Porsche 911 RSR tackles 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position

Must read

The Porsche GT Team will take up the 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position in the GTE-Pro class. In today’s Hyperpole, the Italian Gianmaria Bruni turned the fastest lap at the wheel of the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR in 3:50.874 minutes.

His brand colleague Michael Christensen from Denmark planted the No. 92 sister car on sixth place. In the GTE-Am category, works pilot Matt Campbell was the fastest Porsche driver. The Australian claimed the second grid spot in his class with the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing. He was only 0.056 seconds off the top time.

In the new 30-minute shootout for the best grid positions, the two Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the factory squad attacked immediately at the start. Bruni promptly turned the fastest lap, however, his time was cancelled due to him leaving the track in the area of the Porsche Curves. The Italian, who had set a lap record for GTE vehicles in 2018, did not let the stewards’ decision deter him. In his second flying lap, Bruni immediately undercut his previous top time. Teammate Christensen, however, encountered traffic and was unable to improve on his time during his final attempt towards the end of the session.

In the GTE-Am class, the young factory driver Matt Campbell planted the Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s spec on second place with a time of 3:51.322 minutes. At the wheel of Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 car, the Australian was faster in the Hyperpole than half of the GTE-Pro field. Italy’s Matteo Cairoli claimed the third grid spot in the identical No. 56 car run by the Project 1 team. Benjamin Barker from Great Britain posted the sixth quickest time in the 911 RSR fielded by Gulf Racing (No. 86).

Hyperpole

His brand colleague Michael Christensen from Denmark planted the No. 92 sister car on sixth place. In the GTE-Am category, works pilot Matt Campbell was the fastest Porsche driver. The Australian claimed the second grid spot in his class with the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing. He was only 0.056 seconds off the top time.

In the new 30-minute shootout for the best grid positions, the two Porsche 911 RSR fielded by the factory squad attacked immediately at the start. Bruni promptly turned the fastest lap, however, his time was cancelled due to him leaving the track in the area of the Porsche Curves. The Italian, who had set a lap record for GTE vehicles in 2018, did not let the stewards’ decision deter him. In his second flying lap, Bruni immediately undercut his previous top time. Teammate Christensen, however, encountered traffic and was unable to improve on his time during his final attempt towards the end of the session.

In the GTE-Am class, the young factory driver Matt Campbell planted the Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s spec on second place with a time of 3:51.322 minutes. At the wheel of Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 car, the Australian was faster in the Hyperpole than half of the GTE-Pro field. Italy’s Matteo Cairoli claimed the third grid spot in the identical No. 56 car run by the Project 1 team. Benjamin Barker from Great Britain posted the sixth quickest time in the 911 RSR fielded by Gulf Racing (No. 86).https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1306934722065563649&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fnewsroom.porsche.com%2Fen%2F2020%2Fmotorsports%2Fporsche-fia-wec-world-endurance-championship-round-7-le-mans-911-rsr-22310.html&siteScreenName=PorscheNewsroom&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

Comments on the Hyperpole

Fritz Enzinger (Vice President Motorsport): “That was a great qualifying. We’ve achieved pole position in the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class – with a car that has never competed on this track before. Congratulations to our customer teams. Second and third on the grid in the GTE-Am category is a tremendous result. Thanks to the team’s great work, we’re now perfectly prepared for the race. The weather forecast predicts rain. I’m sure that it’ll be an exciting and spectacular competition over 24 hours.”

Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “Pole position at Le Mans! What a fantastic debut for the Porsche 911 RSR-19 on this special racetrack. We learned a lot with every lap. Between the sessions and during the short night we analysed all the details and made precisely the right conclusions. I’d like to thank all of our drivers, engineers and mechanics. Everyone pulled together and made sure that our car is now very well sorted for the upcoming 24-hour race.”

Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “After initial difficulties in the first practice, we completely changed the setup of our car – with success! Our 911 RSR is now significantly easier to drive. That became obvious in the qualifying and the Hyperpole. I didn’t make any mistakes in my flying lap and now I’m on pole with my teammates Richard and Fred. It’s a fantastic result for Porsche. Now we want to be just as successful in the race.”

