PORSCHE AT LE MANS 20172017 Should be Interesting
Porsche will again fight for the crown jewels of endurance Motorsports in attempting to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for a third consecutive year. The toughest competition on track is Toyota. The Japanese manufacturer has yet to win Le Mans. In 2016, Toyota retired in a dramatic finish just minutes before the end of the race with a technical failure and in 2017 competes with three cars against the two Porsche 919 Hybrid in the top LMP1-H class.
Five overall winners in Porsche driver squad
Behind the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid with start number 1 Neel Jani (33/CH), André Lotterer (35/DE) and Nick Tandy (32/GB) will alternate. The three drivers share a combined experience of 20 Le Mans starts and five overall victories. Jani (8 starts, 1 overall victory) is the only Le Mans title defender and reigning FIA World Endurance Champion in 2017 and is also the qualifying lap record-holder at Le Mans since 2015. Lotterer (8 starts, 3 overall victories) faces his first Le Mans race with Porsche after a successful career at Audi. For the second time, Tandy competes in the LMP1 class at the Sarthe. He raced there three times in GT and celebrated Porsche’s 17th overall victory as an LMP1 rookie in 2015.
The crew of the sister car – Earl Bamber (26/NZ), Timo Bernhard (36/DE) and Brendon Hartley (27/NZ) – shares a total of 17 Le Mans participations and two overall victories. Bamber (2 starts, 1 overall victory) won in 2015 together with Tandy when he too was an LMP1 rookie. In 2016, he competed for Porsche in the GT-class. The most experienced of the trio is Bernhard: He has started Le Mans ten times, the first time in 2002 for Porsche in the GT-category – scoring a class victory on his debut. Since 2010, his name is also engraved on the trophy for an overall victory, when the Porsche works driver was loaned to Audi. Hartley (5 starts) has shared a cockpit with Bernhard since 2014 and is arguably the hungriest of them all: the big win at Le Mans has so far eluded him.
Comments before the race
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Le Mans 2017 is going to be an extremely hard race, maybe even faster than 2016”, Fritz Enzinger says in full awareness of the great contest. The Vice President LMP1 confirms: “This will not be a duel against Toyota alone. The toughest challenge at Le Mans is the race itself. You must not ever lose the respect for those 5000 kilometers covered day and night in changeable weather conditions and at speeds in excess of 330km/h while constantly overtaking and lapping competitors. There is no guarantee, things can happen at any moment. You only have a chance of winning the big trophy at Le Mans by fully preparing in advance, work flawlessly and then have an incident-free race.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “It is not just the sheer race distance that makes Le Mans the most difficult race in the world. You must pace yourself and manage resources during the entire event. It lasts over two weeks and during this time a workforce of 90 men work closely together in limited space and under great tension. They experience highs and lows together. That said on Saturday at 3pm, every single team member – whether mechanic, driver or anyone in the team – needs to be physically and mentally fresh for the race. That’s when it counts to execute all what we have learnt and practiced. We have done everything we could to be technically, and on the operational side, prepared for Le Mans. The Porsche 919 Hybrid, our strong driver line-up and the team are ready to give it everything.”