Porsche Celebrates Le Mans Victory
Porsche is celebrating a historical GTE class victory at the world’s toughest race, the 24-Hours of Le Mans, in this its 70th year. Porsche’s No92 car, better known this year as the ‘Pink Pig’ on account of its retro 917-style livery, took victory at the 86th edition of the long distance classic having completed 344 laps.
Drivers Kévin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor and Michael Christensen held the lead for almost the entire race distance ahead of the No91 sister car shared by Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki and Gianmaria Bruni who finished second to make it a one-two finish for Porsche in the GTE-Pro class. Makowiecki, in the car wearing an equally nostalgic Rothmans-style livery, fought with a competitor for an hour and a half, fending off the attack to claim second place. As a result Porsche has extended its lead in the drivers’ and manufacturers’ classifications of the FIA WEC world championship.
Technical problems overnight for the sister No93 entry driven by Patrick Pilet, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy saw it lose 25 minutes due to repairs, the car ultimately finished in eleventh spot. The No94 car suffered an even more difficult race, Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Sven Müller saw their race end after just seven hours, retiring during the night with suspension damage.
In the GTE-Am category, the No77 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing celebrated an impressive win, Porsche Young Professional Matt Campbell, Christian Ried and Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer notched up the 107th class win for Porsche. At just 18 years of age, Andlauer has become the youngest class winner at Le Mans. The second Dempsey-Proton Racing team car, No88, was sidelined with suspension damage, the No99 car of Proton Competition narrowly missed out on a podium spot in fourth place. The No80 Ebimotors and 56 Team Project 1 cars finished in sixth and seventh respectively. The No86 Gulf Racing 911 battled from the back of the order to finish in tenth.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Vice President Motorsport and GT Cars commented after the race: “It’s a sensation. What a crazy fight out there on the track and a flawless performance from the team. That was an incredible feat, which we ultimately turned into a deserved victory. The class wins are a perfect gift for our 70th anniversary. The fact that we earned maximum points towards the world championship rounds off the whole result. Now the suspense has turned to joy.”
Kévin Estre said: “It’s simply unbelievable. I just can’t describe my feelings. Today is the best day of my life. We have won the world’s most difficult and wonderful race. That can’t be put into words.”