Le Mans GTE Preview: Porsche
Le Mans GTE Preview: Porsche
Michelin will have all 30 cars in the two GTE classes at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin Racing USA will take a look at all six manufacturers entered and their lineups. Here is a look at Porsche, which has four cars in GTE-Pro and six cars in GTE-Am.
Quick overview: Porsche holds nothing back in GTE for this year’s Le Mans, in a year when it celebrates 70 years of sports cars. Porsche is going all-in on GTE-Pro with four 911 RSRs. Five customer teams run six 911 RSRs in the GTE-Am class, to make Porsche the most populous manufacturer in the GTE classes.
Two retro-inspired liveries for the two FIA World Endurance Championship-entered cars are also worth noting (right, photo courtesy of Porsche). The lone all-American lineup runs a Porsche, as Patrick Long, Spencer Pumpelly and Tim Pappas share the Proton No. 99 car in partnership with Black Swan Racing.
Changes from 2017: CORE autosport makes its Le Mans debut, and supports the two Porsche GT Team U.S. entries. Gianmaria Bruni makes his first Le Mans start with Porsche, after he sat out last year’s race. Past overall winners Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber (in a Porsche), and Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas (in an Audi) are among the drivers in the two additional GTE-Pro cars.
A mix of Porsche factory drivers, Young Professionals (Campbell, Cairoli), Junior drivers (Andlauer), IMSA class champions (Nielsen, Pumpelly) and gentlemen drivers are sprinkled in among the six GTE-Am class cars.
Test day recap: Porsche led both GTE-Pro with two of its four cars, and GTE-Am with one of the Dempsey Proton cars. Five of the six GTE-Am Porsches finished in the top-10 in class.
Quotes of note: Here is a quick quote from Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Porsche President Motorsport and GT Cars:
“We had a very positive test day. In both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am class, the Porsche 911 RSR clocked the fastest time. All up, the ten Porsche 911 RSR (cars) completed a total of 613 laps. It’s particularly pleasing that there were no major incidents in the Am class. This shows that all teams are coping well with the car and that’s vital preparation for Le Mans. In the Pro class test you could see that the field is very close and the speeds reached are considerably faster than last year. Everything ran according to plan at the pre-test for the two GT teams.”
91 Gianmaria Bruni/Richard Lietz/Fred Makowiecki, Porsche GT Team
92 Michael Christensen/Kevin Estre/Laurens Vanthoor, Porsche GT Team
93 Patrick Pilet/Nick Tandy/Earl Bamber, Porsche GT Team
94 Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Sven Mueller, Porsche GT Team
56 Joerg Bergmeister/Patrick Lindsey/Egidio Perfetti, Team Project 1
77 Christian Ried/Matt Campbell/Julian Andlauer, Dempsey Proton Racing
88 Matteo Cairoli/Giorgio Roda/Khaled Al Qubaisi, Dempsey Proton Racing
86 Michael Wainwright/Ben Barker/Alex Davison, Gulf Racing
80 Christina Nielsen/Fabio Babini/Erik Maris, Ebimotors
99 Patrick Long/Spencer Pumpelly/Tim Pappas, Proton Competition
2017 GTE-PRO RESULTS
91 Richard Lietz/Fred Makowiecki/Patrick Pilet, 4th GTE Pro
92 Michael Christensen/Kevin Estre/Dirk Werner, 12th GTE Pro