Skip to main content

Porsche delivers a one-two punch to Audi at the 24 Hours of Le Mans

With high-tech cars, blistering speed, and two clock rotations worth of action, there’s no bigger stage in the world of racing than the 24 Hours of Le Mans and, this year, it belongs to Porsche. The German carmaker pulled off a 1-2 victory at the historic French race this past weekend.

Porsche has won Le Mans more times than any other manufacturer. The victory this past weekend brought its total to 17 and broke the dominance of fellow Volkswagen Group property Audi, which won 13 of the previous 15 races, including the last five in a row.

The Porsche factory team normally races two 919 Hybrid prototypes in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) series, but it added a third car specifically for Le Mans. That car, the number 19 driven by Earl Bamber, Niko Hulkenberg, and Nick Tandy, took the checkered flag.

The number 17 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber came home second, while the number 18 car of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb finished off the podium in fifth.

Porsche got off to a good start in qualifying, when one of the cars set a lap record of 3:16.887. The cars started off 1-2-3, with the eventual winner beginning the race in third place. Each car’s three drivers rotated driving duties throughout the 24-hour race, with the winning car covering the equivalent of over 3,000 miles.

Completing a race that long requires durability and luck, as well as speed. While Audi driver Andre Lotterer managed to set an in-race lap record of 3:17.476, Audi’s R18 e-tron quattro racers spent too much of the race in the garage with mechanical maladies and crash damage.

This was only Porsche’s second year competing for an overall win at Le Mans since its last victory in 1998, and was one of the most intense years of competition in recent memory. In addition to the Porsche/Audi duel, the Toyota TS040 Hybrid returned as the reigning WEC winner, while Nissan put its radical front-wheel drive GT-R LM NISMO on track for the first time.

Per Le Mans rules, all of these cars use hybrid powertrains of one sort or another. Yet the Audi, Porsche, Nissan, and Toyota designs are all significantly different from each other, giving fans some variety that isn’t typically seen in top-level racing these days.

In addition to these purpose-built prototypes, Le Mans also includes classes for modified production cars. In the top GTE Pro class, the number 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R triumphed over Porsche 911s, Aston Martin Vantages, and Ferrari 458 Italias.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
24 Hours of Le Mans again proves to be one of the toughest tests in racing
2017 24 Hours of Le Mans

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the toughest tests in motor sports, and this year's race proved it. After 24 hours of drama, those with a reason to celebrate were teams from Porsche, Aston Martin ... and Jackie Chan.

Like 2016, the 2017 race was a heartbreaker for Toyota, which came in with high hopes of achieving its first Le Mans victory, but went away disappointed. Porsche scored its 19th win in the legendary endurance race while, due to high attrition in the top LMP1 class, one of Jackie Chan DC Racing's lower-level LMP2 cars scored a podium. Aston Martin took the win in the GTE class, the top class for production-based cars.

Read more
Become a 24 Hours of Le Mans expert with this quick primer

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is arguably the most prestigious event on the racing calendar, and that’s because it really has it all. As one of the oldest and most bitterly contested motor sport events around, Le Mans has plenty of history. The track, known as the Circuit de La Sarthe, is one of the most challenging in the world. Le Mans is also an endurance race, testing the stamina of drivers, teams, and cars as they go twice around the clock. As the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway, here’s a primer on this legendary race.
How to watch, stream, or listen
Fox Sports will show most of the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans, but coverage will alternate between Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. Here’s the schedule:

June 17 -- FS1 8:30 am to 10:00 am
June 17 -- FS2 1:00 pm to 1:00 am (June 18)
June 18 -- FS1 1:00 am to 9:30 am

Read more
How to keep up with 24 hours of Le Mans online
how to keep up with 24 hours of le mans online watch

They say slow and steady wins the race, but Aesop never saw a Porsche.

This weekend marks the 85th installment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest active sports car endurance race. True to its name, the race is a 24-hour endurance run on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a roughly 8.5-mile track in Le Mans, France. The winner is the car that travels the greatest distance in those 24 hours. As one of the three events that form the Triple Crown of Motorsport -- along with the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix -- Le Mans is one of the most prestigious racing competitions in the world.

Read more