Porsche had a decisive win at the Le Mans 24-Hour race with an incredible one-two finish – its 17th overall victory at the famous race. The trophy went to the drivers of the Porsche 919 Hybrid: Earl Bamber (NZ), Nico Hülkenberg (GER) and Nick Tandy (GB). It was 45 years ago that Porsche had its first overall win at La Sarthe.
Coming in second was their sister car driven by Timo Bernhard (GER), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS). Fifth place went to the third Porsche 919 Hybrid that entered the race. Driving it were Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (GER). This victory cements Porsche’s legendary status at Le Mans as no other automaker matches its record for the most number of wins at the toughest endurance race in the world.
The last time that Porsche won was in 1998. It was also a one-two finish. In first place were drivers Allan McNish (GBR), Laurent Aiello (FRA) and Stéphane Ortelli (MC) who drove the Porsche GT1. According to Porsche AG CEO Matthias Müller, their victory is well-deserved but was something that they didn’t dream of. He praised the team for “a great job” in the past three or four years.
Meanwhile, Wolfgang Hatz, Member of Board for research and Development Porsche AG, cited its engineers and the 230 members of its team for developing the 919 Hybrid’s concept. He also applauded them for achieving this “amazing” one-two finish in what is only its second year. Porsche only went back to participating in the race last year mostly because the new efficiency regulations appealed to it.
It was at Porsche’s Research Center in Weissach that the team was able to develop what’s considered as the most innovative car of the entire grid. The Porsche 919 Hybrid has a powertrain that generates about 1,000 HP from a downsized turbo engine that’s ground-breaking coupled with two energy recovery systems.
It functions as a racing laboratory to achieve only the best efficiency levels for road-going sports cars of the future. All the systems of this very complex race car can’t help but be tested to their limits at the 83rd Le Mans 24-Hours. The competition was very tight, particularly between the Porsche 919 Hybrids and the Audi prototypes that the race entered qualifying mode two times round the clock.
The three Porsches were at the front of the grid with a one-two-three during qualifying. Making the feat more impressive is the fact that Porsche set a new qualifying record for the 13.629 kilometre long track.
The pit crew also garnered plenty of attention with their prowess, after being faster than the rest and managing a total of 90 pit stops.