Porsche has once again made history and won both GTE classes at the world’s toughest long distance race. In the pro-category, the Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 92 concluded the 86th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours in first place after 344 laps. The driver trio Kévin Estre (France), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and Michael Christensen (Denmark) held the lead for almost the entire distance and controlled the race on the tradition-steeped 13.626-kilometre racetrack. The works drivers crowned their flawless performance with class victory number 106 for Porsche.
The sister car (#91) shared by Richard Lietz (Austria), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Gianmaria Bruni (Italy) perfectly rounded off the double victory for Porsche in the GTE-Pro class. Frédéric Makowiecki provided a special highlight. The Frenchman fought an epic duel with a competitor for an hour and a half, fending off all attacks to claim second place. With these two triumphs at the 24-hour marathon in France, Porsche has extended its lead in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ classifications of the FIA WEC world championship.
Technical problems with the #93 nine-eleven threw the car far behind during the night. Patrick Pilet (France), Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) lost 25 minutes due to repairs and ultimately finished on eleventh.
“Unfortunately we lost precious time swapping out an alternator and we couldn’t regain that time,” commented Bamber. “But I’m really pleased for Laurens Vanthoor. We share a cockpit in the IMSA Weathertech. In two weeks, two Le Mans winners will climb into the cockpit at Watkins Glen.”
For Romain Dumas (France), Timo Bernhard and Sven Müller (both Germany), the race was over after seven hours. Their car (#94) retired in the night with suspension damage.
The #77 Porsche fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing celebrated an impressive win in the GTE-Am class. Putting in an inspired drive, Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell (Australia), Christian Ried (Germany) and Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer (France) notched up the 107th class win for Porsche. At just 18 years of age, Julien Andlauer has become the youngest class winner at Le Mans.
While the second car fielded by the Dempsey-Proton Racing team (#88) was sidelined with suspension damage, the 510 hp 911 (#99) run by Proton Competition narrowly missed out on a podium spot in fourth place. The Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 80 (Ebimotors) and 56 (Team Project 1) finished the Le Mans 24-hour marathon on sixth and seventh respectively. The vehicle campaigned by Gulf Racing (#86) was relegated to the back of the field at the beginning of the race after becoming entangled in an accident caused by another competitor. Pulling out all stops, the team fought their way back up the order to finish on tenth.
1. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 344 laps
2. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 343 laps
3. Hand/Müller/Bourdais (USA/D/F), Ford GT, 343 laps
11. Pilet/Tandy/Bamber (F/GB/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 338 laps
1. Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (D/F/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 335 laps
2. Flohr/Castellacci/Fisichella (CH/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE, 335 laps
3. Keating/Bleekemolen/Stolz (USA/NL/D), Ferrari 488 GTE, 334 laps
4. Long/Pappas/Pumpelly (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 RSR, 334 laps
6. Babini/Nielsen/Maris (I/DK/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 332 laps
7. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 332 laps
10. Wainwright/Barker/Davison (GB/GB/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR, 324 laps