The Porsche GT Team will take up the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position in the GTE-Pro class. The race starts today at 2:30 pm (CEST). Updates and background information on the 24 Hours of Le Mans can be found here.
It’s race day. The most traditional endurance race in the world starts at 2:30 pm (CEST).
This is the programme:
His brand colleague Michael Christensen from Denmark planted the No. 92 sister car on sixth place. In the GTE-Am category, works pilot Matt Campbell was the fastest Porsche driver. The Australian claimed the second grid spot in his class with the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing. He was only 0.056 seconds off the top time.
In the new 30-minute shootout for the best grid positions, the two Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the factory squad attacked immediately at the start. Bruni promptly turned the fastest lap, however, his time was cancelled due to him leaving the track in the area of the Porsche Curves. The Italian, who had set a lap record for GTE vehicles in 2018, did not let the stewards’ decision deter him. In his second flying lap, Bruni immediately undercut his previous top time. Teammate Christensen, however, encountered traffic and was unable to improve on his time during his final attempt towards the end of the session.
In the GTE-Am class, the young factory driver Matt Campbell planted the Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s spec on second place with a time of 3:51.322 minutes. At the wheel of Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 car, the Australian was faster in the Hyperpole than half of the GTE-Pro field. Italy’s Matteo Cairoli claimed the third grid spot in the identical No. 56 car run by the Project 1 team. Benjamin Barker from Great Britain posted the sixth quickest time in the 911 RSR fielded by Gulf Racing (No. 86).
Comments on the Hyperpole
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “That was a great qualifying. We’ve achieved pole position in the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class – with a car that has never competed on this track before. Congratulations to our customer teams. Second and third on the grid in the GTE-Am category is a tremendous result. Thanks to the team’s great work, we’re now perfectly prepared for the race. The weather forecast predicts rain. I’m sure that it’ll be an exciting and spectacular competition over 24 hours.”
Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “Pole position at Le Mans! What a fantastic debut for the Porsche 911 RSR-19 on this special racetrack. We learned a lot with every lap. Between the sessions and during the short night we analysed all the details and made precisely the right conclusions. I’d like to thank all of our drivers, engineers and mechanics. Everyone pulled together and made sure that our car is now very well sorted for the upcoming 24-hour race.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “After initial difficulties in the first practice, we completely changed the setup of our car – with success! Our 911 RSR is now significantly easier to drive. That became obvious in the qualifying and the Hyperpole. I didn’t make any mistakes in my flying lap and now I’m on pole with my teammates Richard and Fred. It’s a fantastic result for Porsche. Now we want to be just as successful in the race.”
Further comments to the hyperpole you can find in the press release.
- Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:50.874 minutes
- Calado/Pier Guidi/Serra (GB/I/BR), Ferrari 488 GTE, 3:51.115 minutes
- Sörensen/Thiim/Westbrook (DK/DK/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:51.241 minutes
- Lynn/Martin/Tincknell (GB/B/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:51.324 minutes
- Rigon/Molina/Bird (I/E/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, 3:51.515 minutes
- Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.770 minutes
- Ledogar/Negri Jr./Piovanetti (F/USA/E), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 3:51.266 minutes
- Campbell/Ried/Pera (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.322 minutes
- Perfetti/ten Voorde/Cairoli (N/NL/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.647 minutes
- Gunn/Dalla Lana/Farfus (GB/CDN/BR), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.105 minutes
- Yoluc/Eastwood/Adam (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.299 minutes
- Wainwright/Barker/Watson (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:52.346 minutes
Full results: http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com
On September 19th and 20th, Porsche will take on the challenge of the Le Mans endurance classic with vehicles finished with special liveries. The two 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team tackle the hotly contested GTE-Pro class featuring red-white and black-white liveries – to commemorate the first of 19 overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 50 years ago.
With crisp lines and shapes, the special colours of the foil wrapping resemble the digital RSR that successfully contested the virtual Le Mans race on 13-14 June. The two factory cars will carry the lettering “1970” on the front lid and the roof. In that year, Britain’s Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann from Germany clinched the first overall victory at Le Mans for the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart at the wheel of the legendary Porsche 917. On that occasion, the vehicle fielded by Porsche KG Salzburg flew the national colours of Austria. The No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR will race with the very same red-and-white paintwork. On the No. 92 sister car, black replaces the red. Of the ten 911 racing cars to line up on the grid, eight 911 RSR are campaigned by customer teams in the GTE-Am class.
