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After a strong performance by both 919 Hybrids the Porsche Team was left empty handed after a dramatic final stage of the race. After more than 22 hours the LMP1 crew of car no. 20 (Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber) suffered a powertrain problem at the most famous endurance race in the world. Earlier in the race the car was leading for a significant period. The second innovative and highly complex prototype – in the hands of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb – likewise proved to be very competitive, but was hampered by a drivetrain problem. However, their no. 14 car crossed the finish line under its own power.

After a thrilling start to the race with changing weather conditions, numerous accidents and a relatively calm night, Timo Bernhard took the lead in the Porsche 919 Hybrid. This was after 20 of the 24 hours. At 12:36 on Sunday he handed the leading car over to Mark Webber. Less than 20 minutes later the Australian was forced to slow down and drove solely on electric power back to the pits. The team could not repair the damaged powertrain.

Not even half an hour later, the sister car with Marc Lieb at the wheel had a gearbox failure. Car no. 14 was lying fourth before it was pushed into the garage at 12:54. Shortly before the chequered flag was waived, the Porsche 919 Hybrid returned to track but in the end was not classified.

Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG: “Our return to Le Mans has been a strong team effort. It almost happened that our secret dream came true to top the debut of the Porsche 919 Hybrid with a podium finish. For a remarkable period we were leading the race. I want to thank everyone who contributed with hard work. Now we keep our heads up and will plan an even stronger return for 2015.”

Wolfgang Hatz, Board member for Research and Development Porsche AG: “It was our declared target to finish this race. This didn’t really work out, but at least we have managed to show the huge potential of the 919 Hybrid and its innovative powertrain. We believe in our courageous concept and we will develop it further. We have already started work on the 2015 race car.”

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “This result is not the reward our team deserved after this intense time of preparation work. We have had an unbelievable and unforgettable race with its highs and lows. Everyone in the entire team was working to the limits and never gave up. I am very proud of our team.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal LMP1: “At the moment, of course, there is a lot of disappointment. But if anyone would have told us before the race that the outcome would be what it was, we would have been very happy with it. We have learned a lot for next year and tomorrow we start to prepare for 2015. The drivers and the entire crew – everyone did a great job. We are proud to have brought one car to the finish line. To be able to fight with the other one for the silverware until shortly before the end was the icing on the cake.



Porsche 919 Hybrid (car no 20)
Timo Bernhard: “I think, after all, it was a great return for Porsche – to come back to Le Mans and to the WEC after such a long time. But for me it is very sad because we were fighting very hard – at the end, in fact, also for the victory. It would have been a podium at least. It is hard to take, the guys did a great job. The car was running well. We had some difficult issues with the balance of the car, and it was not easy to drive. But in the end, I was saving fuel and keeping away from the kerbs. And then we had a broken engine, which happened in first gear. But I think the bottom line is, it’s a great return by Porsche.“

Mark Webber: “That was tough for everyone. It would have been such an amazing achievement to go through to the finish. I think we never expected to be in such a great position towards the end of the race. What Porsche did is a very big feather in its cap. Few people know how hard it is to get the cars to this point in the race. I’m really sorry for the guys. There is never ever a good retirement in Le Mans, but today is one of the best you could probably have in a way, because we went so far and we learned so much. If you stop early you learn nothing and it’s tough. When you stop with a lap to go it’s probably even more brutal. It was our first time here at Le Mans and we were very close to the podium.“

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The Porsche Team’s two Porsche 919 Hybrids will start second and fourth in the 24-Hours of Le Mans. The field for the top class prototypes produced a tough battle for pole position – with constant fights in traffic on the legendary 13,629 kilometre long track. For car no. 14 (Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb) it was Romain who achieved the fastest lap time (3min 22.146secs) in the final qualifying session. For car no. 20 (Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber), Timo’s best lap time from the second qualifying session remained its fastest. In the last minutes of the final qualifying, Neel and Brendon were in their respective cars but had no chance of improving because of the ‘so called’ slow-zones for cautions after accidents out on the track.

Wolfgang Hatz, Board member for Research and Development: “The front row in Le Mans has been kind of a secret target, and we have been able to tick it off the list at our first attempt. It is not pole position, but it is totally fine. We knew we would have been fast enough, but in the end we weren’t lucky enough to get a clear lap. Now we will focus on the race and try to avoid mistakes. I am proud of our team and wish everyone all the best.”

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “I think it’s amazing that we really made it to the front and second rows at Le Mans. This is more than we could expect. We did very well in qualifying.”

Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director LMP1: “It was nice to see that our car was competitive on this track as well. It would have been even nicer if we’d had the chance to attack for pole. I believe it was within reach. However, starting second and fourth is an absolutely positive result.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal LMP1: “To me these grid positions are sensational and a great reward for two tough years. For the outside world it might be difficult to imagine how challenging it really was to build up everything from scratch, and we even managed these tricky qualifying situations here in Le Mans with all the interruptions pretty well. The qualifying result is a reward not only for the team here at the track, but also for the guys back home in Weissach.”

Timo Bernhard: “It was a shame I did not find one single clear lap. In the beginning of the third qualifying session I had to deal with slower cars everywhere. It's a pity, because without that we clearly could have been able to improve our lap times. Nevertheless, it was a good fight out there. The car feels fine. From now on, we have to concentrate on the race. We will get into a different rhythm, and I'm looking forward to that. There have already been a lot of accidents this year, so causing many interruptions – which is a bit alarming.“

Brendon Hartley: “It was a tough session out there with slow-zones and red and yellow flags. It was a matter of luck who got a clear lap and who didn’t, which I found a bit frustrating. But I think from the team’s point of view it was a great effort. Second and fourth on the grid at the return of Porsche to the prototype class in Le Mans – this is fantastic.“

Mark Webber: “I did just two timed laps, so it was very quiet for me. We got the car ready for Timo and I had a pretty good feeling for it. The track was a bit green when I was at the wheel and the temperature was a little bit higher compared to last night. However, I’m absolutely ready to race now.“

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After an absence of 16 years, Porsche will once again compete in the top category of what is certainly the world's toughest car race, which starts at 3:00 pm on June 14, 2014. Porsche is fielding its most innovative prototypes at the 24 hours of Le Mans. The two Porsche 919 Hybrid cars with start numbers 14 and 20 will be driven by two trios of drivers: Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), Mark Webber (Australia). These six world-class drivers have between them a total of 37 appearances at Le Mans. Despite being a record holder at Le Mans with 16 overall victories, this year the sports car manufacturer has no experience to benefit from. For the first year of the LMP1 project the target is to get one of the fast Porsche 919 Hybrids to the finish line at the marathon.

Timo Bernhard – 33, Germany.
(7 races: overall victory 2010, class victory GT 2002, 2nd place GTE class 2013, 2nd place GT2 2005)
"In my first start for Porsche in 2002, Le Mans was stunning. And people always asked me: When will you return to the top league. I was involved with the building of the LMP1 team right from the start, and in 2013 I drove at the roll-out, then did testing and development work. The entire time I had the big goal in mind; I can hardly express how much I am ready for it now. The week leading up to the race will still be intensive, right up to the starting ceremony. I always found it satisfying to be the starting driver, and to finally close the door after all the pre-race show was over. And then at some point on this long circuit you find a very special rhythm. Especially at night when everything gets even faster, and when it might drizzle or rain ... It is indescribable; there is a certain magic to it."

Mark Webber – 37, Australia.
(participated 1998 and 1999 at Le Mans but not in the race; 9 Formula-1 victories)
"To return to Le Mans is emotionally very special for me. Le Mans stands for endurance, trial of man and machine, an incredibly long day, often with changing conditions and, above all, there is the teamwork. Naturally, I want to leave here with happier memories than previously, which should not be too difficult. And, of course, I want to win this race sometime. We have a fast car with fantastic technology. I also like the seating position, tucked behind the windscreen, and I am looking forward to the night-time driving at Le Mans. The team is still very young, but the bonding in the team has been very quick. If we were to come up with a good result in our first year that would be a massive statement for Porsche as a brand.


