The question going into this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans was whether or not the Porsche 919 Hybrid would be able to combine its qualifying pace with race reliability. After battling neck-and-neck with Audi's R18 for most of the race, the answer is a resounding yes. Not only did Porsche drivers climb the first two spots on the podium, they did so without any major mishaps on track.
A race that would see the pendulum of momentum swing between Porsche and Audi for several hours as different strategies played out, it was the #19 car that would unexpectedly ease clear in the final quarter thanks to a combination of savvy driving at critical moments and an avoidance of the niggles that would one-by-one steadily stymie its rivals. The car didn't feature so strongly early on, only hitting the front for the first time after the ninth hour having played a supporting role to the sister #17 and #18 919 Hybrids early on in what turned out to be a remarkably closely matched tussle between the Porsches and the Audis. Indeed, coming into the race, the 'wild-card' #19 Porsche was not tipped as an obvious contender, its driving line-up of Hulkenberg, Tandy and Bamber earning headlines, but arguably lacking the experience of both Le Mans and LMP1 to be considered a likely favourite. However, once the #19 car was ahead, it couldn't be ruffled thereafter, with the driving combination of Hulkenberg and Bamber – both Le Mans rookies, as well as Tandy proving quick, consistent and faultless from start to finish.
The win is the first for all three drivers of the No. 19 – Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber, and Nick Tandy and they enjoyed the extraordinary moment between themselves and their loved ones gathered at the foot of the podium awash in the newness of their first win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley in car #17 followed in second only a lap behind Hülkenberg.
LMP1 Le Mans 2015 Race Results
|Pos||No||Team||Driver||Laps||Distance||Average Speed (km/h)|
|1||#19||Porsche 919 Hybrid||HULKENBERG Nico||395||247.1|
|2||#17||Porsche 919 Hybrid||HARTLEY Brendon||394||1 Lap||247.6|
|3||#7||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||TRELUYER Benoit||393||2 Laps||248.5|
|4||#8||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||DI GRASSI Lucas||392||3 Laps||248|
|5||#18||Porsche 919 Hybrid||JANI Neel||391||4 Laps||246.7|
|6||#2||Toyota TS 040 - Hybrid||WURZ Alexander||387||8 Laps||242.1|
|7||#9||Audi R18 e-tron quattro||ALBUQUERQUE Filipe||387||02:35.1||248.2|
|8||#1||Toyota TS 040 - Hybrid||BUEMI Sebastien||386||9 Laps||244.2|
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