Porsche celebrated 70 years since its first production car hit the road in style by taking a dominant GTE-Pro class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, clinching a one-two finish.

To mark the milestone, Porsche decked its two full-season World Endurance Championship cars in iconic liveries from its racing history, with the #92 Porsche 911 RSR - shared by Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor - donning the famous ‘pink pig’ colours of the 917/20 car from 1971.

The sister #91 Porsche was decked out in the blue-and-white of the Rothmans livery that was featured on the 956 C at Le Mans from 1982-83 and the 962 C from 1986-8.

The two cars ran line astern through the opening stages of the race, only for an early Safety Car period to split the two and give the #92 Porsche a decent buffer at the head of the field that it would never relinquish before the end of the race.

Magic of Le Mans

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The #91 Porsche was left to fend off a spirited challenge from a pair of Ford GTs through the final quarter of the race, eventually clinching a one-two finish for the marque some 50 years after its first Le Mans class victory.

“I think the whole story with 70 years of Porsche, with a special livery to remember that, makes it something we will remember for a long time,” Vanthoor said.

“It was a tough race, like for everybody I guess. I said to my engineer when I did my last lap: ‘The car is fantastic, I wish I could do some more laps!’ But on the other hand I was happy that my job was done because most of the race, we had to control when we got the lead.

“It’s not so easy sometimes. Sometimes it’s easier to go full out. I’m happy that we did all we could have done.”

“From my side, and I’m sure from the others as well, it was just about controlling the pace, taking care of the car, not touching anyone else or whatever,” added Christensen.

“I was not that concerned for us. We knew we had the pace. We just had to bring it home really. From the other car, for sure it would have been nicer if they had been able to pull away from the Ford, but I think we were stronger in the night than in the daytime.”

For Estre, the victory on home soil marked his first in class at Le Mans, having retired in each of his previous three appearances at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

“It’s very, very big. It’s the only race that I do in France, so it’s the important one,” Estre said.

“I had a lot of family coming for this event. You have a lot of pressure, because it’s Le Mans and also you’re French. I took the start, and it was really emotional. There’s nothing to compare to this race. I’m really proud to be part of it, and to share this moment with my two teammates which are two very good friends. We had a great atmosphere.

“Sometimes we had some different positions on some stuff, but at the end we took the right decision for the race.

“It’s just fantastic to be French, winning here. I would have loved to have the national anthem, but I think Mr. Porsche would have been angry!”

 

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