Porsche Posted its 19th Win in 24 Hour of Le Mans 

Porsche Posted its 19th Win in 24 Hour of Le Mans 

Porsche Posted its 19th Win in 24 Hour of Le Mans

$RACE, $F, $GM, $TM

Porsche claimed a 19th win Sunday in the 2017 24 Hour of Le Mans at the end of a race that saw all 5 of the factory LMP1 cars ran into major reliability issues.

The GTE Am class was won by the British JMW Motorsport squad. Its new Ferrari 488 GTE shared by ex-Formula 1 driver Will Stevens, Dries Vanthoor and Rob Smith finished a lap ahead of the Spirit of Race-run Ferrari driven by Marco Cioci, Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron.

The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid shared by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley came from behind to win a race that Porsche had led by a huge 13 laps at one point. Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani looked to be on course for victory when their 919 lost oil pressure and stopped on the circuit in the closing stages.

The winning car was the 1st of the factory P1s to hit problems.

A change of the motor generator unit at the front cost it more than 65 minutes in the pits before the event was 5 hours in. But in a race of attrition in which 2 of the 3 Toyota TS050 Hybrids retired, while the third lost nearly 2 hours in the pits, allowed Bernhard, Bamber and Hartley to take the chequered flag.

They had to make up the lost ground to the fastest of the LMP2 cars and Bernhard didn’t take the lead until the end of the 2nd to final hour.

“When it happened, I thought that was our chance of the victory or even the podium gone,” said Hartley. “We didn’t know what the problem was so we changed the whole front end, including the suspension, and the mechanics worked their socks off.”

Jordan Taylor was one lap from adding a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory to an incredible 2017 season that has seen him take 5 consecutive wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

But then, disaster struck the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. On the final lap, Taylor right rear tire was punctured, forcing him to surrender the lead — and the victory — in the GTE Pro class to Jonny Adam in the No. 97 Aston Martin.

Taylor limped the car home to take a third-place finish for himself and co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, behind the Aston and the UK-based No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.

“The whole race, everyone was so close and so evenly matched and Antonio had a cut tire and had to come in,” Magnussen said. “That put us behind everybody and on a different strategy than everyone else. That also meant that we would not be catching the slow zones the same as everyone else and that really started to bite us.

“So, we fell further and further back. Until we got back on the same strategy as everyone else, it was an uphill fight. But the car was good and the team worked fantastic the whole time. Antonio and Jordan drove perfect throughout the whole race. When we perform like this as a team, it’s difficult not to be disappointed with the outcome. Podium at Le Mans is pretty decent, it’s just not what we came for.”

“Our predictions were that we could get in front of the P2s, but they suggested that we wouldn’t do it until the last lap. I had mixed emotions when I saw the sister car drop out, but that’s when I knew that we were fighting for the victory.”

The No. 1 car built up a massive lead after the other P1 cars encountered problems and was the car to beat, until it lost oil pressure in the 21st hour. Lotterer tried to make it back to the pits on electrical power, but ran out of battery charge on the Mulsanne Straight.

Toyota once again had the fastest car at Le Mans. However, there was no last-gasp failure with six minutes to go like last year. The events that led to its challenge for a first Le Mans victory evaporating on Sunday morning were no less dramatic.

The No. 7 Toyota shared by pole winner Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin led for the majority of the first nine hours of the race. It then ran into clutch problems and Kobayashi’s attempts to bring the car back to the pits on electrical power failed.

Within 30 minutes, the only one of the 3 Toyotas to have not suffered a major delay was also out of the race. The No. 9 entry driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Jose Maria Lopez and Yuji Kunimoto was hit in the rear by a P2 car and sustained a broken wheel, its flailing tire subsequently damaging hydraulic and oil lines that put the car out of the race.

As rivals in the showroom and on the racetrack, Ford and Chevrolet know what it’s like to lose a tough one now and then.

 The No. 8 entry from the Japanese manufacturer was the only Toyota to see the checkered flag, but the car shared by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima lost 2 hours when it suffered MGU and battery failure. It would recover to 9th place behind seven LMP2s.

The 2 nd-placed ORECA-Gibson 07 run by the Jackie Chan DC Racing squad led overall for 2.5 hours Ultimately, though, the Porsche had the pace to close it down and relegate Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent to the runner-up spot.

They had a clean run apart from an early off from Le Mans rookie Laurent and came out on top in a battle with the two Rebellion entries. Both of the ORECA-Gibsons run by the Anglo-Swiss team encountered problems, though the #13 car shared by Nelson Piquet Jr, David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche took the final spot on the podium.

The 2nd ORECA entered under the name of Hollywood action hero Chan took fourth in the hands of team co-owner David Cheng, Alex Brundle and Tristan Gommendy. The moved ahead of the best of the two ORECAs fielded by the Signatech Alpine team in the closing stages.

6th place went to the United Autosports team co-owned by new McLaren boss Zak Brown. Their Ligier-Gibson JSP217 driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen didn’t have the pace of the ORECA, but had a clean run through the race.

The lead in GTE Pro changed on the final lap of the race when Jonny Adam moved his Aston Martin Vantage GTE past the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Jordan Taylor. The duo had run more or less nose to tail after the final round of pit stops, but an off-track excursion for Taylor at the 2nd chicane on the Mulsanne earlier on the Mulsanne Straight ultimately proved decisive.

Taylor sustained a puncture in the incident and lost out to the Aston in which Adam was joined by Darren Turner and Daniel Serra. The Corvette Racing entry that Taylor shared with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garica limped around the final lap and lost 2nd place to the Ganassi Ford GT of Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani.

The GTE Am class was won by the British JMW Motorsport squad. Its new Ferrari 488 GTE shared by ex-Formula 1 driver Will Stevens, Dries Vanthoor and Rob Smith finished a lap ahead of the Spirit of Race-run Ferrari driven by Marco Cioci, Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron.

Round 4 of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be in Germany at the Nürburgring on Sunday, 16 July.

Have a terrific week.


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