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Porsche's victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (IV)


On the eve of the 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we review each of Porsche's 18 victories in the mythical endurance test.

1996
Winning car: Porsche TWR WSC-95
Pilots: Davy Jones (United States), Alexander Wurz (Austria) and Manuel Reuter (Germany)
Laps around the circuit: 354
Distance traveled: 4.814,4 km
Average speed: 200,6 km / h

A year in which Porsche not only made a 1-2-3 overall, but also claimed victories in the LMP1, GT1 and GT2 categories. The TWR WSC-95 prototype from the customer team Reinhold Joest with a carbon fiber monocoque body and chassis was powered by the three-liter turbo engine of the legendary 962. With this car Manuel Reuter, Alexander Wurz and Davy Jones achieved absolute victory. In the GT1 category the first mid-engined 911 in history was intractable. Not only did he make it 1-2 but he occupied the second and third place in the general classification. The winning 911 GT1 was driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck, Bob Wollek and Thierry Boutsen; they were followed by Karl Wendlinger, Yannick Dalmas and Scott Goodyear. In the GT2 category the German team Roock Racing was the winner with a 911 GT2.

1997
Winning car: Porsche TWR WSC-95
Pilots: Michele Alboreto (Italy), Stefan Johannson (Sweden) and Tom Kristensen (Denmark)
Laps around the circuit: 361
Distance traveled: 4.909,6 km
Average speed: 207 km / h

The TWR WSC-95 prototype from customer team Reinhold Joest, which had achieved victory in 1996, crossed the finish line in first place again in 1997. This time it was driven by two Formula 1 veterans, Italian Michele Alboreto and the Swede Stefan Johannson, and a young Dane who would get his first victory at Le Mans, Tom Kristensen, who at the end of his career would accumulate nine absolute titles in the mythical endurance race; a record that will last for many years. The victory came after the abandonments due to mechanical problems of the 911 GT1 (winner of its category in 1996) and another 911 GT1 that led the race.

1998
Winning car: Porsche 911 GT1-98
Pilots: Laurent Aïello (France), Allan McNish (Scotland) and Stéphane Ortelli (Monaco)
Laps around the circuit: 351
Distance traveled: 4.783,78 km
Average speed: 4.783,78 km

Porsche celebrated its 50th anniversary with a 1-2 at Le Mans. This time the protagonist was a 911 GT1-98 developed completely from scratch. It was the first car with a carbon fiber body entirely developed by Porsche. Like the 911 GT1 it had its 3.2-liter boxer engine located in front of the rear axle. The so-called 'Battle to Win or Die' was given by Toyota until almost the end of the race. On Sunday morning it appeared that the Japanese team would win the title when a water line to Allan McNish's 911 broke and shortly after Joerg Mueller followed by a chicane and destroyed the underbody of his vehicle. Both Porsche were in the pits for more than half an hour. The Toyota passed in front, but began to have problems with its gearbox. At 90 minutes from the end of the race McNish was 44 seconds behind the Toyota. Five minutes later the Scotsman reported that the rival car had stopped to one side of the track.

2015
Winning car: Porsche 919 Hybrid
Pilots: Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Nick Tandy (England) and Nico Hülkenberg (Germany)
Laps around the circuit: 395
Distance traveled: 5.382,82 km
Average speed: 244,387 km / h

Porsche had to wait 17 years to get back on the podium at Le Mans in the top flight and live a 2014 of learning after his return to Le Mans, Porsche was forced to win in 2015. The good atmosphere started with the pole position made by Neel Jani, the first for Stuttgart since 1997. In a brilliant race Porsche always kept Audi under control, winner of 13 of the previous 15 editions at Le Mans (the last five in a row). In the end, Porsche made it 1-2. The first Audi to cross the finish line came two laps behind the winning car.

2016
Winning car: Porsche 919 Hybrid
Pilots: Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany)
Laps around the circuit: 384
Distance traveled: 5.233,53 km
Average speed: 218,06 km / h

The 84th edition of Le Mans proved once again that races only end when the checkered flag is lowered. From midnight on Saturday the duel between Porsche and Toyota for the victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans intensified (Audi was already a little behind). Before the last lap, it seemed that Toyota was going to occupy the highest step of the podium but, suddenly, its prototype was losing power until it came to a complete stop on the track. Only one lap later the Porsche 919 Hybrid marked with the number 2 and shared by the French Romain Dumas, the Swiss Neel Jani and the German Marc Lieb saw the checkered flag first. With 18 overall victories, Porsche came of age at the Sarthe.

SEE ALSO
Porsche's victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (I)
Porsche's victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (II)
Porsche's victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (III)

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Automundo

Automundo is the blog about news from the automotive industry, motorsport and the culture of the region. Director: Diego Durruty.

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