What a great race for Porsche! If you want to skip right to the results, just scroll down to the bottom for the final results of the GTE Pro and GTE Am Classes. If you're interested in pictures we have more than 120 of them in our gallery below. Otherwise, read on for a short summation of Porsche's performance over the 24 hour race.
The 81st running of the long distance classic took place in changeable weather with constant showers and under the most difficult conditions. On Saturday at 15.00 hours, the honorary starter of the Le Mans 24 Hour race Jim France, the founder of the American Grand-Am Series, sent the 56 cars on their way.
The First Hour
In the first hour of the race, in which there was a long caution period due to a tragic accident (more below), Porsche works driver Marc Lieb (Germany) moved up into second place in the GTE-Pro class at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR with the starting number 92. His works driver colleague, Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), made up three places in the 911 RSR with the starting number 91 also run by Porsche AG Team Manthey to fourth.
Into the Evening
By midnight, #92 was running third and #91 was in fourth. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Dempsey Del Piero-Proton lead the GTE-Am class. Trailing the leading 911 in the GTE-Am class were Christian Ried (Germany) and his Italian teammates Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda in the 911 GT3 RSR run by Proton Competition. The Frenchmen Raymond Narac, Jean-Karl Vernay and Christophe Bourret competing for the IMSA Performance Matmut squad, ran in third place.
The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Customer Team IMSA Performance Matmut Takes Lead in GTE-Am
Shortly before midnight three Porsche 911 GT3 RSR had locked out the front spots. At the wheel of the Proton Competition 911, Italian Giancarlo Roda defended the lead (having gained it earlier from Dempsey Del Piero). But, when he slid off the track and became stuck in the gravel, Raymond Narac grabbed his chance and slipped into first place. Patrick Dempsey, was running in third place.
Wet Weather Didn't Hurt the New Porsche 911 RSR
While some competitors struggled on the difficult and partly wet circuit, the new 911 RSR made it safely through the night without any problems and underlined the intention to clinch its maiden victory with consistently fast lap times.
In fact, Porsche said their pit-stops were predominantly routine: Refuel, tires, driver change – then back out on the track. Both works-run Porsche completed the entire distance without the slightest technical problem, apart from a rear light that had to be replaced on the #91 Porsche 911 RSR after being nudged by a competitor.
On Sunday morning, with seven hours still to go, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR lay in second place and fought for the lead of the GTE-Pro class. The #92 Porsche 911 RSR squad was in fourth.
Three Hours to Go
At this point, Porsche lead both GT classes (Pro and Am). The new Porsche 911 RSR #92, fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey, lay at the front of the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class after 21 hours. The #91 Porsche, driven by Bergmeister, Bernhard and Pilet was in third. The Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the customer team IMSA Performance Matmut continued to lead the GTE-Am with a one-lap advantage.
An Hour Left
Even when torrential rain fell an hour before the finish, and its pursuers launched a final attack, Richard Lietz remained unfazed at the wheel of the #91 car in the GTE-Pro class and held the lead while the #91 gained ground and moved into second place ahead of the Aston Martin and Ferrari.
Le Mans Race Result GTE-Pro Class
1. Dumas/Lieb/Lietz (F/D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 315 laps
2. Bergmeister/Bernhard/Pilet (D/D/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 315
3. Dumbreck/Mücke/Turner (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin, 314
4. Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor (DK/E/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, 312
5. Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander (MC/J/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, 312
6. Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli (I/I/I), Ferrari 458 Italia, 311
Le Mans Race Result GTE-Am Class
1. Narrac/Bourret/Vernay (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 306 laps
2. Perazzini/Case/O’Young (I/I/CDN), Ferrari 458 Italia, 305
3. Gerber/Griffin/Cioci (ZA/IRL/I), Ferrari 458 Italia, 305
4. Dempsey/Long/Foster (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 305
7. Henzler/Gibon/Milesi (D/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 300
8. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 300
9. Collard/Perrod/Crubile (F/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 298
The Race Overshadowed by Fatal Accident
Tragically, the Le Mans race was overshadowed by the death of Denmark’s Allan Simonsen. In the fourth race lap, the Aston Martin pilot crashed into the barriers in the fast Tertre Rouge corner and died from his injuries shortly afterwards in the Circuit des 24 Heures Medical Center.
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG: “With the 99th and 100th class win and the double victory of the new 911 RSR, this Le Mans 24 hour race was a magnificent success for Porsche. I very much congratulate all those who have contributed. Our joy, however, is also mixed with sadness and shock at the death of Allan Simonsen. We have not only lost a passionate racer, but also a good friend of the Porsche motorsport family. He contested his first Le Mans 24 Hours in 2007 with a Porsche. With our works driver Marc Lieb in 2005, he contested two races of the Le Mans Endurance Series in a Porsche as well. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family as well as the Aston Martin squad and his teammates at this difficult time.”
Other Porsche Blog Posts You Will Enjoy
Porsche 911 GT2 Nurburgring Flip and Crash Caught on Video
Porsche Announces the Next Driver to Participate in Their 2014 LMP1 Le Mans Program
A Porsche Fan’s Guide to the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans on Twitter for Porsche Fans
How the New Porsche LMP1 Built for Le Mans in 2014 is Influencing the 2013 Race
Pictures and Info on Porsche’s new LMP1 Sports Prototype
5 Records Porsche Set at Le Mans in 1971