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Le Mans Series, rd 5 in Estoril/Portugal, race report: Porsche teams claim podium spots, win with championship

Richard Lietz (l), Marc Lieb (r)

Stuttgart. That was close. Just 0.183 seconds separated Porsche’s works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) in the 911 GT3 RSR from their first win of the season.

Patrick Pilet (l), Wolf Henzler (r)

At the final round of the Le Mans Series, the title defenders celebrated their best result of the year clinching second at Estoril in the GTE Pro sports car category. Factory pilots Wolf Henzler (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) were delighted with their best result of the season in third place. And there was wild elation in the GTE Am class in which just one professional driver may compete per vehicle.

Raymond Narac (l), Franck Rava (m), Nicolas Armindo (r)

Frenchmen Nicolas Armindo and Raymond Narac crowned their season with another victory with the 2010-spec 911 GT3 RSR, and took home the drivers’ championship title.

Marc Lieb (r)

“It was a really great race,” said Marc Lieb. “As expected, there was a very close fight between us and Ferrari. Our 911 remained consistent over the entire six hours. Richard, the team and I gave our very best. We fought to the flag. During the last pit stop, Richard experienced a bit of bad luck when he encountered traffic. That cost us the decisive seconds and handed the lead to the Ferrari.”

Taking up the race from fourth, Richard Lietz managed to move into second position after almost an hour.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz

Lap for lap, Lieb and Lietz then reeled in the front-runner. It was Lietz who finally closed the gap during his second stint – and the Felbermayr-Proton pit crew played their hand in the success: Their eight-second faster pit stop catapulted Lieb into the lead with the 911 GT3 RSR. Trying to defend this, however, was no easy task. Lieb could fend off his pursuers, but not really shake them. The Felbermayr-Proton squad’s last pit stop also worked perfectly, but back on the track Lietz hit traffic – and the Ferrari snatched back the lead. Although Lietz stuck like glue to the bumper of the leader he wasn’t able to overtake on the narrow circuit.

“The last phase was sensational,” Richard Lietz said. “In the last lap we were panel to panel twice and touched several times. But there was no way I could pass without crossing the line of fairness. When you have victory in sight and are beaten by such a close margin, well, your joy over second place is somewhat overshadowed.”

After winning the drivers’ championship in the last two years, the pair finished the season in third.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz

For works drivers Wolf Henzler and Patrick Pilet, who contest the GTE-Pro class for the IMSA Performance Matmut team, the race was no less exciting. Start driver Pilet took an early lead before having to relinquish it after five laps. Suffering problems with the nut gun at two pit stops, the German/French duo fell back to third place. “Holding on to third took a huge effort,” said both Henzler and Pilet.

“We tried out all variations of set-up possibilities,” explained Henzler. “But we simply didn’t manage to find a decent balance. With fresh tyres we could easily hold the pace, but after a couple of laps the 911 become difficult to drive. And we lost a lot of time in the pits. This is something we have to work on.” Pilet added: “But this makes it all the more wonderful that, despite everything, we claimed out first podium result. We’re happy.”

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, IMSA Performance Matmut, Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo

For IMSA Performance Matmut, there were two reasons to celebrate at the finale. Aside from third place for the GTE Pro pilots, there were joyous celebrations over the race victory and win of the championship title in the GTE Am class. This marks the first international title for the team based in the northern French town of Rouen. The reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland, Nicolas Armindo, and team owner and amateur racer Raymond Narac, yielded the brilliant balance of four wins from five races. As stipulated by the regulations, the pair competed with the 2010 version of the 911 GT3 RSR. The squad also secured the team championship title which serves as an entrance ticket to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012.

Nicolas Armindo

“I simply can’t express how happy I am,” said Armindo with a wide grin. “At the beginning of the season everything was new for me. But thanks to my team I quickly found my feet in this new environment and it didn’t take me long at all to get familiar with the 911 GT3 RSR. It makes me proud that in my first year of LMS I can contribute to bringing home the championship trophy for this warm and wonderful team.”

Christian Ried

Felbermayr-Proton team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and Austria’s Horst Felbermayr Junior were also pleased. The winners of the season-opener in Le Castellet concluded the year with a podium result in the GTE Am class.

