Porsche achieved its third consecutive victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 19th in history in the legendary endurance event. This new success of the 919 Hybrid on the La Sarthe circuit came after a dramatic run.
At 18:30 on Saturday afternoon, the 24 Hours of Le Mans looked finished for the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Germany's Timo Bernhard and New Zealanders Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.
His car ran out of front axle traction, he had to go into the pits, and the mechanics worked on him for an hour and five minutes. He returned to the track in position 56, with 18 laps lost (about 245 kilometers behind the leader).
But the 85th edition of the French competition underwent such drastic changes that the impossible finally became a reality: After enormous effort, the trio managed to move from penultimate position to outright victory.
Earl Bamber achieved his second overall victory at Le Mans at the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid, following the one he won in 2015. Also for Timo Bernhard it was the second overall victory at Le Mans. After harvesting the first one in 2010, when he was loaned out to race with Audi, he dreamed of one day repeating it with Porsche. Brendon Hartley was the hungriest of the six Porsche LMP team drivers, as his name was not yet engraved on this immortal trophy.
When the twin car with number 1 came to a stop on the track shortly after 11am, having led the race for more than ten hours, the decisive moment arrived. Hartley had been steadily improving over the course of his multiple stint.
After 312 laps, he entered for his last refueling stop and, at the end of lap 325, he handed over the car to Bernhard in fourth position. At 12:50 p.m., the 919 Hybrid was on the same lap as the leading car of the race (it was turn 330).
All the official hybrid cars in the LMP1 category were either already retired or long overdue and one LMP2 was in the lead. After 338 laps, Bernhard entered to refuel and on lap 347 he managed to reach the lead and take first place. His penultimate stop to refuel came at lap 351 and, subsequently, he made a mini stop after lap 360 to refuel just to finish. After 367 laps, Bernhard crossed the checkered flag to fulfill his dream.