SEF Ambassadors celebrate Podiums at 24 hours of Le Mans
Thursday 21st June 2018
A crowd of 256,900 saw the 86th running of 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a record entry of 60 cars, 7 manufacturers and over 180 drivers 15 of them SEF Ambassadors (Oliver James Webb, Andy Priaulx, Sam Bird, Phillip Eng, Gianmaria Bruni, Kevin Estre, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber, Sven Muller, Francesco Castellacci, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz, Ben Barker, Khalid Al Qubaisi, Matteo Cairolli).
The race is a gruelling test of man and machine against the world’s toughest longest race with over 388 laps covered, all the cars combined will complete around 15,000 laps and travel almost 200,000km, about five times around the Earth, over the course of the 24-hour race an LMP1 car will make around 30 pit stops totalling 40 minutes in the pits, a GT car will make fewer but will still spend around 40 minutes in total. 10 drivers who took part at Le Mans this weekend have raced in F1 including World Champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.
As expected, Toyota ran away with the LMP1 race with a 1-2 finish, the trio of Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima came out on top in the number 8 car.
LMP2 was a closer fought battle with car 26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 Gibson taking the honours with Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola all are first-time winners.
The GT battle was the highlight of the race and worth the entrance fee alone with manufacturers Ford, Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, BMW, Corvette all wanting to win the world’s biggest endurance race, and to make it extra special 9th June 2018 marked 70 years since the first Porsche was certified for road use. The race did not disappoint in the LMPGTE-Pro category, Porsche and Ford battled for the full 24 hours with Porsche claiming the 1-2 on the podium with the 70th anniversary liveries pf the Pink Pig and the Blue, Red and Gold of Rothmans but car #92 driven by Michael Christensen, SEF Ambassador Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor (Pink Pig) came out on top, with car #91 taking the 2nd spot (Rothmans) with Frédéric Makowiecki, Richard Lietz and SEF Ambassador Gianmaria Bruni.
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “It’s simply unbelievable. I just can’t describe my feelings. Today is the best day of my life. We have won the world’s most difficult and wonderful race. That can’t be put into words.”
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “This double victory is fantastic – for Porsche and our team. We had a great race and a great fight with our #92 sister car. We tried everything but our team colleagues didn’t make any mistakes and they deserve this win.”
Porsche also came out on top in the LMPGTE-Am class with car #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing on the top step of the podium and the class win, Thomas Flohr and SEF Ambassador Francesco Castellacci take their first Le Mans class podiums in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari.
Their new team-mate for 2018 Giancarlo Fisichella takes a sixth Le Mans class podium, his first in GTE Am. The car #85 Keating Motorsport Ferrari completed the GTE Am podium with third, SEF Ambassador Luca Stolz another to score a podium on his debut, Ben Keating a first appearance on the podium at his fourth attempt and SEF Ambassador Jeroen Bleekemolen a second appearance on a class podium after his LMP2 win a 10 years ago.