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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Porsche's Le Mans letdown reflects "brutal reality" - Lotterer

Porsche's failure to land a top result on its return to the top flight at the Le Mans 24 Hours is a reflection of its current "brutal reality", admits Andre Lotterer.

#6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 of Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor

Despite having the largest presence in the Hypercar field at four cars, three works Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s and an additional customer car for Jota, Porsche's hopes of challenging for victory were wrecked by a series of accidents and reliability dramas.

Its best finisher was the #5 car of Dane Cameron, Frederic Makowiecki and Michael Christensen, which was on course to finish fifth until a late driveshaft issue in the final hour dropped it down to ninth, behind the leading Peugeot and both Glickenhaus entries.

The sister full-season World Endurance Championship car, the #6 machine in which Lotterer shared with Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, had already been delayed by a puncture when Estre suffered a crash at the Porsche Curves.

Further time was then lost replacing the battery of the hybrid system, an issue possibly connected to the shunt, that left the squad 22nd overall and 11th in the Hypercar class.

"Of course it's disappointing," Lotterer told Motorsport.com. "When you are Porsche, you come here to win and it's only the win that matters. Simply, we were not strong enough.

"You always want to be the strongest to be in control and have a bit of a margin, but we didn't have that and we had too many reliability issues. We also had to drive on the limit just to have some pace."

The fight for the win turned out to be between Toyota and Ferrari, with the latter marque ultimately coming out on top to score its first outright Le Mans victory since 1965.

#6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 of Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor

#6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 of Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

That was despite Porsche showing eye-catching pace during the official Test Day that followed a controversial late Balance of Performance change in which the 963 was only made 3kg heavier, versus 37kg and 24kg respectively for Toyota and Ferrari.

Asked if he felt Porsche had demonstrated winning potential at any stage throughout Le Mans week, Lotterer replied: 'I was not expecting us to be in a position on paper, let's say, to win on pure potential. Some [BoP] adjustments were made but the trend remained the same since the first races of the WEC.

"We always come to Le Mans with hope because anything can happen here, it's new cars, a new platform, and a lot did happen - also for us. I am realistic and this is the brutal reality."

Porsche LMDh programme boss Urs Kuratle said he was encouraged by the progress the marque had made in the run-up to Le Mans, even if a 20th outright win proved beyond its grasp.

"We cannot say it has been a good weekend or a good race," Kuratle told Motorsport.com. "It's definitely not a good result for us.

"But one of the most important things was that we had very positive feedback from the drivers about the work we have done in the last couple of weeks, or even months.

"We know where we are coming from, and we saw some pace, and that somehow it makes a positive weekend for us, despite the result."

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Lotterer struck a somewhat downbeat tone when asked about Porsche's prospects for the remainder of the WEC season, which continues next month at Monza.

"We have been doing some good races, but again if on paper you are not there, if you are not there in terms of package and potential, it makes things hard," he said. "In the WEC races, you can't hide; the true pace is reflected in the races.

"We have been working hard to improve the car and hopefully we can improve it further, but we also need to have the potential. If the others are faster, they are just faster."

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