Marc Goossens

For the third Porsche team contesting the GTE-Pro class with works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and Marc Goossens (Belgium), the race came to a premature end in lap one when an opponent crashed into the right front wheel of their ProSpeed Competition 911 – broke the steering gear and knocked them out of contention.

 

“It is such a shame that the season ends like this,” said Marco Holzer. “We’d qualified a decent fourth yesterday and thought our chances for second in the GTE Pro classification looked good. Unfortunately the overzealous move of a competitor robbed us of this chance. For our team, who had worked so incredibly hard, this was a particularly bitter conclusion to the year.”

 

Marco Holzer and Patrick Pilet

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Statistics: 5th of 5 rounds of the Le Mans Series in Estoril/Portugal

Result GTE Pro class
1. Bell/Walker (GB/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 209 laps
2. Lieb/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 0.183 seconds behind
3. Henzler/Pilet (D/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 207
4. Melo/Vilander (BR/FIN), Ferrari F458 Italia, 206
5. Hancock/Dolan (GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 204
6. Rodrigues/Ballay/Ayari (P/F/F), Ferrari F458 Italia, 197
7. Farnbacher/Simonsen (D/DK), Ferrari F458 Italia, 99

Result GTE Am class
1. Armindo/Narac (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 205 laps
2. Hummel/Christodoulou/Quaife (NL/GB/GB), Ferrari F430, 203
3. Ried/Felbermayr Jr. (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 202

The Le Mans Series

Contested for the first time in 2004, the Le Mans Series (LMS) is open for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations are based on those of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Five six-hour races are contested this season throughout Europe.

GTE Pro class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers (previously known as the GT2 class) is traditionally the best supported: Modified standard sports cars with up to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms.
GTE-Am class: Like the GTE-Pro, but with 2010-vehicle specifications. Moreover, the regulations stipulate that each vehicle may have just one professional driver.
LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kg.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp, GT-class homologated engines and a 900 kg minimum weight.
FLM class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

All race cars start together but are classified separately according to the class. Points are only allocated for placings in each class. Championship titles are awarded for drivers, manufacturers and teams in all five classes. With four title wins in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010,

Porsche works driver Marc Lieb is the most successful pilot in the series.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database

 

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Le Mans Series, rd 5 in Estoril/Portugal – 2nd grid row in the hands of Porsche teams

Richard Lietz (Austria)

Stuttgart. The Porsche works drivers start the final race of the Le Mans Series season from promising positions.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz

Posting grid position three, title defender Richard Lietz (Austria) clinched the best result of the season with the 911 GT3 RSR in the GTE Pro sports car category.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz

On the fourth spot, Marco Holzer (Germany) takes up the six hour race alongside Lietz on the 4.182 kilometre former Grand Prix circuit of Estoril.

Marco Holzer (Germany)

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, ProSpeed Competition, Marco Holzer, Marc Goossens

Patrick Pilet (France) rounds off the good result with position six on the grid. In the GTE Am class, Frenchman Nicolas Armindo again set pole position with the 2010-version of the 911 GT3 RSR.

Patrick Pilet (France)

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, IMSA Performance Matmut, Wolf Henzler (l), Patrick Pilet (r)

Wolf Henzler (l)

Frenchman Nicolas Armindo

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, IMSA Performance Matmut, Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, IMSA Performance Matmut, Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo

“We gave our best and are really pleased with third on the grid,” said Lietz who last year secured the championship title in the sports car class with his Felbermayr-Proton teammate Marc Lieb (Germany). “My lap was good, third on the grid is the best result of the season by now. Above all, we’re thrilled that our times are so close to the leaders. Now let’s see what the race yields for us.”

After a difficult start to the season with two crashes that were not their fault, the luck of the title defenders finally turned recently in Silverstone with their first podium position.

After competing last year as a Porsche Junior, 23-year-old factory pilot Marco Holzer was delighted with his fourth grid spot.

“That was a great qualifying session,” commented Holzer, who joins forces for ProSpeed Competition with Belgium’s Marc Goossens.

