The Critic's Corner.
    Points of Note in this article... This result is not the reward our team deserved after this intense time of preparation work.
    OFFICIAL #WEC Report: Toyota - WEC, LMP1, Round 3, Le Mans, Race 15/06/2014 7:07pm
    2014 June 15
    Branding for Porsche, WEC 2014 - Round 3, Le Mans, Qualifying. Image © Porsche - 13th Jun 2014 -

    2014: WEC 24hrs Le Mans/France - Le Mans - WEC - 2014 - Le Mans - WEC 24hrs Le Mans/France

    OFFICIAL #WEC Report: Porsche - WEC, LMP1, Round 3, Le Mans, Race

    Read The twenty four hour log by Porsche here...

    24 hours of Le Mans - Porsche 919 Hybrid (LMP1) - after 90 minutes

    Porsche Team experiences difficult start in Le Mans

    Stuttgart. The two Porsche 919 Hybrids have completed the first of the 24 racing hours at Le Mans. Neel Jani started in car No 14 from the front row of the grid and held third place after the opening lap. Thirty minutes into the race, however, the Swiss driver came into the pits for an unscheduled stop. The team found a problem with the fuel flow and fixed it. After nine minutes Jani was able to re-join the race in 51st position and lies now 48th.

    Timo Bernhard in the Porsche 919 Hybrid No 20 started from P4. In the opening phase of the race he suffered a problem with the boost and consequently lost three positions. After 90 minutes a heavy shower made parts of the circuit very wet and led to several incidents. At the time the Safety-Car came out the German had progressed to third place.


    24 hours of Le Mans - Porsche 919 Hybrid (LMP1) - after five hours

    Pre-evening thriller in Le Mans

    Stuttgart. After five of the 24 hours of Le Mans the Porsche Team is lying third and sixth with the two Porsche 919 Hybrids.

    In the late afternoon and early evening both prototypes caught up to the competition with Timo Bernhard and Neel Jani still at the wheel of their cars. The improvements were thanks to good pit stop strategies and great efforts from the drivers in difficult conditions. At the restart after the first safety car period both cars had to survive for about two laps on rain tyres on a drying track before the next shower came. Further accidents required a second safety car period. After this, shortly before 18:00, Timo Bernhard took the lead.

    At 18:17 Timo handed over the number 20 leading car to Brendon Hartley. Meanwhile track conditions allowed for slick tyres. Neel Jani had improved from the back of the pack to 15th. At 18:20 he jumped out oft he car and Marc Lieb took over. Later both Brendon and Neel later came in for regular stops for refueling. Brendon, however, also came in for an unscheduled pit stop at 19:33, when he realised he had a slow puncture. He dropped back to third. Marc had improved to sixth when he brought car number 14 in for refueling again shortly before 20:00.
    Timo Bernhard (Germany): "In the opening phase the car felt quite tricky to drive, but that improved after a few laps. We were really fast in the rain and employed the right strategy. My experience from several years at Le Mans helped me a lot during this stage of the race, but it was still extremely difficult. We had all kinds of conditions that you could imagine out there, from zero vision to a completely dry track, and everything in between. All this within a single lap. That was absolutely crazy, and I have never experienced anything like it. Only on the Nurburgring Nordschleife have I ever seen similar conditions, if at all. All in all it was a really good stint. To put a Porsche in front of this race for the first time after the company’s comeback was definitely a great moment. Now we have to make sure we keep doing a zero-error job."
    Neel Jani (Switzerland): "It was extremely difficult out on the track. At the start we had a little fight against a Toyota and an Audi. Then I settled into fourth. Especially in the last sector, they were a lot faster than me, so I really had to fight. And then came this silly failure with the fuel system with a part that would have cost a penny! That was a real shame. The guys were able to fix it quite quickly. During the rain our only aim was to keep the car on the track. We will keep on pushing, then we might still get our break to get closer to the front."


    24 hours of Le Mans - Porsche 919 Hybrid (LMP1) - after nine hours

    Midnight at Le Mans: Race enters day two

    Stuttgart. After nine of the 24 hours of Le Mans the Porsche Team is lying 4th and 5th with the two Porsche 919 Hybrids.

    Marc Lieb took over car No 14 from Neel Jani in 15th position. The Swiss had driven the prototype at the start and had to pit early in order to have a problem with the fuel system fixed. During his turn, Lieb improved into 6th position. At 8:40 pm he handed the Porsche 919 Hybrid over to Romain Dumas. The Frenchman continued to make up positions and gained P5. At 11:12 pm Neel Jani took the wheel again.

    The Porsche 919 Hybrid No 20 was handed over from Brendon Hartley to Mark Webber shortly after 9 pm. A braking misjudgement at Arnage had cost the young New Zealander a little time. Webber rejoined the track in 4th position. At 11:43 pm the Australian undertook the No 20’s first quadruple stint of the race.


    Driver’s quotes
    Marc Lieb:
    "My first stint was rather difficult. I started when the track was partly dry and still partly wet in places. Therefore I wasn’t quite sure how much I could push. At first the tyre pressure on the rear went up, probably because I pushed a little too hard in the damp sections. Because of the tyre pressure issue the car balance was not quite as I would have liked it to be. In my second and third stint it was much better, though. There were no further problems at all, the car is running fine, everything ok. We’ll see where this is going to take us in the end."
    Romain Dumas: "The car felt OK. It’s never easy to jump into the car and do your first stint. But everything looks OK, we just have to continue like that. Of course we cannot regain what we lost at the beginning, but we keep on going. The traffic out there is not easy, but it’s the same for everybody, so we have to deal with it."
    Brendon Hartley: "This was my first turn at Le Mans with Porsche and I had a great time out there. We made one early stop because something felt a bit strange on the car. We weren’t sure if it wasn’t a puncture, so we pitted and the guys investigated it. The car is running fine and we are still close. We even led for a little while. Toyota had a little bit more pace so we couldn’t maintain it. But still everything is running smooth."


