Mission accomplished: Porsche claims historic victory at Le Mans
Porsche has claimed a historic one-two with its Porsche 919 Hybrids at Le Mans. The victory at the 83rd running of the famous 24-Hour race is Porsche’s 17th overall, and comes exactly 45 years after its first win at La Sarthe in 1970 with the famous 917.
Drivers of the winning number 19 919 Hybrid, Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg and Nick Tandy, clinched the victory at their first attempt. The trio were followed home by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber in the sister car. Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb brought home the third Porsche 919 Hybrid in fifth.
The victory mimics Porsche’s previous win (which was also a one-two) in 1998, when Allan McNish, Laurent Aiello and Stéphane Ortelli finished first in the Porsche GT1.
The rookie crew started their number 19 prototype in third place on the grid. Current Formula One driver Nico Hülkenberg, on loan from Force India, started and finished the race in the car’s hot seat, but the single seater star’s teammates, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy, both promoted to the LMP1 class by Porsche specifically for this event, put in top line performances alongside the German. The winning trio put in some blistering quick laps over the course of the 24-hour race, staying calm and focused making no errors to win on merit.
Nico Hülkenberg, who is first active F1 driver to win at Le Mans since Johnny Herbert in 1991, commented: “I enjoyed every moment, these cars are great fun to drive. The pace was really high, and not what you would expect from endurance racing. Of course, I didn’t think I would come here and rock ’n’ roll this race, this would be silly because there are so many challenges in that race. However, we did it and we did it together.”
Briton Nick Tandy added: “This is such a fantastic day. It is hard to get it to sink in that I’m now a Le Mans winner with Porsche. I could retire from racing tomorrow and look back on today and I am sure I would be happy for the rest of my life.”
Earl Bamber said: “It feels incredible. I have enjoyed every single stint. It is been a long, long day to drive in the evening and then again in the morning. I just had a very short break. But I am not tired at all – I am pumped up on adrenalin now.”
Porsche is the most successful brand at the world’s toughest endurance race.