The world’s toughest automobile race

Le Mans 24 Hours

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is not only the world’s most famous long-distance race. It also has a legendary history in which Porsche has written significant chapters as the most successful manufacturer: in 2016, Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb clinched the 18th overall win for Porsche with the 919 Hybrid at the classic in France. Added to this are a total of 105 class victories.

The challenge is unprecedented. No long-distance race puts such immense stresses on everyone involved as the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  What makes this prestigious, 1923-inaugurated long distance classic in the Sarthe so unique is the 13.629-kilometre Circuit des 24 Heures, one of the oldest and fastest racetracks in the world. Almost 75 percent of a lap is driven at full throttle. The circuit puts very special stresses on man and machine, not only because of the top speeds exceeding 300 km/h that are reached on the almost five-kilometre Mulsanne straight, despite two chicanes. The combination of permanent race track passages and country roads also poses very tough challenges.

To win at Le Mans you need not only a quick and reliable car but also the very best pilots. And, of course, a highly experienced pit crew. Teamwork in front and behind the pit wall is the key to success.

Impressive winning streak

Porsche’s impressive success story at Le Mans began in 1970, with Hans Hermann and Richard Attwood clinching the first overall victory with a 917 short-tail. With four wins each, Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell are the most successful Porsche pilots in Le Mans. Porsche also holds the pole-setting qualifying track record set by Jackie Oliver in 1971: With the Porsche 917 long-tail Coupé, he lapped the then 13.469 km circuit in 3:13.9 minutes – that’s an average speed of 250.069 kph.

Porsche also enjoyed success at the world’s most famous endurance race with the RS Spyder LMP2 sports prototype. Fielded by Porsche customer teams, the nimble carbon-fibre racer clinched a double class victory at its Le Mans debut in 2008. The sports prototype from Weissach won again in 2009, and also took home the Michelin Green X Challenge environmental award thanks to its outstanding overall efficiency.

Notching up two more class victories in 2013, Porsche wrote another chapter in the history of the world’s most famous endurance race. The new 911 RSR, based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, celebrated victory in the GTE-Pro class, with Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz at the wheel. In the second 911 RSR, their works driver colleagues Joerg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Pilet made the double victory perfect for Porsche. The customer team IMSA Performance Matmut won the GTE-Am class, with drivers Raymond Narac, Christophe Bourret and Jean-Karl Vernay. In 2015, Patrick Dempsey also fulfilled the dream of a Le Mans victory: The US actor and racing driver won the GTE-Am class at the wheel of the 911 RSR – with Patrick Long and Marco Seefried. Porsche took a total of 105 class victories so far at Le Mans.

Porsche crowned its comeback to the top-class at Le Mans in 2015 with a victory:  The 919 Hybrid, which serves as a racing laboratory for maximum efficiency in future road-going sports cars with its groundbreaking downsizing turbocharged engine and two energy recovery systems, clinched the 17th overall victory for Porsche at the 24-hour classic in the Sarthe province. Off all drivers, it turned out to be the rookie crew, Earl Bamber, Nico Hülkenberg and Nick Tandy, who climbed to the top of the podium after an immaculate drive.

The magic of Le Mans

Once again, two 919 Hybrids will tackle Le Mans in 2017. The number 1 vehicle is shared by reigning WEC champion Neel Jani alongside André Lotterer and Nick Tandy. Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley take up the challenge in the #2 sister car. Timo Bernhard describes the fascination of Le Mans like this: “At my first start for Porsche in 2002, I found Le Mans stunning. It’s the most fascinating race in the world, pure fascination. At some point on this long circuit you find a very special rhythm. Especially at night when everything gets even faster, and when it might drizzle or rain. It is indescribable; there is a certain magic to it.”

Circuit

Circuit: Circuit des 24 Heures
Circuit length: 13.629 km
Race duration: 24 hours

Updated information

Location/Approach

Location: Le Mans
Country: France
Continent: Europe

Press contact

Organiser

Automobile Club de l'Ouest

Circuit des 24 Heures

F-72019 Le Mans Cedex 2

Phone. +33 2 43 40 24 24

Fax +33 2 43 40 24 15

Email: presse@lemans.org

Media contact organiser

Tomas Otton
Phone: +33 2 43 40 21 56
Mobile: +33 6 09 28 84 31
Email: t.otton@lemans.org

Pauline Morvan
Phone: +33 2 43 40 21 97
Mobile: +33 6 83 98 27 33
Email: p.morvan@lemans.org

Media contact Porsche

Holger Eckhardt (LMP1)
Phone: +49 (0) 711 911 24959
Email: Holger.Eckhardt@porsche.de

Oliver Hilger (GT)
Phone: +49 (0) 711 911 26509
Email: Oliver.Hilger@porsche.de