The race on the 13.626-kilometre Circuit des 24 Heures is the highlight of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) every year. Contrary to the original plan, the classic, which was held for the first time in 1923, was deferred to September due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three-month postponement means different weather and light conditions. The latest generation 911 RSR runs for the first time at the world’s greatest long-distance race. The cancellation of the important pretest throws a special challenge at the Porsche GT Team, because testing is not possible on the Circuit des 24 Heures: Most of the storied racetrack in the south of the city of 150,000 consists of public roads. Under normal conditions, hundreds of trucks and cars drive over the famous Mulsanne straight on their way from Le Mans to Tours. Treacherous ruts pose special challenges, especially in the rain.
The Porsche drivers
The regular WEC drivers Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Austria’s Richard Lietz share the wheel of the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR. Like last year, they will receive support from Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki. In 2018 and 2019, the experienced trio achieved second place in the GTE-Pro class. In the identical sister car sporting the starting number 92, the reigning World Endurance Champions Michael Christensen from Denmark and Kévin Estre from France are reinforced by Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor, the defending titleholder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Two years ago, the three drivers brought home a commanding class victory at Le Mans with the 911 RSR decked out in the legendary Pink Pig design. At the 24-hour race in the northwest of France, the WEC awards double points for the individual categories. In the manufacturers’ classification, the Porsche GT Team ranks second after six of eight rounds. The reigning champions Estre/Christensen also sit second in the drivers’ category, with their team colleagues Bruni/Lietz currently in fifth place.
The Porsche customer teams
In the GTE-Am class, three experienced customer squads field a total of eight 2017-spec Porsche 911 RSR. In the cockpit of the No. 56 entry, last year’s Le Mans class-winning Project 1 team put their faith title defender Egidio Perfetti from Norway, the newly crowned champion of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Larry ten Voorde from the Netherlands and Italy’s Matteo Cairoli. The No. 57 sister car is shared by the American Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga from Brazil and Jeroen Bleekemolen from the Netherlands. The team from Lohne in Germany’s Lower Saxony will announce the driver line-up for the No. 89 car at a later date. In the No. 86 entry, Gulf Racing relies on the all-British crew of Benjamin Barker, Michael Wainwright and Andrew Watson.
Dempsey-Proton Racing fields four Porsche 911 RSR at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team owner Christian Ried (Germany) shares driving duties in the No. 77 vehicle with the Australian Porsche works driver Matt Campbell and Riccardo Pera from Italy. Manning the No. 88 sister car is the Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining from Austria, America’s Dominique Bastien and Adrien de Leener from Belgium. Proton Competition campaign the No. 78 car with drivers Horst Felbermayr Jnr. from Austria, Porsche Supercup rookie champion Max van Splunteren from the Netherlands and Michele Beretta from Italy. In the 99 entry, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak from Thailand joins forces with the Belgian Lucas Légeret and Julien Piguet from France.
The schedule (all times CEST)
Saturday, 19 September
10:30 am – 10:45 am: Warm-up
02:30 pm: Start of the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans
Sunday, 20 September
02:30 pm: Finish of the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans
Digital news and background reports on the real race action
The coronavirus situation has had a significant influence on this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 88th edition of the world’s most famous endurance race was postponed to 19/20 September and will be contested without fans at the racetrack. Journalists must also come to terms with drastically changed working conditions. Direct contact between members of the media and the Porsche GT Team as well as Porsche customer teams at the track is extremely limited.
In order to offer a direct and comprehensive flow of information as well as opportunities to speak with the works drivers of the 911 RSR and the team management under these conditions, Porsche has initiated a variety of communication channels at Le Mans. These mediums include virtual ‘Meet the Team’ events prior to the start and regular interview sessions during the race via the video conference platform Zoom. The planned meeting times are currently:
Sunday, 20 Sept., 5:00 pm: Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC)
Further interview times with the drivers and Pascal Zurlinden can be scheduled during the race with advance notice of between 30 and 60 minutes. To be included in the invitation distribution list, simply send an email to email@example.com.
A new addition is the Motorsport Media Microsite. This microsite offers news and background reports about the Porsche GT Team as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans – including the latest press releases, drivers’ background stories, a review of the 50-year anniversary of Porsche’s very first outright win at Le Mans as well as the virtual edition of the long-distance race in June. The microsite will be regularly updated and supplemented with new content. In addition to download functions for images and videos, this site also offers recordings of the individual Zoom conferences and interviews.
The Twitter account @PorscheRaces can also be accessed via the Motorsport Media Microsite. This account provides information almost in real-time on the racetrack with facts, photos and short videos. Whether it is about a driver change, tyre choice or reasons for delays: @PorscheRaces is the fastest and most reliable source for journalists and fans. Quotes and press releases are also posted here. Moreover, the channel shares tweets from the Porsche GT works drivers.
The Porsche Newsroom offers the latest news as well as background reports and covers the entire Porsche multimedia world. From here, journalists, bloggers and the online community can download press releases, photos and videos – without logging in. The associated Instagram account porsche_newsroom supplements the service with exclusive photos.
