The No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber has won the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, putting an end to Audi’s five-year reign over the annual endurance race. The win marks Porsche’s 17th win at Le Mans and its first since Laurent Aïello, Allan McNish and Stéphane Ortelli guided the No. 26 911 GT1 to victory in 1998.
Porsche’s No. 17 car, driven by Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, shuffled in behind the No. 17 entry one lap down to claim the second spot on the podium. Audi’s No. 7 R18 e-tron Quattro of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler, which was just one of the Audi cars which had to enter the pits for various issues throughout the race, began falling off pace late in the race and finished third.
As expected, the race was mainly a battle between Audi and Porsche. Both manufacturers swapped positions with each other throughout the race’s duration, but the quick pace Porsche showed in qualifying reared its head at the end of the race and the Audis, behind due to frequent pit stops, could no longer keep up with the two 919 Hybrids.
The No. 19 Porsche took the lead about halfway through the race after Britain’s Tandy put in impressive lap after impressive lap during his night stint. His teammates in the No. 17 Porsche received a stop-go penalty for making illegal passes under a yellow flag and speeding in marked zones, which allowed the No. 19 to easily gain a comfortable lead.
Hulkenberg is the first active F1 driver to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 24 years, and he and Bamber are also the first rookies to win the race outright since Aiello was victorious with Porsche in 1998. The Porsche win also snaps Audi’s five year Le Mans winning streak it has been enjoyed since 2010 and sends the Four Rings back to the drawing board for next year’s race.