Facts and figures:
• With 16 overall victories, Porsche is the record holder at Le Mans.
• The first Porsche overall victory dates back to 1970 (Hans Herrmann/Richard Attwood in a 917 KH Coupé), and the last victory to date was on June 7, 1998 (Laurent Aiello/Allan McNish/Stéphane Ortelli in a Porsche GT1).
• According to the official archives, 812 Porsche cars have raced at Le Mans, and that too is a record.
• The fastest qualifying lap was driven by Hans-Joachim Stuck in 1985 in a Porsche 962 C (average speed 251.815 km/h). That record will likely stand for eternity, since chicanes installed in 1990 now break up the long Hunaudières straight.
• The longest race distance was covered by Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Mike Rockenfeller in 2010 in their overall victory for Audi, a total of 5,410.713 km (397 laps, average speed 225.45 km/h).
• The Porsche 919 Hybrid car numbers 20 and 14 stand for the year of the return.
• In qualifying (Wednesday and Thursday until midnight), every driver must run at least five laps in the dark. While WEC rules call for averaging the two fastest laps of two drivers (i.e. the mean of four lap times), the classic Le Mans method is to simply take the fastest lap driven with the car.
• The Le Mans night is one of the shortest of the year: the sun sets on Saturday at 9:55 pm, and it rises again on Sunday at 5:53 am.
• In normal racing mode (without any safety car periods), the Porsche 919 Hybrid must refuel every 13 to 14 laps.
• Refuelling and wheel changing may only be made sequentially, not at the same time. Only two mechanics may work simultaneously when wheel changing. That takes a lot longer than in Formula One, for example.
• Drivers are normally only changed when new tyres are needed.
• Two fuel tank fills with one set of Michelin tyres are the absolute minimum; three should be standard, and sometimes it might even be possible to do four – an open issue and a tremendous challenge for the drivers.
• During the race, no driver may drive for more than four hours within a six-hour period. No driver may drive for more than 14 of the 24 hours.
• Due to the length of the circuit, there are three safety cars at Le Mans.
• The equipment taken to the track – in addition to the two race cars – includes a spare chassis, six engines, five front gearboxes, five rear gearboxes, six front wings and six rear wings, 80 rims, over 100 radios and headsets.
• The amount of electrical energy that a driver can use for what is known as boosting is limited. The Porsche 919 Hybrid may consume exactly 1.67 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity on each 13.629 km long lap.
• In 2013, the Le Mans victor completed 348 laps. Over this distance, the 919 Hybrid would generate and utilise 581.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) from its energy recovery systems – an amount of electrical power that would light a 60-Watt incandescent light bulb for a full 9,687 hours. Or expressed differently: this amount of energy would power the new Volkswagen e-Golf, which is currently the most energy-efficient electric car in the compact class, over 4,576 kilometres – enough to drive one-way across the USA from New York to Los Angeles.
• All in all, there is even more honour and glory to be won at Le Mans: twice as many points are awarded than in the other seven races for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) that are each six hours long.
• In the WEC standings, the Porsche team with 36 points is currently behind Toyota (84) and ahead of Audi (28) after two of eight races.
• The Porsche 919 Hybrid was designed and built at the Development Centre of Porsche AG in Weissach. 230 team members work there.
• The core team of Porsche for LMP1 racing at the race circuit in Le Mans consists of 86 team members (engineers, mechanics, team management). Add to that personnel from communication and marketing, sponsoring and driver support.
• For Le Mans week, supplies include well over 1,000 team shirts and other clothing.
• The shopping list for food and refreshments for the team and the media hospitality area include: 50 boxes of salad, 50 kg of strawberries, 300 melons, 1.2 metric tonnes of meat, 500 kg of fish, 600 kg of noodles, 2,000 eggs and 1,100 loaves of bread.
• While most of the team members catch some sleep during the night of the race whenever they have time and space, the drivers have beds in containers located behind the pit. It is impossible to get a quiet rest, sleep from exhaustion is more likely.
• The organiser, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), expects over 250,000 spectators at the race.


Schedule of the Porsche LMP1 team:

The technical inspection of the 56 racing cars, which are subdivided into four classes, is done on the Sunday before the race, June 8, at the Place de la République. A public event in the middle of the city. The scrutineers examine the cars, and the 168 drivers must present their paperwork. The Porsche LMP1 team is scheduled for this inspection on Sunday between 3:15 pm and 4:15 pm. The last teams will complete this technical part of the administration by 6:00 pm on Monday.

Tuesday, June 10:
2:00-2:30 pm Porsche team photo (LMP1) at start/finish line
2:30-3:00 pm Meet the team (LMP1), team and media hospitality
5:00-6:30 pm Autograph session, pit lane

Wednesday, June 11:
2:30-3:00 pm Meet the team (LMP1), team and media hospitality
4:00-8:00 pm Free practice
10:00 pm-midnight Qualifying

Thursday, June 12:
3:30-4:00 pm Meet the team (LMP1), team and media hospitality
7:00-9:00 pm Qualifying
10:00 pm-midnight Qualifying

Friday, June 13:
10:00 am - 8:00 pm Pit walk
1:00-2:00 pm Porsche press conference in the large guest hospitality area
5:30-7:30 pm Driver parade in the downtown area

Saturday, June 14:
09:00-09:45 Warm-up
2:22 pm Beginning of race start ceremony
3:00 pm Start of race

• Live communication from the box on Twitter @PorscheRaces.
• You can experience the race from an in-vehicle perspective and track the vehicles by GPS and live timing at www.porsche.com/mission2014.

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Next Events

20.09.2014    6h Austin (USA)

12.10.2014    6h Fuji (J)

02.11.2014    6h Shanghai (CN)

15.11.2014    6h Bahrain (BAH)

30.11.2014    6h Sao Paulo (BR)

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