Porsche's Bruni admits luck determined last Le Mans GTE Pro fight

Le Mans 24 Hours winner Gianmaria Bruni admits luck played its part in deciding the outcome of this year's GTE Pro battle in the French endurance class after misfortune befell early class leader Corvette, Ferrari and the #92 Porsche.

Porsche's Bruni admits luck determined last Le Mans GTE Pro fight
Listen to this article

Bruni, Richard Lietz and Federic Makowiecki emerged on top in the last-ever GTE Pro race at the Circuit de la Sarthe, scoring a 42 second win over the two AF Corse-run Ferraris in their #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Running fourth at the halfway point of the race as dawn broke in the French countryside, the #91 trio were able to move up the order as all of their rivals slowly fell out of contention with unrelated issues.

First, Porsche’s #92 car suffered a major tyre blow-up while leading the race in the 16th hour that heavily damaged its front bodywork, before an errant AF Corse LMP2 car pushed the sole remaining #64 Corvette into the wall on the Mulsanne straight.

Bruni, Lietz and Makowiecki were then able to defeat the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra that suffered a puncture late in the race to score Porsche’s first win at Le Mans since 2018.

Bruni said luck is part of what makes Le Mans a legendary race, highlighting his own defeat in 2015 as a Ferrari driver when his car was struck by a late gearbox problem while locked in a tight battle with Corvette.

“For sure Corvette was unlucky, but #92 had a flatspot, and this created the damage of the car,” he Italian said. “This is part of racing. Sometimes it works well, other times it works bad. For sure they were not lucky, Corvette was unlucky.

“In the end Le Mans chooses [whether] you win or not. This is the special thing of Le Mans. Sometimes she recognises you, other times not. 

“I remember in 2015, with 25 minutes to go the gearbox broke and Corvette won. What can I say? I was 50s ahead. And the points we lost cost me the championship. 

“Sometimes I’ve been very unlucky, but this is a special thing about Le Mans. You either like it or you hate it. Me, I like it.”

The sister #92 car of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor was eventually classified a distant fourth in the seven-car GTE Pro class, a lap down on the final podium spot occupied by the #52 Ferrari of Miguel Molina, Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon.

Vanthoor said he was confident about the victory chances of the #92 Porsche until the car suffered a spectacular puncture approaching the Mulsanne corner with his teammate Christensen at the wheel, forcing the latter to pit for repairs after an excruciatingly slow in-lap.

“We were in quite a dominant position [at the time of the puncture],” he told Motorsport.com. “I felt like we had it under control, also strategy-wise we were a step ahead. 

“We were getting more and more competitive as well, so it was looking very promising, even if it was far from over.

“The puncture was a crazy mix of a lot of stuff together. We had a slow puncture in the corner before, and so we had a flatspot. 

“Then the tyre delaminated and destroyed the car, and that was pretty much the end of our race. 

“[Without that] it’s always easy to say in hindsight, and it was still going to be a big fight, but I was really confident we were going to do it.

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but at least Porsche won, so I’m happy for the guys and for the #92 crew.”

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo LMGTE Pro of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Daniel Serra

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo LMGTE Pro of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Daniel Serra

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Ferrari received a major turbo boost pressure reduction ahead of Wednesday’s practice - which was only partially reversed before the race - and James Calado was particularly vocal about how it had hurt Ferrari's chances of challenging its two factory rivals in the 90th running of Le Mans.

After finishing second in class in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE along with Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra, Calado said he had reasons to be happy with the result - but added that the Italian marque never had a realistic shot at beating Porsche for victory.

“Obviously it was clear that the pace wasn't there throughout the whole race, everyone can see that,” the Briton told Motorsport.com.

“However, no real mistakes, no real dramas, we tried to keep the car in one piece and step by step we worked our way up the front. We actually got quite unlucky with slow zones but that is part of the game. You win some, you lose some.

“[Even without the puncture] we still probably wouldn't have won on speed alone because they [Porsche] were holding back. The moment we started pushing they started pushing. But I'm happy, two and three for Ferrari is a great result.”

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

Sims: Corvette losing last GTE Pro Le Mans win "hard to swallow"
Previous article

Sims: Corvette losing last GTE Pro Le Mans win "hard to swallow"

Next article

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Prime

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

As the GT class faces a time of transition, it’s a good time to recall the greatest hits of the GTE Pro years that pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels.

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Prime

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Prime

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic.

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021