Result Hyperpole

GTE-Pro class
1. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:50.874 minutes
2. Calado/Pier Guidi/Serra (GB/I/BR), Ferrari 488 GTE, 3:51.115 minutes
3. Sörensen/Thiim/Westbrook (DK/DK/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:51.241 minutes
4. Lynn/Martin/Tincknell (GB/B/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:51.324 minutes
5. Rigon/Molina/Bird (I/E/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, 3:51.515 minutes
6. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.770 minutes

GTE-Am class
1. Ledogar/Negri Jr./Piovanetti (F/USA/E), Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, 3:51.266 minutes
2. Campbell/Ried/Pera (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.322 minutes
3. Perfetti/ten Voorde/Cairoli (N/NL/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:51.647 minutes
4. Gunn/Dalla Lana/Farfus (GB/CDN/BR), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.105 minutes
5. Yoluc/Eastwood/Adam (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.299 minutes
6. Wainwright/Barker/Watson (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:52.346 minutes

Full results: http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com

The qualifying

The Porsche GT Team has qualified for the Hyperpole, the final qualifying session at Le Mans, with the two 911 RSR. The six fastest cars from each of the four classes take part in this decisive shootout for the best grid spots on Friday. In the 45-minute qualifying session, the Italian Gianmaria Bruni clocked the fifth-fastest lap time in the GTE-Pro class at the wheel of the No. 91 car. His works driver colleague Michael Christensen from Denmark turned the sixth quickest lap in the identical No. 92 sister car. In the GTE-Am category, three Porsche 911 RSR made it into the new Hyperpole qualifying session. 

With an air temperature of 30 degrees Celsius and a track surface reaching almost 50-degrees, Bruni and Christensen opted for an early attack. Clocking a time of 3:52.036 minutes, the experienced Italian, who had set a qualifying record for GTE vehicles at Le Mans in 2018, initially achieved third place. Christensen lost valuable time in heavy traffic with 57 vehicles on the 13.626-kilometre circuit and slotted into fourth place, around a tenth of a second behind his teammate. When both Porsche 911 RSR launched a final attack shortly before the end of the session, neither Bruni nor Christensen managed to get a free run. Two rivals, however, improved their times and the two works cars from Weissach were relegated to fifth and sixth. 

In the GTE-Am class, three Porsche 911 RSR in last year’s specification will join the Hyperpole field on Friday. Britain’s Benjamin Barker set the third quickest time with the No. 86 entry of Gulf Racing. Works driver Matt Campbell from Australia planted the No. 77 car fielded by Dempsey-Proton Racing on fifth. The Italian Matteo Cairoli secured position six in the No. 56 car of last year’s winning team Project 1.

The new Hyperpole at Le Mans, which determines the final grid allocation of the six fastest cars per class, is held on Friday, 18 September, at 11:30 am. Prior to this, a total of 59 cars will take part in another free practice from 10:00 until 11:00 am. The 88th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway on Saturday, 19 September, at 2:30 pm.

Qualifying quotes

Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “We had a lot of work to do today. The setup that we’d worked out in advance didn’t really work at first. We made many changes so that the drivers could get more comfortable with the handling of the car. Things went significantly better in the second practice session. We made it into the Hyperpole, but we have to do better because we don’t want to start from fifth and sixth, we have to move up at least one more grid row.”

Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “I managed two clean laps. However, the vehicle balance was noticeably better at my first attempt that at the end of the session, so I didn’t manage to improve. This is our first time at Le Mans with the latest Porsche 911 RSR. Our setup is not yet optimal. We’ll look at the data and make improvements to the car for the upcoming sessions.” 

Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “We’re in the Hyperpole – that was our aim. Unfortunately, the gap to the fastest in the qualifying is much larger than we expected. We urgently need to work on that. Still, I see a lot more potential in the car, which we now need to tap into. I’m confident we’ll manage this.”

Qualifying result

GTE-Pro class
1. Sörensen/Thiim/Westbrook (DK/DK/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:50.872 minutes
2. Lynn/Martin/Tincknell (GB/B/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.053 seconds
3. Calado/Pier Guidi/Serra (GB/I/BR), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 0.372 seconds
4. Rigon/Molina/Bird (I/E/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 1.116 seconds
5. Lietz/Bruni/Makowiecki (A/I/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.164 seconds
6. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.270 seconds 
7. MacNeil/Vilander/Segal (USA/FIN/USA), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 1.636 seconds
8. Pla/Bourdais/Gounon (F/F/F), Ferrari 488 GTE, + 1.877 seconds

GTE-Am class
1. Gunn/Dalla Lana/Farfus (GB/CDN/BR), Aston Martin Vantage, 3:52.778 minutes
2. Yoluc/Eastwood/Adam (TR/GB/GB), Aston Martin Vantage, + 0.183 seconds
3. Wainwright/Barker/Watson (GB/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.192 seconds
5. Campbell/Ried/Pera (AUS/D/I), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.556 seconds 
6. Perfetti/ten Voorde/Cairoli (N/NL/I), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.820 seconds
8. Inthraphuvasak/Legeret/Andlauer (T/F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.892 seconds
9. Keating/Fraga/Bleekemolen (USA/BR/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.060 seconds
11. Preining/Bastien/de Leener (A/USA/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 1.503 seconds
17. Felbermayr/Beretta/v. Splunteren (A/I/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, + 3.697 seconds
21. Brooks/Piguet/Laskaratos (F/F/GR), Porsche 911 RSR, + 7.913 seconds

The preview

On September 19th and 20th, Porsche will take on the challenge of the Le Mans endurance classic with vehicles finished with special liveries. The two 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team tackle the hotly contested GTE-Pro class featuring red-white and black-white liveries – to commemorate the first of 19 overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 50 years ago.

