• Golden Anniversary. Porsche Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Le Mans Win. • New York, New York. Porsche Aces Celebrate Top-10 in Virtual Formula E.
Event Story Lines.
Golden Anniversary. Porsche Celebrates 50th Anniversary of First Le Mans Win.
The 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was scheduled for June 13 – 14. Despite the world’s oldest endurance race being postponed until September 19 – 20, the June date remains the 50th anniversary of the first overall win for Porsche on the Circuit de la Sarthe in France. On June 14, 1970, the checkered flag waved to end a spectacular race in chaotic weather. Only 16 of the original 51 starters completed the full 24-hour race distance with just seven of those having traveled far enough to be considered in the final classification. Porsche occupied the entire podium with a one-two-three finish. With 19 overall victories, the German marque holds the distinction as the winningest manufacturer in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The story of Porsche and Le Mans began in 1951. A small group from Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen made its way to the tradition-rich race circuit 125-miles west of Paris with a pair of Porsche 356 SL race cars. One of the two-seater Porsche racers started and won the class for cars with an engine displacement up to 1.1 liters. Since this premiere, race or sports cars from Porsche have started in the 24 Hours of Le Mans every year through to the present-day Porsche 911 RSR factory and customer race cars in the LMGTE-Pro and LMGTE-Am classes. A world record of continuity.
Like Porsche and motorsports, Porsche and Le Mans simply belong together. Ferdinand Porsche (1875 – 1951) was the design engineer at the start of the company’s history and became famous as a result of his designs for legendary race cars. His son Ferry (1909 – 1998) founded the sports car marque. Ferry Porsche saw competition on the racetrack as a cornerstone of the corporate philosophy and was most interested in endurance races for sports cars and prototypes. This is because, unlike formula single-seaters, sports cars could be immediately recognized as a Porsche. There was a direct link between the technology of the racing sports cars and the technology used in series production cars. The durability of the sports-oriented technology at high speeds could only be demonstrated in endurance races. Moreover, the team and the marque were the winners in endurance racing, not the individual drivers like in Formula 1. The most famous of all endurance races was and remains Le Mans.
From the start, there has been a close link between motorsports and sports car construction at Porsche. Up to the end of the 1960s, a large number of employees helped in preparing the race cars ahead of Le Mans. Today, many engineers earn their first intensive training in Porsche motorsports. The auto racing environment provides lessons in the caldron of competition: time pressure is part of the norm, where creativity, the ability to improvise and innovativeness are demanded, and where meeting deadlines is non-negotiable. Peter Falk, Porsche’s long-standing chief race engineer, said: “No race is started later because we are not ready.”
Up to 1981, the testing department was not just responsible for testing and further development of the road sports cars, but also for race car development and motorsport. The links between motorsports and series production could hardly have been closer. Starting in 1982, a separate racing department was created within Porsche. However, the ties remain close as Porsche Motorsport is located at the Development and Research Center in Weissach, Germany. This means that intense technological transfer between the race track and the road still takes place today.
Use of technology in race cars has always been seen as a way of accelerating development. This applied in the past to disc brakes, lightweight construction, fuel injection and the Porsche dual-clutch transmission (PDK) just as much as it does today to high-voltage technology and torque vectoring.
Le Mans represents much more than competition, a technical test laboratory and an advertising platform. While Porsche had remained a constant player at Le Mans in the GT classes, in 2014, the “works” team returned to compete for the overall victory after a 15-year pause. Porsche communicated its “Mission: Our Return.” all over the world. At the headquarters in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, there was a race atmosphere for the whole Le Mans weekend. The Porsche Museum remained open day and night, and people could follow the race live on large screens located in the middle of race cars from previous decades exhibited around them. Thousands came. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, fans celebrated with Porsche: “We have won Le Mans.” Le Mans is part of the company – both in the technology and in the spirit.
New York, New York. Porsche Aces Celebrate Top-10 in Virtual Formula E.
The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team added more points to its tally in the maiden race on the virtual Formula E circuit in New York, New York on Saturday, May 30. Porsche factory driver Neel Jani (Switzerland) was involved in the battle for a spot on the podium for long periods during the sixth race of the ABB Formula E “Race at Home Challenge” before crossing the finishing line in fifth-place. His teammate André Lotterer (Germany) claimed tenth-place in the second virtual Porsche 99X Electric. In the “Challenge Grid” race for sim racers and influencers, which takes place separately, Joshua Rogers (Australia) secured a third-place, celebrating a podium finish in his third appearance of the season for Porsche.
The virtual race in New York’s Brooklyn neighborhood provided plenty of Formula E action. After a strong performance in qualifying, Jani started the race from third on the grid and moved up one position in the first turn. He was on course for a podium finish before a tumultuous final phase. The Swiss driver lost two places on the 11th lap and, after he spun in the final lap, he had to let another competitor pass. Jani then crossed the line in fifth-place. Lotterer also made a good start from tenth-place, moving up one position. However, he slipped back again as the race progressed, finishing where he started. These results saw Jani (10 points) and Lotterer (1 point) score a total of 11 points for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. The grand finale of the “Race at Home Challenge”, featuring two competitive races, is scheduled to take place next weekend. Double points will be up for grabs in both of these final races. Race 1 on Saturday, June 6, will be held on the virtual track in New York while the Grand Finale will take place in Berlin-Tempelhof on Sunday, June 7.
Marco Ujhasi, Manager Esports at Porsche Motorsport.
“We saw some thrilling battles at the sixth round of the ‘Race at Home Challenge’ today. Neel and André were both in the points again on the new virtual circuit in New York. Neel was doing pretty well after recording the third-fastest lap time in qualifying but was not quite able to convert this into the same race result, finishing fifth. Qualifying did not go quite so well for André, but he finished tenth to score another point. Josh put on a great chasing performance in the ‘Challenge Grid’ race and moved up six places. He was rewarded for this with a spot on the podium. It is great that Formula E managed to secure another new race location for the virtual Formula E series with this circuit in New York. We are looking forward to next weekend with New York and Berlin as the venues for the Grand Finale.”
Neel Jani, Driver, No. 18 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“I am very happy with qualifying and I had a good start to the race. Things were then very tight in turn one. I got wedged in, but I still managed to move up to second. I then just concentrated on my race where I showed a good pace. It was a tough battle for the podium. Unfortunately, I spun on the final lap and dropped down to fifth-place. That was a shame, as I hadn’t been so close to a podium finish before that. Nonetheless, we scored some valuable points and overall we are confident heading into the final weekend of the season.”
André Lotterer, Driver, No. 36 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“Qualifying did not go so well, although the lap times in practice actually weren't bad. Once the race started, the going got tough on the first lap. However, I did get through that alright. There was some damage to my car in a battle with Oliver Turvey. In the end, I finished tenth. We could have done better but at least I had a thrilling battle with Oliver.”
Joshua Rogers, Driver, Challenge Race, No. 18 TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric.
“That was an exciting race in New York. I found qualifying difficult. I made a few errors, which meant that I started the race in ninth-place. The start went well though. Some drivers took the inside line on turn one. I went outside and was able to move up a few places – because there were some collisions. I was already up to fifth after turn two and continued to move up. I had a nice battle with Cem Bolukbasi and managed to get past in the end. Improving from ninth to third - that’s a great result. Once again, it was great fun for me to be involved for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.”
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