18.06.2017 - 17h04

Porsche wins 24 Hours of Le Mans for 19th time

It was always going to be an unpredictable 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017, but few could have anticipated a race with so many twists and turns…all the way to the chequered flag.

It was always going to be unpredictable, but few could have anticipated a race with so many twists and turns…all the way to the chequered flag. 

The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans – third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship – was full of emotion, joy and disappointment, heat and drama, and it was Porsche LMP Team’s No.2 919 Hybrid which finally conquered all those sensations to take its 19th win at the world’s greatest endurance race.

  • Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber both secured their second win at Le Mans, and Brendon Hartley his first, and the double points gained for the race win see the trio move into the lead of the FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship by 11 points over the No.8 Toyota crew.
  • Porsche’s win was remarkable as the No.2 lost 65 minutes in the pits for repairs in the first quarter of the race after losing front axle drive – a problem with its front motor generator unit/hybrid system.  Once back on track, the trio of drivers set about hunting down the lead and finally moved into first place at 13h53.
  • The No.8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID was the only other LMP1 car to finish the race, after Sébastien Buemi-Anthony Davidson-Kazuki Nakajima also staged a fight back after a similar front motor problem which occurred just before the 8-hour mark.  
  • They came from almost two hours behind to finish 9th overall and 7th in the WEC points standings, setting a new fastest lap of the race (3:18.604) along the way although this was little reward for losing its previously dominant position at the head of the field.
  • Toyota’s suffered a disastrous night, losing both the No.7 and No.9 TS050 HYBRIDS within 20 minutes of each other – the first with a clutch problem and the latter following a collision with an LMP2 car.
  • Porsche’s No.1 919 was holding a strong lead over all the other competitors when André Lotterer was forced to pull over at the side of the track in the 21st hour with an engine problem.  It joined the two Toyotas and the No.4 ByKolles Racing (engine, in the first few laps of the race) in retirement.

Photo:  David Cheng on the phone with team co-owner Jackie Chan 

LMP2 comes to the forefront

  • Finishing second overall was the No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing of Ho-Pin Tung, Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis.  The British-run, Chinese-entered team was the only LMP2 team to have two finishers in the top ten – the second, No.37 entry of team owner David Cheng, Tristan Gommendy and Alex Brundle finishing 4th
  • As the team’s mechanics had worked all night on Friday before the start of the race to prepare the two ORECA 07 Gibsons with a late delivery of parts, the result was the best possible reward for their hard work and two sleepless nights.
  • It was 19-year-old Thomas Laurent’s first Le Mans, and he takes home a good haul of trophies.  Ho-Pin Tung was also the first Chinese driver to mount the top step of the Le Mans podium. The Frenchman was at the top of the timesheets for two hours after the No.1 Porsche retired, the first LMP2 car in history to lead at Le Mans.
  • Jarvis, Laurent and Tung are now 3rd in the FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship with 50 points.
  • In 3rd place was the No.13 Vaillante Rebellion of Nelson Piquet Jr, Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson – the famous French comic book character coming back to life at Le Mans with the Swiss Rebellion team.**
  • The two Vaillante entries challenged hard for the class lead in the early stages of the race, but had repeated technical and operational issues with the Nos.13 and 31, causing them to lose their 1-2 position in class and fall a lap behind the No.38 car with seven hours to go.
  • Despite fears of the new-for-2017 LMP2 cars being mechanically fragile in their first 24 Hours of Le Mans, only four of the 25 failed to finish the race.

**  In post race scrutineering, the No.13 Vaillante Rebellion was found not to conform to the regulations and was subsequently disqualified. For more, CLICK HERE

For all results and points classifications CLICK HERE  

Fiona MILLER