With less than five hours remaining at Le Mans, Porsche is chasing podium positions in each of its categories: LMP1, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. Podiums are definitely within reach, but with almost a full FIA endurance distance left to run, lots can still happen.
Porsche P2 Le Mans
In LMP1, the lead number 7 Toyota is out. Audi number 1 is in the lead with the number 20 Porsche 919 a lap behind. The number 20 has been suffering from balance issues right through the night. Webber has just handed back to Timo Bernhard: Porsche’s plan is to run as quickly as possible while staying on track without risk. It nearly came a cropper when Brendon made contact with a GT car overnight, but thankfully the Hybrid escaped.
Romain Dumas has just handed over the number 14 919, which is down in fifth place overall. Neel Jani is back in the 919, two laps behind Toyota number 8 in fourth, and ten laps behind the leader. All it takes is a small problem for that car in the pits and seven minutes later, we would be up in P4.
In GTE Pro, the lead 911 was briefly lapped by the Ferrari and Aston in their fight for the class first position. All is not lost: with the two competitors setting fast lap after fast lap in their battle up front, the Aston then had a small underbonnet fire in the pit lane – suspected power steering – and Porsche has seized back second place, and its lost lap. The latest timings show a 1:43 gap to the leading AF Corse 458. This is not insurmountable.
Further back in GTE-Pro, the Prospeed WeatherTech 911 RSR is running with just two drivers: Jeroen Bleekemolen and Cooper MacNeil. Despite puncture after puncture and the obvious risk of fatigue, the 911 is sixth overall. A terrific result for the team so far, and it’s not over yet.
In GTE-Am, former class leaders Dempsey Racing are also in sixth. The team had a shocking three-minute penalty overnight for spinning wheels in the pit lane. Hard to believe such a harsh penalty, but we don’t know the full story. The 95 Aston is leading the category, a few laps ahead of the Proton 911. Aston reliability is not done and dusted, so let’s see how it goes.
To finish one 919 on the podium would be a brilliant result for Porsche. Could two 919s hit the podium? Keep watching.