Porsche has just unseated Audi atop the endurance racing throne. Well, for a year at least. The #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid won the 24 Hours of Le Mans today, ending Audi's streak of five consecutive wins at the legendary endurance race in France. Audi has completely dominated the race for years, with an Audi vehicle winning thirteen of the last fifteen races. But Porsche, now with a record 17 wins at Le Mans, returned to the sport just last year, and it came home with the checkered flag this time, the 83rd running of the race. Porsche last won in 1998.
The #19 Porsche crossed the line with German Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel. British driver Nick Tandy and New Zealand's Earl Bamber joined him for the race win. The #17 Porsche, headlined by former Formula One driver Mark Webber, and the #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro came in second and third, respectively.
Marks Porsche's record 17th win at Le Mans
The Porsches and Audis gave each other stiff competition over the course of the race. The Porsches showed incredible qualifying pace — a third Porsche entrant took pole position with the fastest-ever lap on the circuit's current layout. All three Porsches started up front, followed by the Audis. The question was whether the Porsches could show the endurance in addition to the outright speed to beat the Audis. The lead switched back and forth between the manufacturers over the course of the race, but it was the Audis that were uncharacteristically held back by reliability issues, ultimately leading to a number of unscheduled pit stops.
The third-place #7 Audi finished two laps behind the winner, and a lap behind the second-place #17 Porsche.