Quadruple triumph in world championship: Porsche wins all GT titles
The Porsche works drivers Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre have won the drivers’ world crown in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The successful duo from Denmark and France, who shared driving duties in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR at the season finale at Le Mans with Belgian Laurens Vanthoor, scored enough points at the 24-hour race in France to clinch the title. Porsche had already claimed the manufacturers’ title prior to the endurance classic. The Project 1 customer squad won the drivers’ and team championship titles in the GTE-Am class of the FIA WEC.
At the 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, all four Porsche 911 RSR maintained an impressive pace in front of 252,500 spectators. The best result was achieved by Gianmaria Bruni (Italy), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki in the ca. 510 hp No. 91 nine-eleven with second place.
Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy from Great Britain yielded a double podium result for the Porsche GT Team, clinching third in the number 93 car. Both Porsche 911 RSR vehicles crossed the finish line less than 70 seconds behind the class winner. This margin resulted from being hampered by bad luck in the safety car phases.
“We tried everything, but even though we had a very fast car, we couldn’t do more,” commented Bamber. “That’s Le Mans, you simply have to have luck on your side. We’re pleased with the podium finish and now we look ahead. Our focus is now on extending our points’ lead in the IMSA series and to win more titles for Porsche.”
Last year’s winners in the lead until the early morning
Over long stretches of the race, the vehicle of the new world champions, Christensen and Estre as well as Vanthoor, was on course to repeat last year’s victory. After five hours, the No. 92 car had swept into the lead of the GTE-Pro class to hold a convincing lead during the night. The decisive setback struck in the early hours of the morning at 3.47am. Repairs to a defect exhaust system threw the winning Le Mans trio of 2018 back six laps. In the end, the car crossed the finish line in tenth place – enough to win the drivers’ title in the FIA WEC.
The Le Mans debut of Mathieu Jaminet (France) and Dennis Olsen (Norway) concluded with eighth place in the GTE-Pro category. The two Porsche Young Professionals, who shared the No. 94 car with works driver Sven Müller (Germany), suffered several setbacks over the course of the world’s toughest endurance race. Bad luck with the safety car interventions and repairs to the data systems prescribed by the FIA WEC cost a lot of time. As a result, half way through the race, the vehicle was relegated from the front far down the field.
1. Pier Guidi/Calado/Serra (I/GB/BRA), Ferrari 488 GTE, 342 laps
2. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 342 laps
3. Pilet/Bamber/Tandy (F/NZ/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 342 laps
8. Müller/Jaminet/Olsen (D/F/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 339 laps
10. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 337 laps
1. Keating/Bleekemolen/Fraga (USA/NL/BRA), Ford GT, 334 laps
2. Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (D/USA/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 334 laps
3. Segal/Baptista/Lu (USA/BRA/CAN), Ferrari 488 GTE, 334 laps
5. Campbell/Ried/Andlauer (AUS/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 332 laps
7. Prette/Prette/Abril (I/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 332 laps
9. Wainwright/Barker/Preining (GB/GB/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 331 laps
DNF. Hoshino/Roda/Cairoli (J/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 79 laps