Porsche will head into the 24 Hours of Le Mans from the fourth grid spot. In the final two qualifying sessions prior to the last round of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC season in France, Nick Tandy clocked the fastest lap time of all Porsche drivers with 3:48.907 minutes. With this result, the British driver planted the ca. 510 hp 911 RSR with the starting number 93, which he shares with Patrick Pilet (France) and Earl Bamber (New Zealand), on the second grid row.
In sunny conditions and temperatures of 21 degrees Celsius for the second qualifying session, only small improvements in times were possible. Only at the beginning of the third qualifying session in the evening, when the 13.626-kilometre racetrack offered more grip, could lap times be slashed. At this point, Tandy managed to leap ahead, while his colleagues in the sister cars were plagued by bad luck. Multiple caution phases, interruptions to the session and a dirty track surface in the second half of the final run hampered them from turning faster laps.
The No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR, shared by the drivers’ championship leaders Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France) with Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor, takes up the race from position seven. Their factory driver colleagues, Gianmaria Bruni from Italy, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France), will tackle the world’s toughest endurance race from 13th on the grid in the No. 91 car. Works driver Sven Müller (Germany) and the Porsche Young Professionals Mathieu Jaminet from France and Dennis Olsen from Norway head into the race from position 15.
In the GTE-Am class, Porsche’s customer teams underlined their strong performance in the first qualifying with five 911 RSR cars in the top six. The No. 88 vehicle fielded by Dempsey Proton Racing takes up the Le Mans 24-hour race from pole position. Posting a time of 3:51.439 minutes, Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli (Italy) sliced around a second off his top time from the previous day. Cairoli is joined in the cockpit of the 911 campaigned by the German customer squad by his compatriot Giorgio Roda and Satoshi Hoshino from Japan. Just 0.206 seconds behind, Matt Campbell (Australia) planted last year’s winning car with the starting number 77 on the second grid spot.
Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining (Austria) and Michael Wainwright and Ben Barker from Britain head into the FIA WEC season finale from P3 with Gulf Racing’s No. 86 car. Vincent Abril (France) and the Italian father/son duo Philippe and Louis Prette take up the race in the identical vehicle with the No. 78 from fifth. The Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Project 1 achieved position six. Works driver Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) shares driving duties at the wheel of the No. 56 Art Car with Egidio Perfetti (Norway) and the American Patrick Lindsey. The No. 99 Porsche 911 campaigned by Dempsey Proton Racing will not contest this year’s 24-hour race after an accident in free practice on Wednesday.
The track will be closed to competitors on Friday (14 June), however fans, teams and drivers can look forward to a highlight. From 5pm, the drivers will take part in the traditional parade in the Le Mans city centre. The 87th running of the world’s toughest long-distance race begins on Saturday, 15 June, at 3pm. At this year’s event, Porsche legend Hurley Haywood assumes the honorary role of Grand Marshal. The American won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1977, 1983 and 1994 driving a racing car from the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer.
1. Thiim/Sörensen/Turner (DK/DK/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:48.000 minutes
2. Priaulx/Tincknell/Bomarito (GB/GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0.112 seconds
3. Magnussen/Garcia/Rockenfeller (DK/E/D), Corvette C7.R, + 0.830 seconds
4. Pilet/Bamber/Tandy (F/NZ/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.907 seconds
7. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.196 seconds
13. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.921 seconds
15. Müller/Jaminet/Olsen (D/F/N), Porsche 911 RSR, + 2.278 seconds
1. Hoshino/Roda/Cairoli (J/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.439 minutes
2. Campbell/Ried/Andlauer (AUS/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.206 seconds
3. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.505 seconds
5. Prette/Prette/Abril (I/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.995 seconds
6. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.311 seconds