The Porsche teams are well prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the traditional testing day for the long distance classic in France on 22/23 June, the new Porsche 911 RSR turned its first laps on the demanding Circuit des 24 Heures and performed convincingly, clocking fast lap times under difficult conditions.
In the four-hour morning session on the 13.469 kilometre circuit, the Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Romain Dumas (France) posted the third quickest time in the 911 RSR with the starting number 92 under very changeable weather conditions. They went on to underline this top ranking during a second four-hour session in the afternoon on the drying track. Their factory pilot colleagues Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France) and Timo Bernhard (Germany) set the fourth quickest time in the number 91 car at both sessions. Porsche AG Team Manthey fields the Porsche 911 RSR at the Le Mans 24 hour race and in the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC.
In the GTE-Am class, Frenchmen Raymond Narac, Christophe Bourret and Jean-Karl Vernay with backing from Porsche works driver Wolf Henzler (Germany) secured the second quickest time in last year’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR in the mostly rainy morning session. The best placing of Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey (“Grey’s Anatomy”), who shares driving duties with Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) and Joe Foster (USA) in a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, was third place in the afternoon.
Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “The weather didn’t allow us to try out all the things we had planned. This morning the weather conditions changed constantly, so it was all about making the right tyre choice. This afternoon when it dried up the times tumbled very quickly. We are very satisfied with the results that we have achieved with this preliminary test. This is especially true of the cars’ performance. A little more time in the dry would have been good, but the conditions were the same for us all. Now we need to focus on preparing the vehicles well for the race weekend.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “Luckily the track completely dried again at the end. When you consider that we still couldn’t make a set-up for dry conditions, our car made a very good impression. The test day was definitely worth it, alone because of the few laps in the dry, although we learned quite a lot in the rain too.”
Patrick Pilet (#91): “The conditions today were really tough. It was critical for us to prepare as a team for this important race and find the right set-up. As far as our pace is concerned, we are looking real good, and the aerodynamics of our car was good. That makes me confident.”
Timo Bernhard (#91): “Of course we had hoped for a dry track with our new car because the demands of Le Mans make it a very special race. Unfortunately the test day was rained out again. Still, we now know a lot more about how the car and the track go together.”
Marc Lieb (#92): “We drove in the rain for most of today. Still we found a good rain set-up for the race. The car is well balanced and we learned a lot about the tyres, like when we use what tyres and which compound. If it rains during the race then our test here today was very good.”
Richard Lietz (#92): “We had every weather condition imaginable thrown at us today: Lots of rain, drizzle, drying track, completely dry track towards the end – that was certainly a good preparation for the race. We learned a great deal. I hope we can use what we’ve learned in the race and that it all goes well.”
Romain Dumas (#92): “Despite the changeable weather we were able to take home some useful insights. At any rate, we have learned more, especially with regard to the tyres. At the end when the track dried up we used this time to work intensively on finding a dry set-up.”
Wolf Henzler (#67): “The weather threw a spanner in the works for us as well. We were able to try out a few things but the conditions changed often and this kept throwing our plans into disarray.”
Patrick Long (#77): “The conditions were difficult, but we were all in the same boat. I drove the car this morning and then handed it to my teammates. They did well, although it was no easy job today.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is contested on 22/23 June as round three of the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC on the Circuit 24 Heures in Le Mans/France.
1. Turner/Mücke/Dumbreck (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 4:19.503 minutes
2. Kobayashi/Vilander/Beretta(J/SF/MC), Ferrari F458 Italia, + 1.148
3. Lieb/Lietz/Dumas (D/A/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.213
4. Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard (D/F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.693
5. Bell/Makowiecki/Senna/Adam (GB/F/BRA/GB), Astona Martin Vantage, + 1.921
6. Auberlen/Dalla Lana/Lamy/Stanaway (USA/CAN/P/NZ), Aston Martin, + 2.133
1. Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, 4:19.923 minutes
2. Narac/Bourret/Vernay/Henzler (F/F/F/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 5.009
3. P. Dumas/Rodrigues/MacNeil (F/F/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, + 5.268
4. Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter (D/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, + 6.100
5. Dempsey/Foster/Long (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 7.268
6. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 7.493
1. Turner/Mücke/Dumbreck (GB/D/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:58.806 minutes
2. Bell/Makowiecki/Senna/Adam (GB/F/BRA/GB), Astona Martin Vantage, + 0.342
3. Lieb/Lietz/Dumas (D/A/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.604
4. Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard (D/F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.614
5. Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor (DK/E/USA), Chevrolet Corvette + 0.685
6. Auberlen/Dalla Lana/Lamy/Stanaway (USA/CAN/P/NZ), Aston Martin, + 0.768
1. Goethe/Hall/Campbell-Walter (D/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 4:00.867 minutes
2. Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen (DK/DK/DK), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.349
3. Dempsey/Foster/Long (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.139
4. Henzler/Milesi/Gibon (D/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.182
5. Narac/Bourret/Vernay/Henzler (F/F/F/D), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.933
6. Ried/Roda/Ruberti (D/I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 4.686
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