Video content from Porsche can be found on Vimeo. The Porsche Newsroom also updates its own Vimeo channel (named Porsche AG), providing the latest video news from the racetracks: The direct link: www.vimeo.com/porschenewsroom. An image and film archive as well as press information can be found on the Porsche Press database. Journalists and bloggers can register to receive press releases automatically on: press.porsche.com. Press releases, photos and videos can also be accessed without logging in.
From Formula E to GT factory and customer racing as well as Porsche’s own one-make cup series such as the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup through to the virtual Porsche TAG Heuer Esports Supercup: an overview of the sports car manufacturer’s range of racing activities is available on the Porsche Motorsport Hub, which is easy to access via motorsports.porsche.com. This content can also be accessed easily on http://www.porsche.com, http://www.facebook.com/porsche and http://www.youtube.com/user/Porsche.
TV broadcasts and live-streaming of the event
Although spectators are not permitted to travel to the 88th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours, fans can witness the long-distance classic on numerous channels. Eurosport broadcasts the entire event on the Circuit des 24 Heures across almost all of Europe. In Germany, the station airs the first two free practices as well as the qualifying session on Eurosport 2. All other sessions and the entire race can be seen on Eurosport 1. The organiser ACO and the WEC offer live streams from the 24-hour race via their official apps. The free TV channel Sport 1 televises the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, which is run as a support race to the event, live on Saturday, 19 September, from 9:15 am.
Comments before the race
Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “I’m delighted that the 24 Hours of Le Mans can be held during the coronavirus pandemic – despite the very challenging conditions. I would like to thank the ACO and WEC management who worked alongside the authorities, manufacturers and teams to make this happen. In June, we gave our fans a great show with the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans. Now the real race has arrived. I’m positive that we’ll provide our loyal fans with another exciting event – and I hope that the thousands of spectators can return to the racetrack next year.”
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “Le Mans will be completely different this year because of the lack of spectators and the heavily modified schedule. Still, I’m expecting a fantastic highlight for the fans. This year’s event is hugely significant for Porsche. Fifty years ago, Porsche’s winning streak began with the first outright victory for the 917. We commemorate that triumph with spectacular vehicle designs. Our sporting aim is clear: After our win at the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, we now set our sights on claiming Porsche’s 109th class victory with the real 911 RSR.”
Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “We’re competing under completely different circumstances. The climatic conditions in September are different compared to June. There are still some unknowns in terms of weather, temperatures, performance and tyres. We’ll use the existing data from our WEC and IMSA campaigns as well as the insights gained from testing so that we can hopefully be well sorted for the first free practice session. We’re competing for the first time with the Porsche 911 RSR-19 here. It’s not only new for us, but also for the ACO, which handles the BoP. We have complete confidence in the expertise and experience of the specialists. Remaining unchanged, however, are the two driver trios in the cockpits. This will be their third year of working together at Le Mans. That’s a strength we will build on.”
Further comments before the race you can find in the press release.
Porsche’s outright Le Mans victories
1970 – Herrmann (D) / Attwood (GB) – Porsche 917 KH
1971 – Marko (A) / Van Lennep (NL) – Porsche 917 KH
1976 – Ickx (B) / Van Lennep (NL) – Porsche 936
1977 – Ickx (B) / Haywood (USA) / Barth (D) – Porsche 936/77
1979 – Ludwig (D) / Whittington (USA) / Whittington (USA) – Porsche 935 K3
1981 – Ickx (B) / Bell (GB) – Porsche 936
1982 – Ickx (B) / Bell (GB) – Porsche 956
1983 – Schuppan (AUS) / Haywood (USA) / Holbert (USA) – Porsche 956
1984 – Pescarolo (F) / Ludwig (D) – Porsche 956
1985 – Barilla (I) / Ludwig (D) / Krages (D) – Porsche 956
1986 – Bell (GB) / Stuck (D) / Holbert (USA) – Porsche 962C
1987 – Bell (GB) / Stuck (D) / Holbert (USA) – Porsche 962C
1994 – Dalmas (F) / Haywood (USA) / Baldi (I) – Dauer Porsche 962 LM
1996 – Wurz (A) / Reuter (D) / Jones (USA) – TWR Porsche WSC-95
1997 – Kristensen (DK) / Alboreto (I) / Johansson (S) – TWR Porsche WSC-95
1998 – Aiello (F) / McNish (GB) / Ortelli (F) – Porsche 911 GT1
2015 – Bamber (NZ) / Tandy (GB) / Hülkenberg (D) – Porsche 919 Hybrid
2016 – Jani (CH) / Lieb (D) / Dumas (F) – Porsche 919 Hybrid
2017 – Bernhard (D) / Hartley (NZ) / Bamber (NZ) – Porsche 919 Hybrid