Porsche and the 24 Hours of Le Mans-this story of records and superlatives goes back to 1951.
24 hours is 86,400 seconds. But it’s much more than that. Above all, it’s an infinite number of moments. Little episodes. Big successes. The whole range of human emotions coalesces in the fascination that surrounds Le Mans, year after year. Told by those who have experienced it again and again over the years.
Nine of the top ten places in the overall rankings in 1983 went to the Porsche 956. This Group C racing car was also successful in customer teams. A Sauber BMW took ninth place. Never before or again has a single brand so dominated Le Mans. Porsche is the only carmaker to have been represented at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the past 63 years. The first start for the first German maker brought the first win: Auguste Veuillet and Edmond Mouche won in 1951 with a 356 SL in the class for engine capacity of up to 1,100 cubic centimeters. A total of 812 Porsche racing cars have entered Le Mans. According to the official statistics of the organizing body, that record is way out in front. The first race was run in 1923.
One race that runs twice around the clock. A marathon for both drivers and cars. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the toughest and most high-profile sports-car race in the world. With 16 overall victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer. Following a break of 16 years, Porsche is now returning to the prototype category. The top category of the four classes at Le Mans is called LMP1—the three letters stand for “Le Mans Prototype.
The Circuit de la Sarthe is one of the world's oldest and most historic race tracks. With 38 curves and at 13.629 kilometres per lap, it is the longest track in the FIA WEC race calendar. The circuit mainly consists of public country roads that seamlessly merge into the race track. As the road is driven all year, it gains a special feature to consider: the tarmac is deeply rutted. And in Le Mans we drive more than 5000 kilometres during one race. Or a more striking comparison: Formula 1 needs a whole season to cover the Le Mans distance. Bearing up here means bearing up against any track of the world.
The engineers are challenged to develop technology at the very highest level. Porsche quite deliberately decided to return to the top category of racing now, in conjunction with the new fuel efficiency formula, because that carries the greatest future potential for standard-series production. The GTE Pro category in Le Mans is a real sport for factory teams. That explains the high level of resources put into building the new rear-engine racing car by the engineering team. When the company takes on the challenge of racing, the customers benefit in very fundamental ways. This type of pressure to perform clearly makes you generate and test new developments with maximum efficiency; the test bed for these developments becomes public.
Resemblance to the design icon. While the 911 retains a familiar classic air even, the 911 Bullfrog prototype at its side makes a completely different impression in such direct comparison. The Bullfrog looks dominant. Muscular and menacing. With its oval headlights, the new generation continued to reflect the traditional 911 design. Downsizing and hybridizing at the highest level—that’s what the regulations in the top class of the sports-car world championship want, and that’s also what will mark the future of automotive engineering. The new 911 is the sum of its predecessors: The silhouette: iconic. The design: timeless. The technology: inspired by great racing victories. This makes the 911 a ‘Timeless Machine’ The Porsche Bullfrog is a cannonball.
Porsche has been living from racing experience for more than sixty years now. All of its standard-series cars have benefited from competition on the racetracks. The tachometer in the center and the ignition to the left of the steering column are two clearly visible signs of this development in the cockpit. Transfer of technology from the racetrack to the road runs just as smoothly as it does regularly in all other areas too, from aerodynamics to the drive system and the suspension.
A feeling that unites those with a fondness for bends, and sports car enthusiasts around the world. Because for many, a Porsche is more than just a sports car. It unites people – and transcends borders. It evokes great emotion. And leaves a trail of shared experiences and memories.
"In the beginning I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself."
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