Mary Ann “MeAnne” Espinosa, a sales consultant at Porsche Center Philippines, had the distinction of making it to an elite club of sales professionals for the Stuttgart-based supercar manufacturer.
Espinosa, who has worked at Porsche for three years, was recognized as one of the top 100 Porsche sales consultants worldwide and was feted via the Porsche Sales Excellence Award 2016. The winners were flown to France – first to Paris where they enjoyed pampering in a five-star hotel and a scenic tour of the city, and then onto Le Mans via land travel aboard Porsche vehicles to take in the historic 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
VIP treatment for Espinosa and the rest of the winners also included a breathtaking helicopter ride to marvel at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe from a most exclusive perch. A more comprehensive guided ground-level tour was additionally made available. Meanwhile, awardees with the compunction to speed were able to sign up for a stint aboard a go-kart, or take it slow and deliberate aboard the scenic Big Wheel for sweeping, panoramic views of the Le Mans countryside.
More exclusive privileges were extended to winners of the Porsche Challenge. These included hot laps aboard a powerful Porsche GT3 RS around the circuit, a meet-and-greet with Le Mans drivers, a tour of the 919 Hybrid’s pit box, and an incredible opportunity to do a grid walk right before the start of the world’s most famous and longest-running endurance race.
“I feel extremely proud to be the only Filipino to be recognized with this award. I’ve always taken seriously the privilege of being able to sell Porsche vehicles, and I thank my Porsche Philippines family for the opportunity and trust to do so,” said Espinosa.
As mentioned, the 100 winners of the Porsche Sales Excellence Award had a front seat to the most famous endurance race in the 24 Heures du Mans. The perfect, elusive blend of history and challenge has made it a Holy Grail in motorsports. Since 1923, the world’s oldest active sports car marathon has captivated the imagination of participants and fans alike. Le Mans has given rise to similar competitions held in locations such as Daytona, Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, and Bathurst.
Inextricably linked to the legend of Le Mans is German supercarmaker Porsche, by far the winningest marque in the hallowed race. The Stuttgart-based brand, already noted for its distinguished motorsports history spanning six decades of more than 30,000 victories, further cemented its place of honor in Le Mans by recently notching yet another triumph – upping the brand’s collection of victories there to an incredible 18.
The Number 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb took the checkered flag first in front of some 263,000 spectators that flocked to the otherwise sleepy city of Le Mans on the Sarthe River. The team registered an incredible 5,233 kilometers – 384 laps on the storied Circuit de la Sarthe, which contains a mix of closed public roads and a specialist racing circuit. Interestingly, it was the same trio that notched the maiden conquest for the 900hp Porsche prototype in 2014 in Brazil.
In achieving the Le Mans win, the 919 averaged a speed of 216.4 kph – considering that for 57 laps, the safety car was out, which limited speed to as little as 80 kph for safety reasons.
On hand to witness the feat from the team garage was Porsche AG chairman of the executive board Oliver Blume, who later said: “What happened in Le Mans is almost incomprehensible. From the first to the last lap this race was competition on the ultimate level in terms of sport and technology – and it was thrilling as well. The race asked the utmost from our cars, our drivers and the team.”
Remarkably, this year marked only the third appearance of Porsche in the top-tier LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) category since ending its 16-year hiatus in 2014. Last year, Car Number 19 with drivers Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg, and Nick Tandy secured Porsche’s 17th victory on the famous French track.
“To win Le Mans is the highlight of the season and it is difficult to believe we have managed it twice now in what is only our third year. Now we look forward. We take a lot of points from here and now we want to defend both world championship titles as well,“ maintained Andreas Seidl, Porsche’s team principal for LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1).
The 919 Hybrid embodies Porsche’s philosophy of “Intelligent Performance,” which stands for the development of innovative vehicle concepts. While pushing the envelope of performance, Porsche engineers make sure that technology is useful, practical, and makes the driving experience safer, more enjoyable, and even more environmentally sustainable. While definitely a product of high technology, the 919 Hybrid is a “result of a carefully balanced overall concept. From the combustion engine to the energy recovery systems, chassis and running gear, aerodynamics and driver ergonomics, the sum of all individual components forms an exceptionally effective unit. It all serves one goal: a maximum of sporty performance within tight fuel economy constraints.”
At the core of the vehicle is a compact 2.0-liter V4 and an electric motor, which can speed the composite fiber monocoque-fitted 919 from zero to 100 kph in 2.2 seconds, and to 200 kph in 4.8. With an effective energy recuperation system, the 919 Hybrid was able to use 2.22 kilowatts per lap. This amount of energy can supply a family home with electricity for three months.
Le Mans is part of the FIA World Endurance Championship – with double points going to Le Mans. Porsche now leads with 127 points, followed by Audi with 95 points. In the drivers’ world championship, Dumas, Jani, and Lieb now lead as well at 94 points, with a comfortable 39-point cushion.
Neil Jani expressed: “I still have no words to describe winning the 24 hours of Le Mans. This is really surreal. Still we drove a very good race with very few mistakes and pushed the car to the maximum. This win is really, really special.”
Underscoring Porsche’s continued domination of motorsports is the fact that each of its vehicles that hit everyday streets benefits from the proud heritage of success on the racetrack. Each Porsche owner inevitably realizes the gains from the veritable high-speed proving grounds wherever the vehicle races and competes.