Half a second was the time difference in qualifying between the first starting position and the sixth for the 2011 24 hours of Le Mans. The big story ahead of the race: Audi's R18, the car designed specifically for winning at the legendary La Sarthe circuit.

Every new prototype Audi has built has won on it's debut at Le Mans. But in the opening hours, the fan favorite trio of McNish, Kristensen, and Capello were out after a horrific accident just past the Dunlop Bridge. As the rest of the teams get into the grove and settle in as the sun sets over the French countryside, it's time to reflect back on the starting grid and opening laps.

Here's the story in photos.

Photo Credit: J.F. Musial / FastLaneDaily