“We missed out on the first free practice because we had to change something on our gearbox. Hence we were behind with our set-up work. But this makes our second row position even sweeter. In fact, we’ve never started so far up the front of the field this season. And we’re also hoping to further improve the handling of our 911 during the warm-up tomorrow and then the race should go well. The track is challenging but I really like it.”

The French factory pilot Patrick Pilet also seemed satisfied.

Patrick Pilet

“Sixth on the grid is okay,” stated Pilet, who shares driving duties for IMSA Performance Matmut with works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany).

“Our car was rather difficult to drive in the practice sessions, so we tried out something very new in the qualifying but that didn’t work. Now we have some things to sort out during the warm-up. And then comes the race that will undoubtedly be very exciting on this somewhat narrow circuit.”

Wolf Henzler

Nicolas Armindo secured another point in the fight for the championship with his fourth pole position of the season in the GTE Am class. In this category, only one professional driver is permitted per vehicle.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, IMSA Performance Matmut, Patrick Pilet, Wolf Henzler

The reigning champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland drives with the team owner IMSA Performance Matmut, amateur racer Raymond Narac. In compliance with the regulations, the two Frenchmen compete with a 2010-spec 911 GT3 RSR.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton, Horst Felbermayr Jr. (l), Christian Ried (r)

The pair takes up the final round with an eleven point lead over their closest rival. Felbermayr-Proton’s team owner Christian Ried (Germany) and Horst Felbermayr Junior (Austria) head into tomorrow’s race from fourth in the GTE Am class.

Christian Ried (Germany)

Horst Felbermayr Junior (Austria)

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Qualifying result
GTE Pro class
1. Rob Bell (GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 1:39.176 minutes
2. Gianmaria Bruni (I), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.057 seconds
3. Richard Lietz (A), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.198
4. Marco Holzer (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.350
5. Dominik Farnbacher (D), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 0.573
6. Patrick Pilet (F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 0.788
7. Jamie Melo (BR), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.214

GTE Am class
1. Nicolas Armindo (F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:40.014 minutes
2. Marco Cioci (I), Ferrari F430, + 0.544 seconds
3. Phil Quaife (GB), Ferrari F430, + 0.763
4. Christian Ried (D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.093

The six hour race starts on Sunday, 25 September, at 13.00 hours local time (CEST 14.00 hours).

The Le Mans Series

Contested for the first time in 2004, the Le Mans Series (LMS) is open for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations are based on those of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Five six-hour races are contested this season throughout Europe.

GTE-Pro class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers (previously known as the GT2 class) is traditionally the best supported: Modified standard 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 minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp, GT-class homologated engines and a 900 kg minimum weight.
FLM class: Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

All race cars start together but are classified separately according to the class. Points are only allocated for placings in each class. Championship titles are awarded for drivers, manufacturers and teams in all five classes.

Claiming four titles in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, Porsche works driver Marc Lieb is the most successful pilot in the series.

Marc Lieb (r)

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database 

 

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Porsche pilots keen to improve ranking in the championship – 6 Hr race Imola/Italien – Le Mans Series on 3 July

Le Mans Series, round 3 / Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, round 4 in Imola/Italien

Porsche pilots keen to improve ranking in the championship

Stuttgart. For the first time, the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola hosts a round of the Le Mans Series on 3 July.

As one of the six Porsche teams contesting the GTE Pro sports car class, title defenders Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria) are determined to climb to the top of the podium.

Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria)

The Porsche factory pilots contest the race, which is also classified as a round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by the Felbermayr-Proton team.

The race

The six hour race in Imola is new on the calendar of the Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

The circuit

The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari is situated between Bologna and Ravenna and is mostly known by race fans for its famous corners like Tamburello, Rivazza and Acque Minerali. On the 4.933 kilometre Formula 1 circuit, the Grand Prix of San Marino was contested until 2006.

The Porsche drivers

Aside from the title defenders Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, three other Porsche works drivers contest the GTE Pro class with the latest Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

Wolf Henzler (Germany) shares driving duties with Patrick Pilet (France) for the IMSA Performance Matmut team,

Patrick Pilet (France) and Wolf Henzler (Germany)

with Marco Holzer (Germany) driving for ProSpeed Competition. His team mate is Belgian Marc Goossens.

