Porsche has achieved its 19th overall Le Mans victory at the 85th running of the 24-hour race.
Drivers Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) brought home the Porsche 919 Hybrid in first place after a race full of drama.
It is the second time two Kiwis have piloted a Le Mans winning car with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon the first duo in 1966 driving a Ford GT 40.
“I can’t believe we’ve managed to pull this one off having been at the back of the field after an hour in the pit-box,” commented Bamber. “Both Brendon and Timo have been part of the Porsche LMP programme from the beginning while this victory is as much down to the guys in the pits. Without their hard work we wouldn’t have got back racing again so this win is down to them.”
It is Brendon Hartley’s first win but Earl Bamber’s second Le Man victory, having won in 2015, again with Porsche.
“Le Mans is one crazy race,” comment Hartley. “The mechanics worked incredibly hard on Saturday evening to get our car repaired in super fast time and since that moment Timo, Earl and myself, together with our engineers, have been pushing hard, 100% every second, and desperately hoped that our efforts would somehow pay off.”
No other brand has managed to win the world’s toughest endurance race so many times and is connected that closely to the myth of Le Mans as Porsche.
At 18:30 on Saturday evening the Le Mans 24-Hours looked over for the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). Their car had no front axle drive anymore, was repaired for 1.05 hours and rejoined the race 18 laps behind. But the 85th running of the endurance classic in Le Mans produced such dramatic changes that the impossible ultimately came true: After an enormous effort, the trio sliced through the field from 56th position to overall victory. For Le Mans record holder Porsche, it is the 19th overall win in the world’s toughest race and the third in a row meaning the German manufacturer can now keep the famous trophy.
For Earl Bamber it is his second Le Mans overall win at the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid after 2015. Timo Bernhard also scores his second Le Mans overall win. Following on from his maiden win in 2010 when he was loaned to Audi, he had dreamed to repeat it one day with Porsche. Brendon Hartley was arguably the hungriest of this year’s six Porsche LMP works driver squad as his name had yet to be engraved onto the big trophy.