This year’s Le Mans 24 Hours was an absolute thriller with twists and turns all the way. It was also one of the most dramatic for decades, with tragedy thankfully averted, and a stunning win for Audi over Peugeot.
If ever there was a perfect race to mark 30 years of Duke Video bringing us an annual slice of Le Mans action, then this year’s epic diesel battle at the Circuit de la Sarthe is it.
Thankfully, Duke Video has done justice to this belter of a race with this year’s official review – a review that has been suitably brought up to date and received a much needed reboot.
Gone are the pre-race build-up and qualifying highlights, and instead we jump straight into proceedings as the formation grid takes place. The biggest (and most welcome) change of all, however, is with regards to the running time.
Standard Le Mans 24 Hours reviews have never exceeded 90 minutes, half of which tended to be dedicated to stuff endurance racing fans cared very little about. Well that’s a thing of the past now, as the race footage fills up an impressive four hours of running time and delivers all the pivotal moments from the 79th running of the race.
Typically Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller’s horror smashes have been included, along with the down-to-the-flag race between the solo Audi and Peugeots that occupied two thirds of the race. But as we all know, Le Mans isn’t solely about the potent diesels at the front of the pack.
The petrol cars that occupy LMP1 also feature, as well as those in the LMP2 category. Although both will probably be remembered in the history books as little more than a footnote, they certainly added to the occasion. Particularly Greaves Motorsport who hit the back of the net on reliability and beat the pair of French-run ORECA-Nissans.
The two GT classes receive a deserving amount of airtime too. Any one of the four marques that made up the new GTE Pro class could have won the race, but it was Chevrolet, in their centenary year, that came out trumps in what was a fiercely contested race of attrition.
The other major difference to this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours review is that there is none of the pretend real-time commentary that occasionally blighted previous efforts. Instead, our ears listen to a combination of live television (Christopher Tate and David Addison) and Radio Le Mans (on the graveyard shift) broadcasts to ensure ‘as it happens’ excitement throughout.
Le Mans 2011 does an excellent job of capturing the drama and atmosphere of this year’s race. The much needed boost in running time means that all the key moments have been included and the full story of this epic race can be told.
An essential purchase if ever there was one, particularly if you’re one of those High Definition types as it now comes available on the eye-poppingly glorious Blu-ray format. You lucky, lucky things.