Marco Holzer (Germany) and Marc Goossens.

Three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the 2010 specification start in the GTE Am class, where only one professional race driver is permitted per car.

In the Proton Competition cockpit is Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA),

Patrick Long (USA)

as well as Porsche Cup winner Gianluca Roda (Italy)

Gianluca Roda (Italy)

and team owner Christian Ried (Germany).

Christian Ried (Germany)

The 911 GT3 RSR fielded by IMSA Performance Matmut is manned by Frenchmen Raymond Narac and Nicolas Armindo, the overall winner of the 2010 Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland.

At the wheel of the sister 911 GT3 RSR of Felbermayr-Proton, Horst Felbermayr Junioris confirmed as a driver.

Quotes before the race

Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport:

“It’s no secret that we’re very unhappy about the imbalance through the Balance of Performance. Particularly for the Proton team, preparing for the Imola race was very tough because they had to get two cars running after they were virtually destroyed in Le Mans. You can only have the greatest respect for the team’s efforts and the will to fight.”

Marc Lieb:

“We haven’t started the season as we had imagined. So that makes us even more determined to try to make the most of our chances in Imola. We are eager to show that we are in a position to fight at the top. With a good set-up and the right strategy we should manage this.”

Richard Lietz:

“With 50 competitors it’ll be very tight, but maybe we can use that to our advantage. In any case, we’re going to attack and try to get ahead. It’ll certainly be six very interesting hours.”

Wolf Henzler:

“After the first two races didn’t go so well for us we’re hoping to finally make a breakthrough in Imola and bring home a good result. We’re aiming for the podium. The team is incredibly motivated and working hard. It’s time that these efforts were rewarded with a good result.”

Marco Holzer:

“I can’t wait for the Imola race. I’ve never driven there before, only tested. Imola is a gorgeous circuit. For us the focus is on doing our best, bringing home points and improving our position in the championship.”

Patrick Pilet:

“I know this track and it’s not easy. The long straights make it necessary to find a good set-up compromise between high speed and decent handling.”

Patrick Long:

“To drive in Imola straight after the 24 hour race on the Nürburgring is an extremely interesting challenge. I’m looking forward to it and hope to assist my team mates to secure a good result and as many points as possible.”

The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR

The most successful GT race car of 2010 competes this season with some improvements. The output of the four-litre, six-cylinder boxer engine has increased to 455 hp (335 kW). Priority in the further developments was given predominantly to the newly-designed aerodynamics at the front and rear.

The schedule

The six hour race takes off on Sunday, 3 July, at midday. The qualifying session for the GTE classes takes place on Saturday from 13.55 to 14.15 hours.

TV tip

Eurosport 2 broadcasts the beginning of the race on Sunday from 12.00 to 13.00 hours and the final two hours live.

The Le Mans Series

Contested for the first time in 2004, the Le Mans Series (LMS) is open for sports prototypes and GT vehicles. The regulations are based on those of the Le Mans 24 hour race. Five six-hour races are contested this season throughout Europe.

GTE-Pro class: This most popular class amongst car manufacturers (previously known as the GT2 class) is traditionally the best supported: Slightly modified standard 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 750 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.

LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with ca. 440 hp, GT-class homologated engines and a 825 kg minimum weight.

FLM class:Prototype brand trophy series for the ORECA FLM 09.

All race cars start together but are classified separately according to the class. Points are only allocated for placings in each class. Championship titles are awarded for drivers, manufacturers and teams in all five classes. Claiming the title in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010, Porsche works driver Marc Lieb is the most successful pilot in the series.

SOURCE: Porsche Press Media Database 

Public Relations and Media
Motor and Sports Press

 

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PORSCHE NEWS: Le Mans 24 Hours, race report: Four Porsche 911 GT3 RSR amongst the top eight

Le Mans 24 Hours

Four Porsche 911 GT3 RSR amongst the top eight

Stuttgart. Last year’s winners narrowly missed out on the podium at the 79th running of the long distance classic.

Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, Team Felbermayr-Proton: Richard Lietz, Marc Lieb, Wolf Henzler

After 24 hours, the Felbermayr-Proton team with Porsche works drivers

Marc Lieb (Germany),

Richard Lietz (Austria)

and Wolf Henzler (Germany) received the flag as fourth in the GTE Pro sports car class.

