Porsche wins final GTE-Pro race at 24 hours of Le Mans
Porsche has won the GTE-Pro class at the ninetieth 24 Hours of Le Mans. Works drivers, Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki crossed the finish line in first place after a gripping race lasting more than 350 laps. Additionally, at the wheel of the no.91 991 RSR, the trio set a new distance record for GTE race cars, clocking in 2,963.32 miles.
The no.92 sister RSR, driven by Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor, wrapped up the long-distance classic in fourth place. “The Porsche GT Team has upheld our great tradition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans today. This success makes me very proud,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG. “A big thank you to the team, the drivers and everyone else who contributed their expertise and passion to make this 109th class victory possible for Porsche.”
Watched by large crowds, the race took off at Circuit de la Sarthe in searingly hot summer temperatures. With the track registering in excess of 40°C, the pair of works RSRs initially moved into positions three and four and remained within striking distance of the leaders. This position is worth noting: the Corvette works team was favourite for a one-two in the GTE-Pro class, with AF Corse looking good for the final podium place with one of its Ferrari 488 GTE Evo entries. Corvette’s hopes of scoring the win were destroyed, however, when the no.63 C8.R was retired with suspension damage after 214 laps and, dramatically, the team’s remaining entry was sideswiped by an AF Corse Oreca 07 LMP2 car driven by Francois Perrodo six hours from race end.
By this time, the works RSRs were well behind the leaders, but when cooler temperatures set in, the Porsches managed to make the best use of their tyres over large stretches of the race, though a blow was dealt to the no.91 RSR when Makowiecki was handed a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits. Punishment served, the car then covered the remainder of the race without further incident, benefiting from Corvette’s bad luck, as well as the ill-fortune of the AF Corse Ferraris, which had a clear twenty-second lead on the no.91 Porsche before unscheduled pit stops for the Prancing Horses meant the 991 RSR took the flag with a completely unexpected lead of 42.684 seconds. “What we witnessed was a classic long-distance race. Those who experience the least number of incidents end up on top of the podium. Today, it was our no.91 RSR,” concluded Alexander Stehlig, Porsche’s Director of Factory Motorsport for FIA WEC. “I’m delighted for the victorious crew. The no.92 car had bad luck with a puncture, but the team never gave up. Their fourth place finish earns us many important points in the World Endurance Championship.”
Double points were awarded at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which serves as the third round of the WEC. Consequently, Porsche has extended its lead in the manufacturer’s standings. Bruni and Lietz have moved into the lead of the driver’s standings. Round four of the season will be contested on Sunday 10th July at the Formula One circuit in Monza, Italy.
THE CORVETTE WORKS TEAM WAS FAVOURITE FOR A ONE-TWO IN THE GTE-PRO CLASS