    24 hours of Le Mans - Porsche 919 Hybrid (LMP1) - after 15 hours

    Dawn at Le Mans: Convincing Night Shifts by all Porsche 919 Hybrid Drivers

    Stuttgart. After 15 of the 24 hours of Le Mans the Porsche Team has moved further up the order. The two Porsche 919 Hybrids are now running 2nd and 5th.

    Despite slight problems with the car balance Mark Webber in car No 20 stayed out for a quadruple stint. 46 minutes after midnight he was replaced by Timo Bernhard who also did four stints. Before the German turned the car over to Brendon Hartley at 3:37 am he had advanced to P3 thanks to a consistently quick drive. The young New Zealander however had a little moment when he touched a slower car while lapping it. Luckily, the incident did not have any further consequences. At 5:10 am Hartley moved up into 2nd place.

    Neel Jani in the No 14 Porsche 919 Hybrid also managed to do four stints. The Swiss driver put in fast laps for 191 full minutes. At 2:23 am he handed the car over to Marc Lieb. The German had to make an unscheduled stop at 3:46 am for a repair. Again it was the fuel system playing up. Lieb rejoined the race after 17 minutes in 6th position. By 6:00 am at dawn he had moved up to 4th before a little off, shortly before the driver change, put him back to 5th place.


    Drivers’ quotes:
    Mark Webber:
    "I did four stints in row until after midnight. My first stints really racing at Le Mans have been a great experience for me. The car was running pretty well despite fighting a small chassis issue which compromises the car and brake balances. Brendon and I both ran into the escape road once. We keep adjusting the balance in the cockpit which keeps us pretty busy. The team in the pit lane is doing a great job."
    Timo Bernhard: "The quadruple stint to half past three in the morning wasn’t easy. We still have some issues with the balance of the car, which makes it difficult to drive. Nevertheless our lap times have been quite consistent and we managed to gain a position."
    Neel Jani: "In the night it went quite well. When it is cooler, it is easier for us. The car felt better after we had struggled a bit in the heat. The lap times were good and at the level of the leading cars. We could catch up a bit and that is always fun."


    24 hours of Le Mans - Porsche 919 Hybrid (LMP1) - after 21 hours

    Porsche 919 Hybrid leading in Le Mans

    Stuttgart. With three of the 24 hours of Le Mans to go, the Porsche Team is leading the race with one of the two Porsche 919 Hybrids, while the sister car is lying in fifth.

    Since Brendon Hartley moved up to second at 05:10 early on Sunday morning, the no. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid has kept running consistently. At about six in the morning Mark Webber got behind the wheel again and did another quadruple stint. After three and a half hours he handed the car over to Timo Bernhard. When the leading Audi had to pit for repairs at around 11am, the Porsche 919 Hybrid took the lead again.

    The sister no. 14 car, running in fifth, was taken over by Romain Dumas in the morning at 06:03. The Frenchman also did a quadruple stint and stayed in the car longer than any other Porsche driver - 57 laps or almost 777 kilometres. At 09:42 Neel Jani jumped into no. 14 car and at noon the Swiss was still in fifth.


    Drivers’ quotes:
    Marc Lieb:
    "Unfortunately we had a long stop because of a fuel pressure problem, but afterwards we were fighting with the remaining Toyota for fourth. Then I made a mistake when braking a little late before Indianaplis and got stuck in gravel. I am angry with myself, until then the early morning was just great."
    Brendon Hartley: "I did a triple stint at night and I enjoyed it a lot, it is my favourite part of Le Mans. We clearly don't have the pace of the Audi, but it is the next day and we are still in the fight for the top podium spots."
    Mark Webber: "I drove another quadruple stint, 53 laps, in the car. The car felt similar to how it was last night. Not easy to drive, but we cannot make this better during the race. We have decided to increase the pace a bit in order to keep the Audis away. In general I would say it is running very well."
    Romain Dumas: "I have been in the car for quite a long time, more than three and a half hours. It was a good effort. The car is getting better the more rubber goes down on the track, and we have good speed. We had some issues as well, but we keep fighting back."


    24 hours of Le Mans - Porsche 919 Hybrid (LMP1) - Finish

    Strong performance by the two Porsche 919 Hybrids but no dream ending

    Stuttgart. 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 Muller, 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."


    Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director LMP1: "Congratulations to Audi for the well deserved victory. Certainly we are disappointed, because such a good result seemed to be within reach for us too. But still we can be proud of what we have achieved. We have proven that we have got a fast car and our competition has taken notice of the 919 Hybrid. It was our target to finish the race, but in a different way than we did. I am looking forward to the remaining races of the FIA World Endurance Championship and to Le Mans 2015. Today the car was not always easy to handle and our drivers did a great job. I want to thank them for that."


    Porsche 919 Hybrid (car no 14)
    Neel Jani:
    "Our car ran really well. At times we have been right at the front. Because such a huge potential was there, I am very disappointed about the result. On the other hand, we always knew that sustainability was crucial and difficult to achieve quickly."
    Marc Lieb: "I am rather lost for words, because it is hard to deal with incidents like those that occurred during the race. The no. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid had a really fantastic race. They had no problems at all until shortly before the end. On the other hand, our no. 14 car was slowed down by some minor technical failures, which forced us to stop several times in the pits. Nevertheless, we did the best we could. Some one and a half hours before the chequered flag there was a bigger problem. The team managed to get the car running again and we finally managed to cross the line."


    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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