The 24 Hours of Le Mans 2012 completed on Sunday was both familiar and unprecedented. It saw the 29th victory for a German carmaker (11th for Audi), 40th victory for a French driver, 27th victory for a German driver, and 21st victory for tire maker Michelin.
However, it was the first time a hybrid car -- Audi's R18 e-tron quattro -- finished first in the famed French endurance racing event by completing 5,152 kilometers (3,201 miles) in 24 hours.
The hybrid car runs partly on diesel and partly on kinetic energy recovered from braking that is converted to electricity.
The drivers of the winning Audi car were Marcel Fassler of Switzerland, Andre Lotterer of Germany, and Benoit Treluyer of France.
Audi's other R18 e-tron quattro car finished second, and its two R18 Ultra diesels finished third and fifth.
Toyota's Lola No. 12 finished fourth.
Audi's impressive performance wasn't a surprise in 2012, as its cars also won in 2011 and 2010.
By achieving this further success at the world's most important endurance race, our engineers demonstrated their high technological expertise in a particularly impressive way, said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management of Audi AG.
With the e-tron quattro in combination with ultra lightweight design, Stadler added, we put a completely new technology on the grid and immediately won with it -- this cannot be taken for granted by any means, particularly here at Le Mans. This weekend again showed the type of things that can happen in this race and how important perfect preparation is.
One notable event during the 80th Le Mans event was Toyota driver Anthony Davidson's horrific crash, in which his car flipped in the air and slammed into the barriers. Davidson broke his back in the accident, but he later tweeted that he was generally just happy to be alive.