Olivier Lombard took the chequered flag as LMP2 winner in the Zytek Nissan of Greaves Motorsport.
Meanwhile second place went to the Oreca 03 Nissan of the Signatech Nissan team of Lucas Ordonez, Franck Mailleux and Soheil Ayari.
It was the first time Nissan competed in the legendary French endurance race since 1999, showing that the Japanese firm was firmly back on form.
However, while the 2011 race will be remembered as one of the most drama-filled races ever, it will also be remembered as the race where Nissan’s Lucas Ordonez went from winning a competition just three years ago to taking a podium position at the toughest race in the world.
‘This is the best feeling I have ever had,’ said a very emotional Ordonez after the race. ‘The team is amazing. We had a few problems but they managed it perfectly and now we are on the podium at Le Mans. There was a second when I thought it was all over and that was a difficult moment but we recovered and made it to second place. This is going to take some time to sink in.’
For Tim Greaves of Greaves Motorsport it has been a nerve-wracking 24 hours: ‘That was the longest day of my life,’ he said. ‘I asked someone how many seconds are in six hours as I needed to start a count down. It has been an incredible race for us, as aside from one tiny mechanical problem we didn’t have a single problem that required a long stop in the garage. The drivers all did an amazing job and now we can celebrate.’
The final hours of the race provided plenty of drama with the Signatech Nissan car, in the hands of Mailleux, suffering from its second puncture with three hours to go.
Soon after, Tom Kimber-Smith had an off into the gravel in the Greaves car when it began to rain.
‘The on-off rain made it pretty tricky,’ said Kimber-Smith. ‘I went out with a dark vizor so I couldn’t see the clouds coming and then going into turn one I locked the rears and spun into the gravel.
‘Fortunately we had such a strong lead so I was able to pit for intermediate tyres and not lose position. We stuck to our own game plan – we knew that if we went steady we would be up there at the end of the race.’