FIVE PORSCHE FACTORY DRIVERS TOP PODIUM AT 78TH LE MANS AS RELIABILITY AGAIN TRIUMPHS OVER SPEED; 911 GT3 STREET-BASED RACER SCORES NINTH WIN IN GT2 Stuttgart/Atlanta - June 13 -- The success story of the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR race continues...
FIVE PORSCHE FACTORY DRIVERS TOP PODIUM AT 78TH LE MANS AS RELIABILITY AGAIN TRIUMPHS OVER SPEED; 911 GT3 STREET-BASED RACER SCORES NINTH WIN IN GT2
Stuttgart/Atlanta - June 13 -- The success story of the 2010 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR race continues at the 78 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as factory drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) piloted their German Felbermayr-Proton Porsche to a two-lap GT2 win over the second-place Ferrari earlier today.
Two other Porsche factory drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) - on loan from Porsche to Audi's factory prototype effort - helped lead Audi's sweep of the overall podium. They drove with former Porsche factory pilot Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) to a one-lap victory in their Audi R15 TDI. All six LMP1 and GT2-winning drivers have either victories or championships in the American Le Mans Series as well.
As for the worldwide performance of the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR so far this year, the car that won the 24 hour race in Dubai and holds the championship lead of the Le Mans Series (Europe) and the American Le Mans Series, and was the most successful GT race car of 2009 has now won the GT2 class of the Le Mans 24 hour race.
This victory at Le Mans marks the 98th win (class and overall) for Porsche at the prestigious long distance classic. For the ninth time, a race car based on the street legal 911 GT3 prevailed over its rivals. Positions three, five, seven and eight also went to drivers of the 450 hp Porsche. Moreover, the winning 911 also clinched the environmental "Michelin Green X Challenge" award as the GT car with the best efficiency.
The basis for Porsche's success was this year again the reliability of the 911 GT3 RSR. Refueling, new tires, driver changes - the team mechanics of had nothing more to do from start to finish.
"Pivotal for victory was that we had no technical problems and spent the least amount of time in the pits. This win was a team effort," said Marc Lieb, who celebrated his third Porsche GT2 win in Le Mans, finishing first in 2005 and 2006. Richard Lietz took home the coveted winners' trophy for the second time his victory in 2007.
Porsche's success is even more credible due to the fact that the 78th edition of the 24 hour race was one of the toughest in the history of the classic. The GT2 class in particular was excellently supported and fiercely contested with seven manufacturers and 18 race vehicles. With this victory, Porsche bested strong opponents Ferrari, BMW, Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar and Spyker.
"We experienced an incredibly exciting race this weekend, especially in the GT2 class. I'm delighted that the Felbermayr-Proton squad won both the GT2 class as well as the "Michelin Green X Challenge.' This shows that we're on the right path with our philosophy of Porsche Intelligent Performance. I'm also thrilled with the results of the other Porsche customer teams. They put up a great fight and earned their good positions. I'm proud as well of the three drivers in the winning Audi. Congratulations to them and the entire Audi team," said Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport.
Porsche Junior Marco Holzer (Germany) and his teammates in the BMS Scuderia Italia Porsche 911 GT3 RSR team, Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) and Timo Scheider (Germany), were also pleased with their third in class. All three drivers contested the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time. For the two-time DTM champion Scheider, this was his first outing with a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
"For us, it's a dream come true," said 21-year-old Holzer. "Le Mans is the most important long distance race in the world - and we climbed the podium at our debut. That's sensational."
The crew of the French IMSA Performance Matmut team had mixed feelings about their fifth position. Works drivers Patrick Pilet (France) and Patrick Long (USA) with teammate Raymond Narac (France) had kept up with the winning Porsche trio until the morning hours only to be held up by a clutch problem.
"Today is a great day for Porsche and I'm pleased about that," said Pilet. "But of course we're a little disappointed not to celebrate a podium result at our home race."
Elation also permeated the driver squads of both 911 GT3 RSR that finished seventh and eighth as well: Both 911 were manned by gentlemen drivers. Finishing seventh were Dutchmen Paul van Splunteren and Niek Hommerson as well as Belgian Louis Machiels for the ProSpeed Competition team, followed by the second Felbermayr 911 with drivers Horst Felbermayr Senior and Junior (both Austria) and Slovakia' s Miroslav Konopka in eighth.
The only American-based Porsche entry, the Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) , Darren Law USA) and Seth Neiman USA) was retired from the from the race due to mechanical issues. After starting ninth on the grid, all three drivers cycled uneventfully through their stints until halfway through hour four, when an incident damaged the right radiator. The crew replaced the radiator and front under-tray and repaired some minor body damage. Unfortunately, after one out-lap, the car had to return to the garage again and was retired due to its accident-related mechanical issues.
"Le Mans once again bites us very hard. It's not easy to accept being out of the race this early, but that's racing. I know our crew will examine every part of this experience and do what it takes to make us even stronger in the future," said team principal Seth Neiman.
-source: porsche motorsport