ROLLER: Live From Le Mans – Race Day

The No. 2 Audi is Jim Roller's pick to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Pete Richards photo)
The No. 2 Audi is Jim Roller’s pick to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (Pete Richards photo)

LE MANS, France — When you come to Le Mans each year the “clock goes back to zero.”

That means no matter what kind of season you have had up to that beautiful June race day morning you enter the race full of hope and promise. It is even more so for many of us who center our year around this great motorsports festival, as we greet each other with hardy wishes for the “new year.”

Part of the fun each new year is handicapping the field. Not an easy feat as so much of what happens in this race is left to chance. Picking a winner in each class is extremely difficult, none-the-less every year I take a stab at it. Best I ever did was a double with Audi and Corvette winning the P1 and GTE categories, respectively. Never have picked a P2 winner.

This year is especially difficult as the competition in all four classes is as close as ever. In the P1 class three of the world’s greatest manufacturers will put there reputations on the line with three hybrid models that use three radically different technologies to try and achieve the ultimate glory of overall Le Mans victory brings.

My pick for a winner is Audi. They come to the race with three cars as apposed to two each for Porsche and Toyota. Toyota and Porsche have shown more speed in qualifying and practice but you can never count out the strategy of Audi. They have many of there 12 wins at la Sarthe with cars that were not the fastest, but used consistency and race craft to claim top prize.

The body language of the Audi crews after a seemingly disappointing qualifying session (fifth, sixth and seventh) said they had something up their sleeves. Toyota has been fast, but it wants it too much and I think will push too hard at the wrong times in an effort to cover the moves of Audi and that will not have a happy ending. As for Porsche, the cars are just too new. They are fast but can they last? If they do they will finish on the podium.

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