Brad’s part in the Champion Racing 2005 Le Mans win