An ageless classic: The 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours is coming up on 18/19 June as round three of the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC. On the legendary Circuit des 24 Heures, 60 cars and 180 drivers will compete. As the most successful manufacturer in the history of the prestigious long distance classic, Porsche is again represented by a large contingent. In the strongly supported GT classes, a total of seven 911 RSR tackle the world’s toughest automobile race: The Porsche Motorsport factory squad fields two 911 RSR with the overall Le Mans winners Earl Bamber (New Zealand) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and with five nine-eleven contenders campaigned by customer teams. With the two 919 Hybrid in the LMP1 class, Porsche is represented at Le Mans by total of nine vehicles and 16 works drivers.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is legendary. In the list of winners, the best racing drivers in the world have been immortalized. Even Hollywood has honoured the prestigious long distance race in the French province: The 1970 film “Le Mans” featuring Steve McQueen in the lead role is regarded as one of the best racing movies of all time. The race, run for the first time in 1923, is not only famous around the world for the 13.629-kilometre Circuit des 24 Heures with its combination of racetrack and normal national roads as well as its legendary corners like Mulsanne and Tertre Rouge. The almost five-kilometre-long Mulsanne straight also sets this racetrack apart.
The Porsche drivers
Six Porsche works drivers contest the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans for the Porsche Motorsport factory squad. Sharing the cockpit of the #91 Porsche 911 RSR are Nick Tandy and reigning IMSA GT champion Patrick Pilet (France) with Kévin Estre (France). The sister 911 RSR with the starting number 92 has an equally strong line-up. Earl Bamber shares driving duties with Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France). With 14 starts until now, Jörg Bergmeister has the most experience as a Porsche GT pilot at Le Mans. Taking up the race in the 911 RSR run by the Dempsey Proton Racing customer team is Richard Lietz (Austria), the WEC winner of the FIA World Endurance Trophy in 2015 as the best GT pilot, and his works driver colleague Michael Christensen (Denmark), with whom he contests the entire WEC season. Supporting them as the third driver is Philipp Eng (Austria), the 2015 winner of both the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland. This will be Eng’s cameo appearance at Le Mans, where traditionally double points are awarded towards the WEC championship. In the GTE-Am class, four other customer teams and two Porsche works drivers race the Porsche 911 RSR: Abu Dhabi Proton Racing with Patrick Long (USA) and KCMG with Wolf Henzler (Germany), as well as Gulf Racing and Proton Competition.
The Porsche 911 RSR
As the fastest ever nine-eleven, the Porsche 911 RSR crowned its maiden 2013 season with a double victory at Le Mans. The racer is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car at Porsche Motorsport in Weissach and in addition to Le Mans it also won the American long distance classics at Daytona, Sebring and the Petit Le Mans. The winning racer, which is characterised by an uncompromising lightweight design, received modifications for 2016, particularly to the aerodynamics. The position of the rear wing was moved further to the back, with the rear diffuser now considerably larger. Moreover, the 911 RSR received a modified front spoiler lip as well as wide side sills.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway on Saturday, 18 June, at 15.00 hours CEST. Free practice is held on Wednesday from 16.00 to 20.00 hrs, followed by the first qualifying session from 22.00 hrs to midnight. Two more qualifying sessions follow on Thursday, 16 June, from 19.00 to 21.00 hrs and from 22.00 hrs to midnight. The warm-up is scheduled for Saturday from 09.00 to 10.00 hours.
Live on TV
Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2 broadcast the entire race live. Free practice as well as the three qualifying sessions will also be televised live. In addition, the “24 Minutes of Le Mans” magazine provides the latest news and interviews from the track during the entire race week. Eurosport’s detailed TV schedule for Le Mans is available on www.eurosport.com.
Porsche Press Release