Porsche Wins Le Mans
Porsche Wins Le Mans
Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a record 17th time, scoring its first overall victory since 1998. The No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Earl Bamber, Nico Hulkenberg, and Nick Tandy completed 395 laps (3,346 miles) on the immense 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. It was a one-two finish for Porsche as the victorious Porsche finished a lap ahead of its No. 17 Porsche stablemate driven by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber. The No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro team of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer was denied a repeat victory at Le Mans, finishing third today with 393 laps.
With today’s victory, the Porsche 919 Hybrid has joined the pantheon of Porsche Le Mans winners that includes the iconic 917, 935, 936, 956, 962, and 911 GT1 models. The victory also marked Michelin’s 24th overall win in the world’s greatest sports car race.
The speed of the Porsche Hybrids was never in doubt after the 919s swept the top three spots in qualifying. Today’s result answered any questions about the Porsches’ reliability as the winning car had a flawless run for 24 hours.
The winning No. 19 took the lead at 6:27 in the morning, and held it to the finish more than 8 1/2 hours later. The Hybrid’s advanced powertrain reliably produced more than 900 horsepower with a combination of a 2.0-liter turbocharged V4 engine, a thermal energy recovery system, lithium-ion battery, and a motor-generator unit on the front wheels. This ultra-efficient package propelled the 919 Hybrid to lap times in the race that were faster than last year’s pole-winning time – while respecting the strict fuel consumption standards mandated by the rules.
Porsche’s chief rival for the overall victory was perennial Le Mans champion Audi Sport Team Joest. The Audis had the speed to compete, leading 13 times and setting the record for the fastest race lap four times in the race. Andre Lotterer finally set the mark at 3:17.476 on the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro’s 337th lap around of the immense Le Mans circuit. In the end, the Audis were undone by the pace of the Porsches and a series of mishaps and penalties that cost precious time in the pit lane.
The No. 2 Toyota TS040 Hybrid was the “best of the rest” in sixth place at the finish. Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin, and Alex Wurz completed 387 laps, finishing eight laps behind the winning Porsche.
Racing without the advantage of a hybrid powertrain, Rebellion Racing’s R-One prototypes finished ninth and tenth, and the Team Bykolles CLM prototype was 11th. Nissan’s trio of unconventional Nissan GTR LM NISMOs brought up the rear in the LMP1 class in their competition debut – which effectively was an extended test session.
The No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05-Nissan was the class of the LMP2 field, dominating the category from start to finish. Drivers Richard Bradley, Matthew Howson, and Nicolas Lapierre completed 358 laps, finishing 48 seconds ahead of the No. 38 Gibson 015S of Simon Dolan, Mitch Evans, and Oliver Turvey.
The 83rd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was expected to be battle of the German giants. In the end, it was another record-setting performance by Porsche.