PORSCHE NEWS: Qualifying at Le Mans 24 Hours

09 Jun

“We made the most out of what was possible”

Stuttgart. The first step is taken with success. Porsche customer teams from all over Europe and the USA have secured good grid positions after the qualifying sessions for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports (l.-r.): Jörg Bergmeister, Lucas Luhr, Patrick Long, Seth Neiman, Spencer Pumpelly, Darren Law

The fastest Porsche driver, works pilot Marc Lieb (Germany), planted the Felbermayr 911 GT3 RSR on seventh in the GTE Pro class. Lieb competes for last year’s winning team with works drivers Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany). Four other 2011-spec 911 GT3 RSR take up the race in the GTE Pro category. In the GTE Am class, three 911 GT3 RSR from last year take off into the 79th edition of the long distance classic on Saturday at 15.00 hours from positions two, three and four.

(l.-r.): Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Wolf Henzler

“We’re satisfied with our preparations and are feeling confident for the race,” said two-time Le Mans winner Marc Lieb. “In the practice sessions, we managed to find a good set-up for our 911 for the challenges of this marathon and the very special, highly demanding race track.”

Richard Lietz, who has also notched up two wins at the world’s toughest automobile race, added:

“The handling of our 911 GT3 RSR is neutral and comfortable. This means that the car tends neither towards oversteer nor understeer. This works in favour of Marc, Wolf and I because our driving styles are similar.”

  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton

The crew of the #75 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR also finished the qualifying without problems. Porsche factory pilot Marco Holzer (Germany) clinched the ninth grid spot for the ProSpeed Competition squad.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Prospeed Competition (l.-r.): Marc Goossens, Jaap van Lagen, Marco Holzer

(l.-r.): Jaap van Lagen, Marco Holzer, Marc Goossens

“Today we worked on our race set-up,” said Holzer. “Yes, we were faster yesterday but our car was rather twitchy, and that wouldn’t have been optimal over the race distance. There are a couple of damn fast corners here in Le Mans so you need a car that you can trust. And now we have that car.”

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Prospeed Competition: Marc Goossens, Marco Holzer, Jaap van Lagen

Joining forces with the 22-year-old is Le Mans veteran Marc Goossens (Bel-gium) as well as Le Mans rookie Jaap van Lagen (Netherlands).

  Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Flying Lizard Motorsports: Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Lucas Luhr

A damaged damper and an accident threw the schedule of the Flying Lizard Motorsports into disarray.

“Because of the faulty shock absorber we worked in the wrong direction for a long time during yesterday’s practice session,” explained Porsche works driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany). “Then we lost time when a competitor spun and I couldn’t avoid him. The repairs were extensive. We decided to forget about turning an extra qualifying lap and instead we concentrated totally on finding a set-up.”

(l.-r.): Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Lucas Luhr

Bergmeister takes up the marathon on Saturday with his works driver colleague Patrick Long (USA)

Lucas Luhr

and Germany’s Lucas Luhr from 12th position in the GTE Pro class.

 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton: Nick Tandy, Abdulaziz Al Faisal, Bryce Miller

Grid position 14 went to Nick Tandy in the second 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Felbermayr-Proton. The Briton currently leads the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup series as well as the German Carrera Cup, but this marks his first race in Le Mans. His teammates are Abdulaziz Al Faisal from Saudi Arabia and Bryce Miller from the USA.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, IMSA Performance Matmut (l.-r.): Patrick Pilet, Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo

The French IMSA Performance Matmut squad had counted on a better grid position than 16th. Still, after team owner Raymond Narac’s accident during the first free practice, Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet, Narac and Le Mans newcomer Nicolas Armindo (all France) could only begin their set-up work this afternoon and therefore lag be-hind.

  (l.-r.): Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo, Patrick Pilet

In the GTE Am sports car class, Austrian Horst Felbermayr Junior qualified the 911 GT3 RSR of Proton Competition on second place. His teammates are Horst Felber-mayr Senior and team owner Christian Ried (Germany).

(l.-r.): Horst Felbermayr Sr., Christian Ried, Horst Felbermayr Jr.

Position three was snatched by Larbre Competition’s

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Larbre Competition (l.-r.): Pascal Gibon, Jean-Philippe Belloc, Christophe Bourret

all French line-up of Christophe Bourret, Pascal Gibon and Jean-Philippe Belloc.

(l.-r.): Pascal Gibon, Jean-Philippe Belloc, Christophe Bourret

Grid spot four in the GTE Am class went to Americans Seth Neiman, Darren Law and Spencer Pumpelly from the Flying Lizard Motorsports team.

(l.-r.): Spencer Pumpelly, Seth Neiman, Darren Law

Porsche’s head of motorsport, Hartmut Kristen, praised the teams’ professional preparations for the race.

“They all worked hard to find an optimal set-up. Taking the Balance of Performance into account, the teams made the most out of what was possible.”

The race gets the green light at 15.00 hours on Saturday, 11th June. Television stations Eurosport and Eurosport 2 broadcast the race alternately around the clock with 15 hours of live coverage shown on the main station, Eurosport.

Result Qualifying GTE Pro
1. Farfus/Müller/Werner (BR/D/D), BMW M3 GT, 3:57.592 minutes
2. Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander (I/I/FIN), Ferrari 458 Italia, + 0.448 seconds
3. Priaulx/Müller/Hand (GB/D/USA), BMW M3 GT, + 0.834
4. Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook (GB/DK/GB), Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, + 1,927
7. Lieb/Lietz/Henzler (D/A/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.070
9. Holzer/Goossens/van Lagen (D/B/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.370
12. Bergmeister/Long/Luhr (D/USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.432
14. Tandy/Al Faisal/Miller (GB/SAU/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR + 4.160
16. Pilet/Narac/Armindo (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 4.956

Result Qualifying GTE Am
1. Perazzini/Cioci/Breslin (I/I/D), Ferrari F430, 4:21.015 minutes
2. Ried/Felbermayr Jr./Felbermayr Sen. (D/A/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.250 seconds
3. Bourret/Gibon/Belloc (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.366
4. Neiman/Law/Pumpelly (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.636

Facts and figures

This is the Le Mans 24 Hours

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With a grid line-up of 55 vehicles, the 24 Hours of Le Mans consists of two different sports car categories: sports prototypes and modified standard sports cars. The technical regulations of the European Le Mans Series (LMS) and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) correspond to those of the 24 hour race. All race cars start to-gether in Le Mans; there is an overall classification and a classification for individual classes.

The four classes in Le Mans:
GTE Pro class: The most popular class of car manufacturers (formerly run as the GT2 class) is traditionally the best supported: Modified sports cars with up to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms.
GTE Am class: Like the GTE-Pro, but with the 2010-vehicle specifications. More-over, the regulations stipulate that each vehicle must have one professional driver at the most.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a 900 kilogram minimum weight.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes of around 440 hp, GT-class homologated engines and a 900 kg minimum weight.

SOURCE: Porsche Database

Photo Credits: Porsche AG and from Flying Lizards Motorsports Photographer Bob Chapman, Autosport Image

Porsche AG  – Public Relations and Media
Porsche AG  – Motor and Sports Press


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