Porsche trio revel in 'surreal' Le Mans win
19 June 2017 – The crew of the #2 Porsche hailed their victory at the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours as "surreal", after battling back from a one-hour delay to triumph at the event.
Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley lost a substantial amount of time when a new Motor Generator Unit was required for their Porsche 919 Hybrid on Saturday evening.
The delay dropped the #2 to second-last place, but the trio gradually worked their way through the order in both LMP1 and overall, amid a high rate of attrition at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
All three Toyotas were compromised, with the #7 and #9 retiring and the #8 significantly delayed, which gave the #1 Porsche a nine-lap lead, an advantage which swelled to 14 laps.
However, the #1 sustained a sudden loss of oil pressure with four hours to go and retired, handing a shock lead to the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing machine, running to LMP2 regulations.
The #2, having carved its way through slower opposition, emerged in second place, three laps down on the #38, but ultimately worked through to the front, taking the lead with 65 minutes left.
The crew controlled the remaining laps to triumph, the second overall win for Bamber and Bernhard, and first for Hartley.
"It feels surreal," said Bernhard, who added to his Audi victory from 2010.
"When I joined Porsche as a junior driver back in 1999, I carefully developed the dream to perhaps one day get the chance to fight for overall victory at Le Mans.
"I hoped I would be good enough to really do this one day. Now, 18 years later, we have achieved it together.
"The final lap was very emotional for me. It will take some time before I realise what has happened."
Hartley commented: "Le Mans is one crazy race.
"The mechanics worked incredibly hard on Saturday evening to get our car repaired in super fast time.
"Since that moment Timo, Earl and myself, together with our engineers, have been pushing hard, 100 per cent every second, and desperately hoped that our efforts would somehow pay off."
Bamber echoed Hartley's comments, paying tribute to the work the mechanics undertook to get the #2 back in the race.
"I can't believe we've managed to pull this one off having been at the back of the field after an hour in the pit-box," said Bamber, whose first win at the event came in 2015.
"Both Brendon and Timo have been part of the Porsche LMP programme from the beginning while this victory is as much down to the guys in the pits.
"Without their hard work we wouldn't have got back racing again so this win is down to them."