Porsche made history again at Le Mans, triumphing in the final GTE-Pro class event at the world's toughest endurance race.
The Porsche crew of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki crossed the finish line in first place at the end of an intense and emotional 350-lap race.
The trio at the wheel of the Porsche 911 RSR with start number 91, thus set a new distance record for GTE cars: 2951 miles (4769 kilometers).
The #92 sister car of Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor finished the 90th edition of the endurance classic in fourth place. In the GTE-Am category, the Porsche customer team WeatherTech Racing finished on the podium.
For Porsche the era of the GTE-Pro class has come to an end with a victory at Le Mans. It couldn't be any better.
The two Porsche 911 RSRs initially secured positions three and four on hot asphalt at the race start on Saturday. Their great moments then followed as the sun began to set: Due to cooler temperatures, the two race cars with 515 hp (378 kW) were able to use the maximum grip of the tires over long distances and drive to the front. Following a drive-through penalty for leaving the track, the winning car then got through without further incident and benefited, among other things, from the bad luck of the competition.
The #91 Porsche was driven to the finish by Frédéric Makowiecki. It was the Frenchman's first class win at Le Mans: "Finally! For nine years I've been trying again and again, and now I'm at the top of the podium," cheers the Porsche works driver, nicknamed Fred Mako.
The 911 RSR, which last competed at Le Mans as a factory race car, crossed the finish line with a lead of 42.684 seconds.
Its sister car #92 was unfortunately out of luck. The trio of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor - class winners at Le Mans 2018 - had been leading the race until sunrise. Then came the setback: the right front tire burst and shredded parts of the car's front end. Consequently, the team lost three laps and finished in fourth place overall.
"When our car number 92 had a puncture while in the lead, we thought it might all be over. But Corvette's competitors were unlucky as well. Precisely at that moment, we were on the spot with car number 91 - for nobody gave up: neither the drivers nor the team. We have been suitably rewarded for the hard and consistent work which also took place in the background. It just feels great!" cheers Thomas Laudenbach, Head of Porsche Motorsport.
"I was present for the first victory of a factory RSR at Le Mans in 2013 and also for the last performance of the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans. That's a wonderful story.
At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the third race of the season in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC, double world championship points are awarded. Le Mans enabled Porsche to extend its top position in the manufacturers' standing: The new class winners Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz have consequently taken the lead in the drivers' standings. The fourth round of the season takes place at the Italian Formula 1 circuit in Monza on July 10.
With 19 total victories and 109 class wins in the now almost 100-year history of Le Mans, record winner Porsche reinforces its success statistics at the Circuit des 24 Heures. Porsche is unchallenged at the top.
Next year, Porsche will compete with the new LMDh bolide in the hypercar class.