All eyes were on Porsche at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as they celebrated 70 years of racing. With four 911s on the grid, the Porsche GT Teams had one goal: to secure class victory with one of their cars. And that they did.
The full season FIA World Endurance Championship duo of Porsches were given a paint job, so that their liveries matched the Rothmans 1982-87 livery (#91) and the retro ‘Pink Pig’ (#92). The two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar cars retained the modern livery. Porsche were the commanding force from the beginning of the week to the end, and even when there was a BoP shift on Friday evening, they still held onto a competitive advantage throughout the race.
The biggest highlight of the weekend was the blistering lap time that Gianmaria Bruni set to claim class pole position during his first lap of the first qualifying session. The magnificent 3:47.504 was untouchable, with the closest car being 1.5 seconds off.
Sadly for Porsche, it could not be the top four lock out in the race that they were probably hoping for, as neither of the IMSA cars managed to make it to the chequered flag. It was the “Pink Pig” #92 that took the glory for Porsche, with the pole-sitting #91 helping to secure the top two places in class at the 24-hour mark.
Porsche were not the only team celebrating an anniversary this year, with Corvette Racing in their 20th season of racing and their 19th consecutive Le Mans entry, the most of any manufacturer in the history of the race. Corvette will round of their 20th year of competing on the race track by joining the WEC in Shanghai for the last race of 2018.
BoP was the talking point of Le Mans, as it usually tends to be in the LM GTE classes. Seeming to affect Aston Martin Racing, BMW Team MTEK and Corvette most, they were on the back foot all weekend, unable to make any headlines and Porsche and Ford Chip Ganassi raced off ahead of them. This was something that had been suggested at the first race of the Super Season, 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, where Porsche and Ford had also been dominant over the rest of the field.
Hopefully this will not remain to be the case in the Pro class, as usually it provides one of the best racing spectacles on the WEC grid. Notably the battle for class victory at last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Jonny Adam and Ricky Taylor had an immense three-lap battle in the Aston Martin and Corvette respectively for the closing stages of the race, ending with Adam claiming the win. So long as BoP doesn’t dictate the show and all five manufacturers can compete against each other it should turn out to be the most thrilling class of the season.