In the end, when it really counted, Porsche could not be denied its date with destiny.
The 84th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will always be remembered for its dramatic finish on June 19th 2016. Porsche took its 18th overall victory in the world’s most famous and toughest endurance race came just before the final lap as the 919 Hybrid Number 2 vehicle of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb passed the erstwhile leader Toyota that faltered with power issues. The pace at the front in the duel with the Japanese manufacturer and the many lead changes pushed everyone to the limit and beyond. Porsche took the checkered flag in front of some of the 263,000 spectators that flocked to witness the spectacle at the 13.629-kilometer Circuit de la Sarthe.
Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, witnessed it from the team’s garage: “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. We always were either in the lead or in striking distance of Toyota. We were fighting until the end and never gave up. This spirit was rewarded in the end. We have the greatest respect for Toyota.”
Later donning shirts emblazoned with “Finally 18,” the winning team shared the victory with jubilant fans and the entire Porsche brain trust and crew. With its 18th win, the Stuttgart, Germany-headquartered brand once again demonstrated its mastery of Le Mans. No manufacturer has come close to its level of success.
“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,“ said Andreas Seidl, Porsche’s team principal for LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1).
More Photos here
In 2014, Porsche first returned to compete in the highest LMP1 category after a 16-year hiatus, and lost no time reclaiming its winning form. Last year, Car Number 19 with drivers Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg, and Nick Tandy also notched a win on the famous French track.
Fittingly, this year’s victors were the first to secure the win (2014, in Brazil) for the pioneering 919 Hybrid that is a showcase of technology and performance.
Porsche reported that the car 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.”
An astounding 900hp is generated by the 919 Hybrid’s system anchored on a deceptively compact turbocharged 2.0-liter V4 and an electric motor. The system powers the composite fiber monocoque-fitted vehicle from zero to about 100 kph in 2.2 seconds, and to approximately 200 kph in 4.8 ticks.
Porsche’s winning heritage in all of motorsports is undeniable. throughout six decades of involvement, its vehicles have amassed more than 30,000 victories around the world. No other brand has managed to win the world’s toughest endurance race so many times and is connected that closely to the myth of Le Mans. The first ever overall Le Mans victory for Porsche dates back to June 14th, 1970 and was achieved by Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood in a 917 KH Coupé.
Le Mans is undoubtedly the most prestigious of all races, as it demands perfection from vehicles, drivers, and crew in order to run an excess of 5,000 kilometers at speed. The 919 Hybrid once again proves Porsche’s proficiency and expertise in developing reliable racecars while bannering breakthrough technologies. Aside from the LMP1 category, Porsche participates actively in lower LMP2 and GT classes.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans or 24 Heures du Mans is the oldest active endurance race. Organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), Le Mans has been part of the FIA World Endurance Championship since 2012.
The prestigious event also attracts celebrities who descend, along with legions of racing fans from all over the world, on the otherwise quiet and rustic city of Le Mans, which lies by the Sarthe River and is part of the Pays de la Loire Region. Since 1923, it has hosted the famous endurance race that bears its name.
Seen taking in this year’s race were Jason Statham, Jackie Chan, and Keanu Reeves. Also in attendance was avid racer and aficionado Patrick Dempsey, who himself has raced in the GTE Am class in the past. Under the Dempsey-Proton Racing banner, his 911 RSR car (with co-drivers Patrick Long and Marco Seefried) finished runner up at last year’s staging. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt wielded the starter’s flag to formally begin the action on the track.
Recently, Filipino mall goers were able to get up close to the 2015 champion 919 Hybrid Car Number 19 – on display at SM Megamall’s Fashion Mall for the Porsche Festival. Porsche Center Philippines livestreamed this year’s edition of the Le Mans competition, and also exhibited other excellent Porsche vehicles such as the new 911, Cayenne, and Macan.
See the champion Porsche 919 Hybrid in the metal when you visit the Porsche Philippines showroom located at 201 EDSA Mandaluyong City. For more information please call 09399277288.