At 18:30 on Saturday evening the Le Mans 24-Hours looked over for the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). Their car had no front axle drive anymore, was repaired for 1.05 hours and rejoined the race 19 laps behind. But the 85th running of the endurance classic in Le Mans produced such dramatic changes that the impossible ultimately came true: After an enormous effort, the trio sliced through the field from 54th position to overall victory. For Le Mans record holder Porsche, it is the 19th overall win in the world’s toughest race and the third in a row.
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The Circuit de la Sarthe is one of the world's oldest and most historic race tracks. With 38 curves and at 13.629 kilometres per lap, it is the longest track in the FIA WEC race calendar. The circuit mainly consists of public country roads that seamlessly merge into the race track. As the road is driven all year, it gains a special feature to consider: the tarmac is deeply rutted. And in Le Mans we drive more than 5000 kilometres during one race. Or a more striking comparison: Formula 1 needs a whole season to cover the Le Mans distance. Bearing up here means bearing up against any track of the world.
This corner isn't as easy as it looks. It's an aggressive track section that provides a lot of grip. But it also has bumps. The kerbing on the outside of the bend isn't flat, but instead hangs outwards. It is very easy to lose control of the vehicle if you drive over this section too quickly. You then have to pick up speed for the long straight.
The Hunaudières straight is almost 5 kilometres long with two chicanes, on which our prototypes reach up to 340km/h. Drivers say that it feels like it is never-ending, especially at night. At this speed, extreme concentration is required. In the early years, there was no chicane to slow down drivers from the top speed, which at the time was 400 km/h (248 mph).
The drivers approach at top speed and brake slightly, as the bumps can quickly destabilise the vehicle. Drivers can open up a lead in these curves if they are brave enough to take a bit of a risk. In the Porsche Curves, drivers very quickly notice whether their vehicle is delivering maximum aerodynamic performance – or not as the case may be. Porsche is the only manufacturer with its own turn at Le Mans. It was built to bypass the fast and dangerous Maison Blanche section in 1972.
* Data determined in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) in accordance with the Euro 6 (715/2007/EC, 195/2013/EC and ECE-R 101.01) measurement method. The figures do not refer to an individual vehicle nor do they constitute part of the offer. They are intended solely as a means of comparing different types of vehicle. Fuel consumption calculated for vehicles with standard specification only. Actual consumption and performance may vary with items of optional equipment. A vehicle’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions depend not only on its efficient use of fuel but also on driving style and other non-technical factors. The latest Porsche models with a petrol engine are designed to operate on fuels with an ethanol content of up to 10 %. You can obtain further information about individual vehicles from your Porsche Centre. Consumption figures were obtained on the basis of standard equipment. Special equipment may affect consumption and performance.
** These data were obtained using the Euro 5 measurement method (715/2007/EC and 692/2008/EC) in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) with standard equipment. The information does not refer to an individual vehicle and is not part of the offer, but is simply provided so that comparisons can be made between different types of vehicle. Further, up to date information on the individual vehicles can be obtained from your Porsche Centre. Consumption figures were obtained on the basis of standard equipment. Special equipment may affect consumption and performance.