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2014 Le Mans 24: Porsche Motorsports Event Notes. 24 Hours of Le Mans
Posted by: newsla on Jun 10, 2014 - 03:23 PM
Le Mans News
2014 Le Mans 24: Porsche Motorsports Event Notes. 24 Hours of Le Mans


Dateline. Le Mans, France
Circuit. Circuit de la Sarthe
Track Length/Turns. 8.469-miles (13.629km)/38-turn Combination Natural Terrain Road Course and Temporary Street Circuit
Round. FIA World Endurance Championship. Round 3 of 8
Next Round.
FIA WEC. Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas, Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, USA, September 20
TUDOR Championship. Six Hours of The Glen, Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y., USA, June 27-29

 

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Porsche Events.
24 Hours of Le Mans
Date. Saturday-Sunday, June 14-15, 2014, 3 p.m. CET/ 9:00 a.m. ET
Race Duration. 24-Hours
Classes. LMGTE-Pro (Porsche 911 RSR), LMGTE-AM (Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR)

Porsche Profile. Event Story Lines
Lights, Camera and Racing Action
Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California) might be best known for his movie and television roles but to race fans, he is recognized as a dedicated racer who first appeared at Le Mans in 2009. The Hollywood actor returns to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third time on June 14th-15th. Dempsey – who drives with and owns the two-car Dempsey Racing program in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona class with a pair of Porsche 911 GT America racecars – returned to Le Mans co-driving a Proton Porsche in the LMGTE-AM category in 2013. Co-driving with Porsche factory ace Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) and business partner/team manager Joe Foster (Buford, Georgia), Dempsey fought for the lead in the pro-am class throughout much of the race. Eventually, the team finished narrowly off the podium in fourth-place.

The only all-American driver combination comes back to France this year with an intention of finishing the business left undone last June. To that end, Dempsey Racing-Proton will compete in the “pro-am” class with a Porsche 911 RSR – built per ACO regulation to 2013 specifications, not the same iteration of the factory Porsche 911 RSRs competing in the LMGTE-Pro class – with the same driver lineup as last year. The No. 77 Dempsey Racing-Proton Porsche 911 RSR ran 11th at Le Mans’ official test day on June 1. Here in the States, Dempsey Racing currently sits 14th in the GT Daytona class team standings with the No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America driven by Dempsey and Andrew Davis (Athens, Georgia).

All-Americans in Le Mans
One tribute to sports car racing in North America is that either an American driver or one with strong professional ties to the continent is in a class-winning car at Le Mans almost every year. The first all-American driver team that won its class at the French classic was the Bob Holbert/Maston Gregory-driven Porsche factory-entered Porsche 718 RS 61 which won the Sports 2.0 class in 1961. The first American-entered Porsche team to win was 1976, as Tom Waugh, John Roulon-Miller and Jean Pierre Laffeach drove the Tom Waugh Racing Porsche 911 Carrera RSR to an IMSA class victory. The most successful American Porsche team has been Dick Barbour Racing, with class wins three years in a row (1978 – 1980). Drivers for Barbour included Americans Paul Newman, Don and Bill Whittington as well as a Barbour himself. The most recent American Porsche driver to win was Patrick Long in 2007. Long, who also won the GT2 class in 2005, is the only American Porsche winner who is entered in this year’s event. The most recent American Porsche team to score a class victory was Alex Job Racing/BAM! Motorsports with U.S. driver Leo Hindery as one of its drivers.

See a complete list of key victories for Americans at Le Mans below.

Porsche North America Well Represented at Le Mans
While Porsche North America, the factory program competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Series with the two-car Porsche 911 RSR effort, is not officially entered in Le Mans for the 24 Hour, the team is well represented. All six of the drivers who pilot the Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSRs in the IMSA-sanctioned GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, have key roles in Porsche efforts at La Sarthe. Porsche North America full-season regulars Nick Tandy (Great Britain) and Richard Lietz (Austria) will be split between the No. 91 and No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR factory entries respectively.

Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, California) whose full-season ride is in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR, returns to the No. 77 Dempsey Racing-Proton team co-driving with Patrick Dempsey (Malibu, California) and Joe Foster (Buford, Georgia) in the LMGTE-Am class. The trio nearly took the podium in the class in 2013 finishing fourth after contending for the lead much of the race.

Hinsdale, Illinois’ Cooper MacNeil is not a Porsche factory driver but is a past GT champion in North America and currently races the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America for Alex Job Racing in the Tudor Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class. At Le Mans, he will join GTD regular Jeroen Bleekemolen (Netherlands) and Bret Curtis (Lake Sherwood, California) in the No. 79 Prospeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR giving a further presence of North American’s racing Porsche in France.