With crisp lines and shapes, the special colours of the foil wrapping resemble the digital RSR that successfully contested the virtual Le Mans race on 13-14 June. The two factory cars will carry the lettering “1970” on the front lid and the roof. In that year, Britain’s Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann from Germany clinched the first overall victory at Le Mans for the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart at the wheel of the legendary Porsche 917. On that occasion, the vehicle fielded by Porsche KG Salzburg flew the national colours of Austria. The No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR will race with the very same red-and-white paintwork. On the No. 92 sister car, black replaces the red. Of the ten 911 racing cars to line up on the grid, eight 911 RSR are campaigned by customer teams in the GTE-Am class.

The race on the 13.626-kilometre Circuit des 24 Heures is the highlight of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) every year. Contrary to the original plan, the classic, which was held for the first time in 1923, was deferred to September due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three-month postponement means different weather and light conditions. The latest generation 911 RSR runs for the first time at the world’s greatest long-distance race. The cancellation of the important pretest throws a special challenge at the Porsche GT Team, because testing is not possible on the Circuit des 24 Heures: Most of the storied racetrack in the south of the city of 150,000 consists of public roads. Under normal conditions, hundreds of trucks and cars drive over the famous Mulsanne straight on their way from Le Mans to Tours. Treacherous ruts pose special challenges, especially in the rain.

The Porsche drivers

The regular WEC drivers Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Austria’s Richard Lietz share the wheel of the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR. Like last year, they will receive support from Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki. In 2018 and 2019, the experienced trio achieved second place in the GTE-Pro class. In the identical sister car sporting the starting number 92, the reigning World Endurance Champions Michael Christensen from Denmark and Kévin Estre from France are reinforced by Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor, the defending titleholder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Two years ago, the three drivers brought home a commanding class victory at Le Mans with the 911 RSR decked out in the legendary Pink Pig design. At the 24-hour race in the northwest of France, the WEC awards double points for the individual categories. In the manufacturers’ classification, the Porsche GT Team ranks second after six of eight rounds. The reigning champions Estre/Christensen also sit second in the drivers’ category, with their team colleagues Bruni/Lietz currently in fifth place.

The Porsche customer teams

In the GTE-Am class, three experienced customer squads field a total of eight 2017-spec Porsche 911 RSR. In the cockpit of the No. 56 entry, last year’s Le Mans class-winning Project 1 team put their faith title defender Egidio Perfetti from Norway, the newly crowned champion of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Larry ten Voorde from the Netherlands and Italy’s Matteo Cairoli. The No. 57 sister car is shared by the American Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga from Brazil and Jeroen Bleekemolen from the Netherlands. The team from Lohne in Germany’s Lower Saxony will announce the driver line-up for the No. 89 car at a later date. In the No. 86 entry, Gulf Racing relies on the all-British crew of Benjamin Barker, Michael Wainwright and Andrew Watson.

Dempsey-Proton Racing fields four Porsche 911 RSR at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team owner Christian Ried (Germany) shares driving duties in the No. 77 vehicle with the Australian Porsche works driver Matt Campbell and Riccardo Pera from Italy. Manning the No. 88 sister car is the Porsche Young Professional Thomas Preining from Austria, America’s Dominique Bastien and Adrien de Leener from Belgium. Proton Competition campaign the No. 78 car with drivers Horst Felbermayr Jnr. from Austria, Porsche Supercup rookie champion Max van Splunteren from the Netherlands and Michele Beretta from Italy. In the 99 entry, Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak from Thailand joins forces with the Belgian Lucas Légeret and Julien Piguet from France.

The schedule (all times CEST)

Thursday, 17 September

10:00 am – 01:00 pm: Free practice

02:00 pm – 05:00 pm: Free practice

05:15 pm – 06:00 pm: Qualifying

08:00 pm – midnight: Free practice

Friday, 18 September

10:00 am – 11:00 am: Free practice

11:30 am – 12:00 am: Hyperpole

Saturday, 19 September

10:30 am – 10:45 am: Warm-up

02:30 pm: Start of the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans

Sunday, 20 September

02:30 pm: Finish of the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans

You may not copy, reproduce, republish, translate, download, post, broadcast or transmit any part of the Racing Life website in whole or in part, in any form or medium, except for your own personal, non-commercial use. Contacts

- Advertisement -

More articles

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
- Advertisement -

Latest article