The French IMSA Performance Matmut squad clinched fifth place ahead of Flying Lizard Motorsports from the USA.

The 911 of the Belgian ProSpeed Competition team crossed the finish line

at the Le Mans 24 Hours in eighth.

In the GTE Am class, where only one professional race driver is permitted per vehicle and only last year’s vehicles are eligible to race, the French Larbre Competition team celebrated second place with the 911 GT3 RSR.

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

Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport:

“All of our teams took off into the race well prepared. Under the most difficult circumstances, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR proved to be enormously durable and reliable. Unfortunately our teams had to cope with two accidents. You could clearly see the performance differences that are a direct result of the current Balance of Performance ratings. Unfortunately the fastest 911 GT3 RSR were affected by the phenomenon that they couldn’t turn the number of laps per set of tyres that were calculated which meant some extra pit stops for tyre changes. Under these conditions we can be satisfied with the results – especially in the GTE Am class where our team claimed a spot on the podium. I congratulate all the teams, drivers and partners who have contributed to this good result.”

Like in 2010, the best-placed Porsche crew put in a brilliant drive with high reliability in all areas. Drivers Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Wolf Henzler drove an immaculate race that was punctuated by many accidents and safety car phases. Only in the early stages of the race, the team lost more than one lap, first at the red light on the exit of the pitlane, then due to tyre damage which also required repairs to the car body.

Other than that, the blue 911 GT3 RSR only came into the pits for tyre changes and refuelling. Under the leadership of team boss Christian Ried, the pit crew of the Felbermayr-Proton team again shone with very fast pit stops.

Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet (France) also lost time in the jam at the red light of the pitlane exit. Shortly before midnight, Pilet and his driver colleagues, team owner Raymond Narac and his French compatriot Nicolas Armindo were ranking eighth in the GTE Pro class.

With consistent lap times and a perfectly-running 911, the trio with the two seasoned Le Mans campaigners Pilet and Narac and the 24 hour rookie Armindo fought their way up to fifth place.

The pilots of Flying Lizard Motorsports can look back on a lively marathon.

In the opening phase of the race, the set-up was not perfect, and they also had to contend with tyre damage. For a while, works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) as well as Lucas Luhr (Germany) held a promising fourth place, only to fall back to eighth with technical problems.

After a difficult race, the trio were satisfied to finally bring home sixth place.

Fight to the finish – that was also the motto of the Belgian squad.

Works driver Marco Holzer (Germany), Belgium’s Marc Goossens and Jaap van Lagen from the Netherlands had all but worked their way nearly into the lead after the first third of the race but finally finished in eighth place after losing time with two minor repair stops.

The untiring mechanics of ProSpeed Competition received a very special honour:

They won the “Prix ESCRA”, an award that has been endowed for the 36th time to the best pit crew of the entire race.

In the GTE Am category, Larbre Competition were thrilled with second place in a 2010-spec 911 manned by the all-French line up of Christophe Bourret, Pascal Gibon und Jean-Philippe Belloc.

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

Two 911 GT3 RSR retired after accidents that were not their fault. One of those affected was the sister car of Felbermayr-Proton. Suffering tyre damage Abdulaziz Al Faisal (Saudi Arabia) flew from the track in the fast Indianapolis corner.

Al Faisal

Luckily, Al Faisal climbed out uninjured, but the Pro-911, which he shared with Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Bryce Miller (USA), was so badly damaged that the team was unable to repair it.

Horst Felbermayr Senior (Team Proton Competition)

Contesting the GTE Am class, Horst Felbermayr Senior (Team Proton Competition) fell victim to an opponent at 8.00 a.m. when his 911 GT3 RSR was hit hard on the driver’s side.The Austrian was transported to hospital for a medical examination.

