In case you missed twenty-four hours of nailbiting action where any number of six German LMP1s could be a possible winner for the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche’s Le Mans-only trio of Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy took the win.
Porsche has been a qualifying superstar lately, but unable to translate that into a World Endurance Championship win. Not this time. Audi, in unlikely Audi fashion, kept having to pull their cars back into the garage, losing crucial time to the more reliable Porsches. Both had the speed to win, as shown by Andre Lotterer’s 3:17 record in-race lap time, which felt like an answer to Porsche breaking the qualifying lap time record this week.
#17 was the throwback to the colors of Porsche’s first winning 917 and somewhat of a fan favorite, but ultimately, it was the nod to Porsche’s future in the season-long white #19 that took the win. #17 wasn’t far behind, taking second place in front of the #7 Audi.
You can only have a third car at Le Mans (and Spa, as a run-up to Le Mans), and this two-race squad was the least likely of any of Porsche’s entries to win, but they gave Porsche that crucial first win after coming back to Le Mans last year.
KCMG took the LMP2 win, edging out fellow Nissan-powered entry of JOTA Sport for first place. Less than a lap separated the two cars at the very end of the race, so it remained close to the very end.
Corvette Racing had a brutal start to their weekend, losing the #63 car in qualifying. Their remaining #64 car, a fan favorite driven by Jordan Taylor, Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, took a decisive win in LM GTE Pro, with several full laps ahead of AF Corse.
Curiously, SMP Racing’s LM GTE Am-class Ferrari 458 was the second fastest GT car out of anyone—pros or amateurs. LM GTE Am wasn’t even a contest, with a full lap separating them from second place winner Dempsey Proton Racing. Sorry, McDreamy, but second place is phenomenal, too—especially at this carnage-heavy Le Mans.
Edit: Running on 22? hours with no sleep caught up with me, as I failed to mention that teams first whip out their third cars at the 6 Hours of Spa before Le Mans. That was not previously noted, and has been added above.
Photo credit: Rajan Jangda
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