Porsche History – 24 Hours of Le Mans
Porsche enjoyed its 100 and 101 class victories at Le Mans in 2013
Key Victories – American Teams and Drivers. *: North American-based team

1961 – Bob Holbert /Maston Gregory – Porsche System Engineering – Porsche 718 RS61 – Sports 2.0 class (5th overall)
1976 – Tom Waugh/John Rulon-Miller/Jean Pierre Laffeach – Tom Waugh Racing* -

Porsche 911 Carrera RSR – IMSA class

1977 – Jurgen Barth/Hurley Haywood/Jacky Ickx – Martini Racing Porsche AG –

Porsche 936/77 – Sports +2.0 class

1977 – Claude Bella-Lena/Peter Gregg – JMS Racing-ASA Cachia – Porsche 935 – Group 5

1978 – Brian Redman/Dick Barbour/John Paul Sr. – Dick Barbour Racing* - Porsche 935/77 – IMSA +2.5 class

1978 – Jim Busby/Chris Cord/Rick Knoop – Porsche Kremer Racing – Porsche 935/77 – Group 5 +2.0 class

1979 – Klaus Ludwig/Don Whittington/Bill Whittington – Porsche Kremer Racing – Porsche 935 K3 – Group 5 class

1979 – Rolf Stommelen/Paul Newman/Dick Barbour – Dick Barbour Racing* - Porsche 935 - IMSA +2.5 class

1980 – John Fitzpatrick/Brian Redman/Dick Barbour – Dick Barbour Racing* – Porsche 935 K3 – IMSA class

1982 – Jim Busby/Doc Bundy/Marcel Mignot – B.F. Goodrich Racing* - Porsche 924 Carrera GTR – IMSA GTO class

1983 – Vern Schuppan/Hurley Haywood/Al Holbert – Rothmans Porsche AG – Porsche 956 – Group C class

1986 – Derek Bell/Hans-Joachim Stuck/Al Holbert – Rothmans Porsche AG – Porsche 962C – Group C1

1987 – Hans-Joachim Stuck/Derek Bell/Al Holbert – Rothmans Porsche AG – Porsche 962C – Group C1

1994 – Yannick Dalmas/Hurley Haywood/Mauro Baldi – Porsche AG/Joest Racing – Porsche Dauer 962 Le Mans – GT1 class

1995 – Bob Wollek/Eric Helary/Mario Andretti – Courage Competition – Porsche-powered Courage C34 – World Sports Car (WSC) class

1996 – Davy Jones/Alex Wurz/Manuel Reuter – Joest Racing – Porsche-powered TWR WSC-95 – Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) class

2002 – Kevin Buckler/Lucas Luhr/Timo Bernhard – The Racers Group* – Porsche 911 GT3-RS – GT class

2003 – Sascha Maassen/Emmanuel Collard/Lucas Luhr – White Lightning Racing* – Porsche 911 GT3-RS - GT

2004 – Joerg Bergmeister/Patrick Long/Sascha Maassen – White Lightning Racing* – Porsche 911 GT3-RS – GT

2005 – Mike Rockenfeller/Marc Lieb/Leo Hindery – Alex Job Racing/BAM!* – Porsche 911 GT3-RSR – GT2

2007 – Raymond Narac/Richard Lietz/Patrick Long – IMSA Performance – Porsche 997 GT3-RSR – GT2

Porsche Point of View.
Jens Walther, President/CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America
“The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the cornerstone event of sportscar racing around the world; this year, with the return of Porsche into the top class, this is even more so the case. While Porsche Motorsport North America does not have any direct participation in the race, we will be well represented in the biggest race of the year. All six of the drivers of the Porsche North America factory team are racing, five in the Porsche Team Manthey works Porsche 911 RSRs and the sixth, Patrick Long, leading the all-American lineup in the customer program Dempsey Racing-Proton Porsche 911 RSR. Another regular competitor in the IMSA GT Daytona class, Cooper MacNeil, will also be competing at Le Mans. We thank all our teams, their partners and drivers for the participation and wish them a successful race. Together, we are all endeavoring to repeat our 2013 performance of winning two classes at La Sarthe. Additionally, we’d like to do that one better by also taking the top honors with the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the LMP1 class. That would mark a very successful ‘return’.”

Patrick Long, Driver, No. 77 Dempsey Racing-Proton Porsche 911 RSR
“I like our chances at Le Mans this year. The Porsche 911 RSR is a big step forward from last year and we come back as a driver lineup that knows what we each need to do in order to bring a win home. In saying all that, we need to race the race and hit our marks for 24 hours. American teams and drivers have had great presence and success here over the years and in my opinion this race still is the flagship sportscar race in the eyes of most around the world including the USA. It’s a proud moment to take part each year, but the goal is always to win. It's great to be in an all American lineup, but even more special is sharing a car with two guys I call friends. We have a lot of fun at and away from the track.

I attended this race as a fan three times before ever taking part. It’s an electric scene of fanfare, but the diversity of cars makes it an awesome spectacle to park yourself trackside and enjoy the eclectic mix of design and sound. Past the emotion of spectating, the driving part is like nothing else. No track has the flow combined with high speeds of Le Mans. It's a prestigious and famous race, but it's just plain fun to burn laps around this place and I think that’s where most of my love stems from.”

Cooper MacNeil Driver, No. 79 ProSpeed Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
“My first year at Le Mans in 2013 was a learning experience. I didn't know much about the race going into the week, but I learned a lot and am looking forward to heading back with all the knowledge and insight I gained last year. I know what it's going to take to run quickly there and I'm looking forward to doing just that in our WeatherTech Porsche. The very best teams and drivers in the world race at Le Mans and we’re up to that challenge. ProSpeed is one of the top racing teams in Europe and to combine them with one of the top racing cars in the world we are ready. We have great driver line-up with Bret Curtis and one of the best sports car drivers in the world Jeroen Bleekemolen. We are taking a potent line-up to Le Mans. I think it is something quite special. The race pace at Daytona is like a sprint race, it's intense and people continuously drive very aggressively. Le Mans is more of an endurance race where you just have to make it through the night and keep the car out of the pits, and you'll have a good chance to finish on the podium. It's going to be a good race this year and I'm confident for a good finish from the WeatherTech Porsche team.”

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