Result Le Mans 24 Hours
GTE Pro class
1. Garcia/Milner/Beretta (E/USA/MC), Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1, 314 laps
2. Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander (I/I/FIN), Ferrari 458 Italia, 314
3. Priaulx/Müller/Hand (GB/D/USA), BMW M3 GT, 313
4. Lieb/Lietz/Henzler (D/A/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 312
5. Pilet/Narac/Armindo (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 311
6. Bergmeister/Long/Luhr (D/USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 310
8. Holzer/Goossens/van Lagen (D/B/NL), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 293

GTE Am class
1. Gardel/Canal/Bornhauser (CH/F/F), Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1, 302 laps
2. Bourret/Gibon/Belloc (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 301

Facts and figures

This is the Le Mans 24 Hours

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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.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media/Press Database
Public Relations and Media
Motor and Sports Press

 

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PORSCHE NEWS: Le Mans 24 Hours, Interim report 10.00 hrs – Porsche teams fight for podium positions

 

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.

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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

 

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PORSCHE NEWS: Qualifying at Le Mans 24 Hours

“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 https://presse.porsche.de.

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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PORSCHE: Le Mans 24 Hours – Strong contingent of Porsche customer teams with eight 911 GT3 RSR

Strong contingent of Porsche customer teams with eight 911 GT3 RSR

Stuttgart. Five teams, eight vehicles, 24 pilots: Porsche customer teams from Europe and the USA are particularly well represented at the 79th running of the long distance classic in Le Mans on 11/12 June.

At the toughest automobile race in the world they field a total of eight Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the two sports car classes: GTE Pro and GTE Am. All Porsche works drivers compete – including last year’s winning trio, Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany). With 16 overall and 98 class victories, Porsche is by far the most successful make in Le Mans.

The race

Run for the first time in 1923, the 24 Hours of Le Mans has become a legend. It is considered the toughest automobile race in the world. With 55 sports cars, the start alone guarantees goose bumps. Tens of thousands of fans flock to the town square of Le Mans to see the technical scrutineering. And for the traditional drivers’ parade which leads from the track to the city centre in the Sarthe region on Friday afternoon, enthusiastic fans line the streets.

The circuit

The 13.629 kilometre “Circuit des 24 Heures” is one of the world’s oldest and fastest race tracks. With around 75 percent of a lap taken at full throttle, the circuit is regarded as a serious test for the reliability of man and machine.

The world fame of the track is thanks not least to the legendary Hunaudières straight, where top speeds of up to 400 kph were reached before it was tamed by two chicanes in 1990. Also the ultra-swift passage with the Porsche curves demands everything from race drivers.

Porsche’s successes

Exactly 60 years ago, the maiden outing of a race car from Zuffenhausen marked the beginning of the unprecedented success story of Porsche in Le Mans. Even in the early years, typical Porsche virtues – like lightweight construction, aerodynamics and reliability – played a prominent role in the many class wins. However, the path to the first overall win was rocky. In 1969, in the closest Le Mans finish in history, Porsche missed out on victory by a mere 75 metres or a good one second.

But the breakthrough in 1970 was all the more convincing. On 14 June, drivers Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood celebrated the first overall victory with the legendary Porsche 917 short-tail, with two other Porsche teams making the triumph perfect with second and third place. Fifteen further overall wins followed – and last year,

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

Porsche factory pilots Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Wolf Henzler clinched the 98th class win in the 911 GT3 RSR.

The Porsche drivers

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With the same line-up, last year’s winners return to the site of their success. For Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, 2010 yielded their second class wins in Le Mans (after 2005 and 2007 respectively). Wolf Henzler climbed to the top of the podium for the first time. Title defender Felbermayr-Proton fields the 2011-version of the 911 GT3 RSR in the GTE Pro class.

The American Flying Lizard Motorsports team competes with the punchy works driver pairing Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Long (USA) at the wheel of a 911 in the Pro-category. Together, they claimed a Le Mans class win in 2004, with Patrick Long also achieving success in 2007. The multiple champions of the American Le Mans Series receive support from Lucas Luhr (Switzerland), who celebrated GT wins in Le Mans with Porsche in 2002 and 2003.

The French Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet shares driving duties with his compatriots Raymond Narac and Nicolas Armindo in the 911 GT3 RSR of IMSA Performance Matmut. Whilst team owner Narac has extensive experience in Le Mans, Armindo, as reigning champion of the Carrera Cup Deutschland, gives his debut at the endurance classic.

