Le Mans 24 Hours
Porsche teams fight for podium positions
Stuttgart. Porsche’s customer teams have an eventful night behind them. With five hours to go until the finish of one of the toughest Le Mans races in history, the teams in the GTE Pro class currently sit in positions three, four, seven and eight.
Piloting the best-placed 911 GT3 RSR are the winning trio from last year. Porsche’s factory pilots Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) fought their way through the field to now rank third thanks to the reliability of their 911, the perfect work of the drivers and the swift pit stops of the Felbermayr-Proton crew.
“I can’t remember the last time I experienced so many accidents at a Le Mans race,” said Marc Lieb, the two-time GT class winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours. “I don’t find it okay that many of the drivers are so extremely aggressive. Luckily we had no problems in the night and we are hoping for a podium finish.”
The drivers of the French IMSA Performance Matmut 911 can thank their fourth place at 10 a.m. to the fact that the night hours ran smoothly. Works driver Patrick Pilet, team owner Raymond Narac and Carrera Cup champion Nicolas Armindo (all France) all put in double stints. As planned, the brake pads were changed once.
Le Mans newcomer Armindo was surprised at the harshness of the competitors in the more powerful classes.
“Sometimes it seems we are completely invisible to them when they are lapping us,” says Armindo. “They drive as if we weren’t even there.”
After leading for quite some time, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the American Flying Lizard Motorsports team lost an excellent fourth place within striking distance of the podium six hours before the finish. Works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Long (USA) and seasoned racer Lucas Luhr (Germany) share driving duties in double stints and are doing a faultless job. However, due to a problem in the engine electrics, the 911 was forced to take an unscheduled pit stop and fell back from fourth to eighth position.
The Belgian ProSpeed Competition squad experienced a problem free start to the race only to suffer a sitback while lying in a promising fourth. A small leak in the water cooling system made repairs necessary in the early morning hours, which relegated works driver Marco Holzer (Germany), Marc Goossens (Belgium) and Jaap van Lagen (Netherlands) back down the field. Extreme bad luck plagued the second driver trio of Felbermayr-Proton. Suffering tyre damage Abdulaziz Al Faisal (Saudi Arabia) flew from the track in the fast Indianapolis corner. The Pro-911, which he shares with Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Bryce Miller (USA), was so badly damaged that the team was unable to repair it. Luckily, Al Faisal climbed out uninjured.
Contesting the GTE Am class, Horst Felbermayr Senior (Team Proton Competition) fell victim to an opponent at 8.00 a.m. when his 911 was hit hard on the driver’s side of the 911 GT3 RSR. The Austrian was transported to hospital for an examination. In the same class, a 2010-spec 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the French Larbre Competition team currently ranks second.
Facts and figures
This is the Le Mans 24 Hours
With 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 together 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. Moreover, 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 AG Media/Press Database
Public Relations and Media
Motor and Sports Press