Porsche 919 breaks Le Mans qualifying record
The number 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Dumas, Jani, and Lieb will start the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans on pole this Saturday.
On June 10th Swiss driver Neel Jani set the fastest time in qualifying in 3m 16.887sec.
Porsche has swept the top three positions starting the race from 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
Joining the number 18 Porsche on the front row will be another Porsche 919 Hybrid, the number 17 in the hands of Webber, Bernhard, and Hartley followed by number 19 the third Porsche 919 Hybrid in the hands of Hulkenberg, Bamber, and Tandy.
Porsche 919 Hybrid starting Positions:
Pos. Drivers Car Qualifying Time 1. Jani/Lieb/Dumas Porsche 919 Hybrid 3m 16.887s 2. Webber/Hartley/Bernhard Porsche 919 Hybrid 3m 17.767s 3. Hulkenberg/Tandy/Bamber Porsche 919 Hybrid 3m 18.862s
Both the number 18 pole sitter Porsche 919 and number 17 second place broke Peugeot 908’s qualifying lap record of 3:18.51 from 2008.
A qualifying video from Le Mans for the famous 24h race, featuring the Porsche 919 Hybrid and the Porsche 911 RSR on the demanding Circuit des 24 Heures.
PRESS RELEASE- 24 Hours of Le Mans
Porsche 919 beats all records!
As expected, this first day will be have been marked by the domination of the Porsche 919 Hybrid cars during the first qualifying practice and who totally smashed the record of the track. But let’s be careful, Audi isn’t far behind. In LM P2, an Oreca 05 from Team KCMG finished in front whereas the Aston Martins excelled in LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am.
During the free practice sessions that took place between 4 and 8pm, the competitors began carefully on a drying track after the afternoon rain. The red flag was presented only 5 minutes after the opening of the track because of an immobilized driver who had made a mistake (without any other consequence other than this neutralization) at braking point in the chicane Forza Motorsport (first of the two chicanes on the Hunaudieres).
The British driver Richard Bradley was the cause of this behind the steering wheel of the Oreca 05 n°47 of the Hong Kong team KCMG. The prototype LM P2 was brought back to the pits on the breakdown truck. A little later, the same Richard Bradley did the best time of the free session on this Oreca 05 n°47.
Audi and Toyota, then Porsche, accelerate
A few minutes after the restart of the session, the prototypes Audi and Toyota were the first to produce significant timing. Just before 6pm the first offensive of the Porsche cars 919 Hybrid saw Mark Webber and Nicky Tandy establish the first references of the evening with 3’22. 228 and 3’22.819 on the n°17 and n°19. Marc Lieb wasn’t late to slip in his n°18 between its team cars with 3’22.491. Marc Webber came very close to the 2014 pole position with 3’21.796 and beat the score with 3’21,362.
41 minutes of neutralization
At 6.14pm the session was neutralized because of a contact of the Oreca 03R n°48 with the American driver Mark Patterson on the inside of the Porsche corner and because of the immobilization of the Rebellion R-One n°13 at the beginning of the Hunaudieres straight. The session restarted at 6.55pm. Loïc Duval placed the Audi n°8 between the three Porsche cars. Timing decreased but with the rain that seemed to come back on the circuit, the enthusiasm of the head drivers was held back.
Only Romain Dumas was to be faster in his n°18 but his timing wasn’t taken into consideration because of a non valid trajectory in the Ford corner. The four wheels of his Porsche 919 Hybrid n°18 had crossed the limits of the track to avoid a Ferrari GT.
Mark Webber, the fastest driver of the free practice sessions
If we go by the performances, this session of free practice, with 50 minutes less, was therefore dominated by Mark Webber’s Porsche 919 Hybrid n°17 who kept the best time with 3’21 362. A faster timing than the 2014 pole position but not as fast as his team driver Brendon Hartley (3’21.062) during the Test Day on the 31st May.
At 10pm, after two hours of pause, the first session of qualifying practice begun. A breathtaking session with the Porsche 919 Hybrid constantly on the alert. Neel Jani and Timo Bernhardt were successively beating the lap record in qualifying by establishing times of 3’16. 887 and 3’17.767. The last record dates back in 2008 and was established by Stéphane Sarrazin in a Peugeot 908. An exceptional performance with regards to the 24 Hours of Le Mans regulations set up in 2014 that allowed to reduce the consumption of LM P1 prototypes by nearly 25% equal performance, if not better as we can see with these records.
At 10.55pm, three cars, the Audis R18 n°7 and n°9 as well as the Gibson 0155 n°41 were said to be in difficulty in different areas around the circuit provoking the neutralization of the qualifying session during 30 minutes. If the two Audis were able to regain the pits, the damaged n°41 driven by Gaëtan Paletou, had to be freed of the protections at Mulsanne.
At the end of these qualifying sessions, the Porsche 919 Hybrid n°18 (Dumas, Jani, Lieb) signed the best timing with 3’16″887 in front of its team car, n°17 (Webber, Bernhard, Hartley) at 8 tenths and the third Porsche 919 Hybrid n°19 (Tandy, Hulkenberg, Bamber) at 2,4 seconds. Then follow the three Audis R18 e-tron Quattro n°8, n°9 and n°7 placing themselves between 3 and 5 seconds from the Porsche cars. Then come the Toyotas n°2 and n°1 who remained behind their competitors Audi and Porsche at nearly 7 seconds. The first private cars of Rebellion Racing placed themselves at 9 and 15 seconds in front of the first Nissan GTR LM Nismo, n°23 which continued its progress with 3’38″488.
The fastest LM P2 is the Oreca05 Nissan n°47 (Lapierre, Bradley, Howson) with 3’38″032. In LM GTE Pro, the best time goes to the official Aston Martin (McDowall, Rees, Stanaway) n°99 with 3’54″928 and in LM GTE Am another Aston Martin n°98 (Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda) with 3’55″102.
Return of the 56 competitors of the 24 Hours of Le Mans tomorrow as from 7pm for another four hours of qualifying practice (7pm-9pm and 10pm-midnight).
The departure of the 83rd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be given on Saturday 13th June at 3.00pm.