Porsche’s newly founded Esports Team championed the first-ever virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans event. Driver Nick Tandy, Porsche-Junior Ayhancan Güven, and professional sim racers Josh Rogers and Tommy Östgaard took first place in the digital version of the 2017-spec 911 RSR GTE Class. Fifty years after the brand’s first overall victory at the real classic, the quartet now adds to the success of Hans Herrmann and Richard Attwood as they finished a flawless marathon sprint twice around the clock with a one-lap lead over the second-placed crew.
Herrmann and Attwood won the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 14, 1970, using the 917 KH. Since then, the company accumulated a total of 19 overall wins at the endurance season highlight, making Porsche the manufacturer with the most number of victories to date. For this year, the actual Le Mans 24 Hours announced it postponement till the 19/20 September due to the coronavirus crisis.
Porsche used four virtual 911 RSRs for the digital event, and each car has two real racing drivers and two esports professionals from the Coanda Simracing team. The driver-crew of the No. 93 car proved particularly competitive since the beginning of the race. Tandy, the 2015 Le Mans overall winner, handed the car off to Östgaard after a strong start for Dempsey-Proton’s No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR as they swept into the lead after a good four hours. Both Güven and Rogers put in a remarkably steady drive, still extending their lead despite two pit stops due to technical problems. 20-year-old Rogers also clocked in the fastest race lap in the GTE class in 3:48.203 minutes.
Works driver Matt Campbell, Porsche-Junior Jaxon Evans, Mack Bakkum, and Jeremy Bouteloup had a steady race and almost a sure podium spot with the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR. Due to a server error an hour before the race ended, the team concluded the competition ranking in 11th place. The No. 91 car, driven by the Porsche Formula E works drivers André Lotterer and Neel Jani as well as the American Mitchell de Jong and Martti Pietilä from Finland, also encountered a server problem as they were about to head into the final third of the race. The team finished the race in 12th place.
The group of works drivers Simona de Silvestro and Patrick Pilet as well as sim racers Martin Krönke and David Williams also had a disastrous run as De Silvestro became entangled in an accident after just 30 minutes and fell far down the field. Midway through the race, Pilet suffered a crash that threw them out of contention.
Porsche Motorsport Esports Manager Marco Ujhasi is immensely proud of their team and explained that this championship is meant for the brand as their wins always coincide with a significant year for Porsche. In 2013, the company won Le Mans with the 911 RSR on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911. In 2018, the victory coincided with the 70 Years of Porsche Sports Cars‘ celebration. And now, 50 years after Porsche’s first overall Le Mans victory, we secured the GTE class win at the inaugural virtual edition.
1. Deletraz/Marciello/Wisniewski/Brzezinski (CH/I/POL/POL), Oreca 07 LMP2, 371 laps
2. Dillmann/Guerrieri/Simoncic/Pedersen (F/ARG/SLO/DK), Oreca 07 LMP2, 371 laps
3. Canapino/Aitken/Arana/Romanidis (ARG/GB/E/GR), Oreca 07 MP2, 371 laps
1. Tandy/Güven/Rogers/Östgaard (GB/TR/AUS/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 339 laps
2. Thiim/Westbrook/Sörensen/Biancolilla (DK/GB/DK/I), Aston Martin Vantage, 338 laps
3. Juncadella/Beche/Jajovski/Kappet (E/CH/NMK/EST), Corvette C7.R, 337 laps
5. Pera/Hartog/Francesconi/van Dooren (I/NL/I/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, 337 laps
9. Pereira/Olsen/Neuendorf/Siara (LUX/N/D/POL), Porsche 911 RSR, 335 laps
11. Evans/Campbell/Bakkum/Bouteloup (NZ/AUS/NL/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 333 laps
12. Lotterer/Jani/DeJong/Pietilä (D/CH/USA/FIN), Porsche 911 RSR, 333 laps
16. Hörr/Kolkmann/Giusa/Müller (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 325 laps
DNF Barker/Watson/Maguire/Masciulli (GB/GB/IRL/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 324 laps
DNF Pilet/de Silvestro/Krönke/Williams (F/CH/D/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, 166 laps
Result Porsche participants
1. Joshua Rogers/Nick Tandy/Ayhancan Güven/Tommy Östgaard (AUS/GB/TR/N), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:46,550 min
2. Mitchell DeJong/André Lotterer/Neel Jani/Martin Pietilä (USA/D/CH/FIN), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:47,182 min
3. Kevin van Dooren/Riccardo Pera/Loek Hartog/Michael Francesconi (NL/I/NL/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:47,819 min
4. Jeremy Bouteloup/Jaxon Evans/Matt Campbell/Mack Bakkum (F/NZ/AUS/NL), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:47,965 min
6. David Williams/Patrick Pilet/Simona de Silvestro/Martin Krönke (GB/F/CH/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:48,213 min
10. Zbigniew Siara/Dylan Pereira/Matteo Cairoli/Tim Neuendorf (POL/LUX/I/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:48,897 min
11. Adam Maguire/Ben Barker/Andrew Watson/Eros Masciulli (IRL/GB/GB/I), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:48,931 min
19. Danny Giusa/Laurents Hörr/David Kolkmann/ Lukas Müller (D/D/D/D), Porsche 911 RSR, 3:50,226 min
Drivers for the Porsche Esports team (all Porsche 911 RSR)
No. 91: André Lotterer (DE) / Neel Jani (CH) / Mitchell Dejong (USA) / Martti Pietilä (FIN)
No. 92: Jaxon Evans (NZ) / Matt Campbell (AUS) / Mack Bakkum (NED) / Jeremy Bouteloup (FRA)
No. 93: Nick Tandy (GB) / Ayhancan Güven (TR) / Josh Rogers (AUS) / Tommy Ostgaard (NOR)
No. 94: Patrick Pilet (F) / Simona DeSilvestro (CH) / Martin Krönke (DE) / David Williams (GB)