Porsche chairman Wolfgang Porsche admitted that it was difficult for the German manufacturer to celebrate its success in the Le Mans 24 Hours following the death of Allan Simonsen.
The Dane was killed in an accident in the early stages of the race, with his Aston Martin Racing team electing to race on in his memory in an attempt to secure honours in the GTE-Pro class.
As it was however, the best of the Aston Martins could only take third, as rivals Porsche clinched a 1-2 finish with the new 911 RSR fielded by Porsche AG Team Manthey; Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz coming out top ahead of Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Pilet.
While a 1-2 finish - as well as a victorious run from the IMSA Performance MATMUT team in GTE-Am – should have been the ideal way for Porsche to celebrate 50 years of the 911, the success was overshadowed by news of Simonsen's passing at the age of 34-years-old.
“With the 99th and 100th class win and the double victory of the new 911 RSR, this Le Mans 24 hour race was a magnificent success for Porsche,” Dr Porsche said. “I very much congratulate all those who have contributed. Our joy, however, is also mixed with sadness and shock at the death of Allan Simonsen.
“We have not only lost a passionate racer, but also a good friend of the Porsche motorsport family. He contested his first Le Mans 24 Hours in 2007 with a Porsche. With our works driver Marc Lieb in 2005, he contested two races of the Le Mans Endurance Series in a Porsche as well. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family as well as the Aston Martin squad and his team-mates at this difficult time.”
Porsche will return to the premier category next year, having unveiled its new car earlier this month
The team has named four drivers so far, including Mark Webber after he decided to quit F1
to make a return to sportscar competition.