It’s always been like this with motorsport. One team gets on a roll and they keep winning and winning and winning. So after years of witnessing Audi dominating the LMP1 class at Le Mans 24 hours we are now in a new Porsche era where the 919 Hybrid is the king. The car just snatched the title for the 2017 edition of the race, bringing Porsche’s total wins up to 19.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 that brought home the latest victory was piloted by Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) and it do so shedding copious amounts of blood and sweat. This victory was well deserved, nothing like those big Audis few years back that just cruised along and won with a big margin. This 919 got through by the skin of its teeth. The car had no front axle drive anymore, was repaired for 1.05 hours and rejoined the race 18 laps behind, turning a 56th position into overall victory.
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Michael Steiner, Board Member Research and Development, Porsche AG: “The ‘triple’ in Le Mans is a dream come true for Porsche and the way this third consecutive win happened is very special. I’m proud of the Porsche Team that kept fighting despite the long stop for repairs. This success also came about thanks to strong E performance and innovative hybrid technology.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “One of our ambitious targets for the 2017 season was to achieve a hat-trick at Le Mans. But what we have gone through over the past 24 hours, you could not imagine in your wildest dreams. This 24-hour race just pushed everything and everyone to the limit. It is unbelievable what you can achieve in a focussed team effort. Sometimes it is not the fastest car but the best team performance that makes the difference. This team is the best of all and made today’s success possible. The reaction from everywhere is overwhelming – from Porsche employees and also around the world. Personally I can only say thank you to Porsche for putting me in the position to set up such a great programme and thanks to every single team member for the total support and the great team spirit.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “It’s hard to find words for what happened. The drivers and the entire team have done an amazing job. We can put two tough weeks behind us that provided some highs and lows but we fought with typical Porsche spirit. It will take some time for what we have achieved today to sink in. We’ve now won Le Mans three times in a row which is just sensational. The team worked relentlessly for this over the past twelve months. Toyota was a very strong competitor. They pushed us to the limits and beyond and we both paid the price. It is a sad that Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy retired from the race because they controlled it for a long time. But Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and especially Timo Bernhard deserved to take the race win. Timo was the development driver right from the beginning of the programme. After the long repairs, the three of them kept fighting and were ultimately rewarded.”