The Porsche customer team Dempsey-Proton Racing is on course for a GTE-Am podium result at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. After three-quarters of the race distance, works driver Matt Campbell from Australia, team owner Christian Ried from Germany and the Italian Riccardo Pera are currently running in second place with the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR. After numerous setbacks, the Porsche factory squad has no chance of success in the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class.
Five hours into the race, a power steering defect cost the ca. 515 hp Porsche 911 RSR shared by the works drivers Michael Christensen from Denmark, Kévin Estre from France and Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor ten laps. Then, the sister car suffered technical problems. At around 6am on Sunday morning, the No. 91 vehicle had to pit for around 20 minutes for repairs to the electrical system. Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and his teammates Richard Lietz from Austria and Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki are in sixth place after a long pit stop, with the No. 92 ranking seventh.
In the GTE-Am class, Dempsey-Proton Racing is within striking distance of the leading vehicle thanks to a clean and consistent performance. The 2018-winning car driven by team owner Christian Ried, works driver Matt Campbell and Riccardo Pera is currently running in second place, approximately one lap behind the leader. With six hours remaining on the clock, the No. 56 RSR fielded by the Project 1 team is on fourth place and still has realistic chances to finish on the podium.
Comments heading into the final quarter of the race
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “We’ll carefully analyse the defects on our works cars after the race. But right now, we need to complete the remaining distance with as few setbacks as possible and earn valuable points towards the WEC championship. In the meantime, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for our customer squads. Two Porsche 911 RSR are on course for the podium – perhaps even a class win might be possible.”
Alexander Stehlig (Head of Operations FIA WEC): “The race has been and will continue to be difficult for us. After the fault on the No. 92 car early on in the race, this morning the sister car had to pit for repairs on the electrics. We’re of course continuing at maximum speed, because this is not just about bringing home a success at Le Mans, it’s also about earning important points in the overall classification of the World Endurance Championship.”
Kévin Estre (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “It’s not our year at Le Mans. First, we simply didn’t have the performance to maintain the pace of the competition, then a technical problem threw us far down the field. We’re trying to get the car to the finish line so that we can at least collect some WEC points from this unfortunate race.”
Christian Ried (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “So far we’ve kept out of trouble and we’re maintaining a constant speed. With this strategy, we’re steadily working our way up the order. We’ll continue this line of approach over the last six hours of the race. In 2018, I achieved a class win with Matt Campbell. We’d like to repeat that success together with Riccardo Pera. Let’s see if we can make it to the front of the field.”