Whose Year will 2012 Be?

June 16, 2012

Whose Year will 2012 Be?

June 16, 2012

Moments before the start of one the world’s biggest races, a veteran official draped his arm around the shoulder of an anxious young driver. “Son, I don’t think today is going to be your year,” said the old-timer.

Here at Le Mans, the scene is somewhat different. A 24 Hour race brings hopes, challenges, and, for some, a day that may make their career.

Last year, Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer (above) were “the unknowns” driving the third car at Audi behind “the legends”–Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Dindo Capello and “the champions”–Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller.

When the two hero Audis were eliminated in horrific crashes, the challenge fell to the unknown trio to fight off the cadre of aggressive Peugeots and deliver the victory for Audi. They stepped up to the challenge.

Treluyer and Lotterer were especially strong, delivering critical extended stints under tremendous pressure over the final hours

A similar situation appeared at Corvette Racing, where young American Tommy Milner, in his first year with the iconic team, met his biggest challenge as he and co-driver Antonio Garcia chased down, passed the GTE-Pro leading Ferrari, and delivered the victory with the ailing Olivier Beretta.

The confidence stemming from that victory has helped Milner, now paired with Oliver Gavin, claim the GT wins in the last two American Le Mans Series events.

Whose “year” will the 2012 Le Mans 24 race become?

Will it be the “year” for a Toyota upset? A long awaited first win at Le Mans for the Flying Lizard Porsche team? Perhaps Corvette rookie Jordan Taylor will spray champagne that he is barely old enough to drink?

In a field of 56 cars and nearly 170 drivers, along with the veterans and multiple –time winners, some new heroes will have their day. That is the way of Le Mans.

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