LE MANS, FRANCE – It was a special day for Porsche as they claimed a 1-2 finish at the 83rd 24 Heures du Mans. The past 5 years have been tough to all but Audi who have unmercifully dominated the grueling overnight battle. The R18 e-tron LMP1 racers this year were no match for the Porsche 919, both in speed and durability. After 395 laps, the No. 19 Porsche 919 of Hulkenburg/Tandy/Bamber was at the finish line first giving Porsche its first victory since 1998, with two rookie drivers no less! Ok, rookie may not be totally adequate as Hulkenburg is a current Formula One driver.
After 9 hours, the Porsche had a firm grip on the number one position, but they knew it was still a long way to the finish. Following veteran Tandy’s overnight turn behind the wheel, the gap was considerable over the No 7 and No 9 Audis. The race was particularly competitive with the Audis and Porsches running in “qualifying trim” for much of the race. "Our goal was to have one car on the podium, but a 1-2 victory is amazing. I am very proud of what we achieved. We had a flawless race with a great pace and we didn't make any mistake. The last lap was a bit weird because it was drizzling and people got nervous in the garage. After the finish line, it is amazing to see thousands and thousands of people cheering up. I am very happy that we've done it."
The 17 Porsche 919 of Bernhard/Hartley/Webber finished one lap down, though it was the fastest car on the track in the early hours of the race. A stop and go penalty dropped them to fourth. The third Porsche 919 could only manage a 9th place finish and were struggling with braking stability early in the race. Timo Bernhard quipped " A victory would have been a dream, but now it’s a double victory, so it’s very special for the whole team.”
The Le Mans race also saw a Corvette Racing GTE-Pro victory for Corvette Racing as Gavin/Milner/Taylor piloted their C7.R to the teams first Le Mans victory since 2011. The No. 51 AP Corse Ferrari 458 Italia gave the Corvette a run for the money until a gearbox issue sent the Ferrari to the garage. "It’s almost a fairy tale story” commented Olivier Gavin, “the way it turned out. We started the week with the No. 63 having its issues and not being able to start the race. The way the team came together and led us into the race and enabled us to have this fantastic result today is amazing.”