PORSCHE 911 SCORES 98TH VICTORY AT 2010 LE MANS
Following victory in the 2010 Dubai 24 Hours race and holding the championship lead of both the Le Mans- and American Le Mans Series, the roll of honor of the 911 GT3 RSR now includes coming first in the GT2 class at the 2010 Le Mans 24 hour race.
This victory at the 78th running of Le Mans marks the 98th success for Porsche at the prestigious long distance classic, and the ninth win for a race car based on the street-legal 911 GT3.
Positions three, five, seven and eight also went to drivers of the 450hp Porsche.
The basis of the Porsche success this year was again the speed and reliability of the 911 GT3 RSR. Refuelling, new tires, driver changes - the mechanics of the winning German Felbermayr-Proton team had nothing more to do from start to finish. With consistent lap times, Porsche factory drivers Marc Lieb (Germany), Richard Lietz (Austria) and Wolf Henzler (Germany) held a two-lap advantage over the second-placed Ferrari. "No technical problems was pivotal for victory since we 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 at Le Mans after successes in 2005 and 2006.
The success of Porsche is all the more remarkable because this year's 24 hour race was one of the toughest in the history of the French classic. The GT2 class was well supported and fiercely contested, with seven manufacturers and 18 race vehicles. With this victory, Porsche relegated its strong opponents Ferrari, BMW, Chevrolet, Jaguar and Spyker to spots further down the field.
Celebrations were also in full swing in the Porsche camp with the overall victory of Porsche factory drivers Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France), who drove the winning Audi R15 TDI with the former Porsche Junior and ex-Porsche 'works' driver Mike Rockenfeller (Germany). At the flag, they held a one-lap advantage over the second-placed finisher.
Hartmut Kristen, Head of Porsche Motorsport, commented: "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."
Porsche Junior driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and his teammates in the BMS Scuderia Italia team, Richard Westbrook (Great Britain) and Timo Scheider (Germany), were also delighted to be third in class - all three were contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time. For the double DTM champion Scheider, this was his first outing with a Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.
The crew of the French IMSA Performance Matmut team had mixed feelings about its 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 we're disappointed not to celebrate a podium result at our home race."
There was elation amongst the driver squads of the 911 GT3 RSR racers that finished seventh and eighth as well. Both cars were manned by 'gentleman' 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 (Austria) and Slovakia' s Miroslav Konopka in eighth.
Only one of the six 911 GT3 RSR to contest the race didn't manage to reach the flag. The 911 of the American Flying Lizard Motorsport squad with drivers Darren Law, Seth Neiman (both USA) and works driver Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) retired after an accident.
GT2 class result, 2010 Le Mans 24 hour race:
1. Lieb/Lietz/Henzler, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 338 laps?
2. Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen, Ferrari F430 GT, 336?
3. Holzer/Westbrook/Scheider, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 327?
4. Alesi/Fisichella/Vilander, Ferrari F430 GT, 323?
5. Pilet/Long/Narac, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 321?
6. J.Muller/Farfus/Alzen, BMW M3 GT2, 320?
7. Van Splunteren/Hommerson/Machiels, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 317?
8. Felbermayr Sen./Felbermayr Jun./Konopka, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 304