The youngest Porsche works driver, Marco Holzer (Germany), drives for the Belgian ProSpeed Competition team. The 22-year-old celebrated his Le Mans premiere in 2010 with a podium result. He shares the cockpit of the GTE Pro 911 with Marc Goossens (Belgium) and Jaap van Lagen (Netherlands).

At the wheel of the fifth 911 GT3 RSR in the GTE Pro class, also fielded by Felbermayr-Proton, are Britain’s Nick Tandy – the current leader of the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup and the Carrera Cup Deutschland – as well as Bryce Miller (USA) and Abdulaziz Faisal (Saudi Arabia).

Racing in the GTE Am sports car category, in which only one professional race driver per vehicle is permitted, are three further 2010-spec 911 GT3 RSR. Taking up the challenge for Flying Lizard Motorsports are Americans Seth Neiman, Darren Law and Spencer Pumpelly, for Proton Competition are team boss Christian Ried (Germany) as well as Austrians Horst Felbermayr Senior and Junior. And Frenchmen Christophe Bourret, Pascal Gibon and Jean-Philippe Belloc race for Larbre Competition.

Two further Porsche works drivers again compete for Audi in the more powerful LMP1 class: Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) join forces with Audi works driver Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) and are eager to repeat their overall victory from last year.

Quotes before the race

Marc Lieb: “When you think of Le Mans you get goose bumps. It’s great to be racing with Richard and Wolf for our Felbermayr-Team again. Victory last year took a huge effort. Now the competition is even stronger. In our class alone, 18 cars from six well known manufacturers are fighting for victory. Even if the full throttle passage suits our car, the race will be a damn hard nut to crack.”

Richard Lietz: “With two Le Mans class wins under your belt of course you don’t mind travelling to the Sarthe. Le Mans for me is something special because you get action all week long. As a driver you can get really close to fans, you’re signing autographs practically non-stop.”

Joerg Bergmeister: “When you take a look at the names on the starter list you first have swallow hard. It’s going to be tough! We’re really well sorted this year with Flying Lizard. Last year we experienced bad luck in Le Mans. A podium place would be a great reward for the team.”

Patrick Long: “I love the challenges of this circuit, especially the fast, flowing corners. Now that’s great fun in a well set-up 911. I’m particularly looking forward to racing with Joerg this year. And Lucas Luhr fits in well with us. We’re a strong combination.”

Patrick Pilet: “We’ll be going all out, but we also want to enjoy the event. The circuit and the atmosphere are unique. For my driver colleagues and the team, our home race in Le Mans is of course the highlight of the season.”

Marco Holzer: “To stand on the top of the podium in Le Mans is incomparable. Below you thousands of people are swarming around the race track and cheering. It’s something you never forget. And it was even better that I did it as a rookie in 2010. My goal this year is to repeat this success.”

Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “Our customer teams and we face even bigger challenges through the division into the two sports car classes GTE Pro and GTE Am because different vehicles are fielded: in the Pro class we have the 2011 version of the 911 GT3 RSR, in the Am class we have 911 race cars in the previous year’s spec. That the event organizer ACO has issued many special dispensations specific to models and that there is now the ‘balance of performance’ in Le Mans means for our customers in the GTE Pro category that there is no real equality of arms. Regardless of this, we and our teams will prepare ourselves well and we’ll turn to all the factors that we can influence.”

The schedule

Free practice is on Wednesday, 8 June, from 16.00 to 20.00 hours. Following on from that is the first qualifying session for the best grid spots from 22.00 hrs to midnight. The second and third qualifying sessions are scheduled for Thursday, 19.00 to 21.00 hrs and from 22.00 to 24.00 hrs. On Saturday, 11 June, the lights turn green at 15.00 hours signalling the start of the 24 hour chase.

TV tip

Eurosport broadcasts extensive coverage from Le Mans on its free-to-view station and the Pay-TV channel Eurosport 2. From Monday, 6 June, the latest preliminary reports and background stories will be televised daily on Eurosport under the title of “24 minutes before Le Mans”. The free practice, the final qualifying and the warm-up will also be shown. Around 15 hours of the race can be seen live on the main station.

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

Public Relations and Media
Motor and Sports Press
Oliver Hilger

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
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