Porsche Video Documents History at Le Mans, Previews 2014 Comeback
Porsche’s return to prototype racing in Le Mans likely will make use of many components from the 918 RSR concept.
Porsche hasn’t won the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1998, but those in Stuttgart are eager to change that in 2014. The German automaker is prepping for its return to France’s Circuit de la Sarthe, and to keep us from forgetting about how it once dominated that classic race, Porsche has cut a video that covers its 1971 win there in a 917.
A win won’t be easy. Toyota will be hankering for an overall victory, Audi will be defending what’s become its home turf, and Nissan will be making a comeback to the LMP1 class in a serious way. The most intriguing aspect is how the Volkswagen Group will handle Audi butting heads with corporate rival Porsche. Having a look at the numbers, Porsche—in various guises—has won Le Mans 16 times dating back to 1970, while Audi has scored 11 victories in the past 13 races. (You could argue Audi’s nailed down 12 victories as it was the driving force behind Bentley’s win in 2003.)
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Although we’re more than 12 months away from the 2014 race, we have a bit of an idea of what to expect from the four major players. Toyota will have had two years refining its TS030 gas-electric hybrid, and we doubt Audi would abandon its highly successful R18 e-tron Quattro diesel-electric hybrid. Nissan president Carlos Ghosn has promised an LMP1 car that will be “a high-speed test bed in the harshest of environments for both our road-car and race-car electric-vehicle technology,” which we gather to mean something along the lines of what Toyota’s TS030. As for Porsche, we expect its entry will be based on the 918 RSR concept it debuted in Detroit two years ago, which, at the time, featured a 563-hp V-8 and two electric motors producing 204 horsepower. Much of the knowledge and development will be borrowed from lessons learned through the brand’s LMP2 RS Spyder and 911 GT3 R hybrid. But a lot can change between now and when Porsche arrives in Le Mans next May.
By John Lamm