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Hat trick after chase to catch up: the Porsche success story in Le Mans in 2017

In the last episode of Porsche Moments, host Timo Bernhard meets Fritz Enzinger again.

The third Le Mans overall victory in succession was almost impossible to believe for Porsche in 2017. Hours later, the sports car manufacturer made it onto the podium and was able to look back on 108 class victories and 19 overall victories at Le Mans.

70 years after the first class victory, the Porsche Heritage and Museum department is devoting its attention to “The Porsche success story in Le Mans”. In six episodes, the “Porsche Moments” series looks at the world’s most prestigious endurance race with fascinating contemporary witnesses and anecdotes. In the first and sixth episodes, Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard meets Fritz Enzinger, who led the brand to three overall victories in Le Mans as Vice President Motorsport.

The legend of Porsche at Le Mans

The final episode is all about the exciting chase to catch up in Le Mans in 2017.

The grand finale of “Porsche Moments”

There he meets up with the vehicle that he says “brings back many memories of an incredibly wonderful time” and gets behind the wheel to drive a few laps – four years after the unforgettable victory in France with his team mates Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley. “It drives like before and the drizzle is also like in Le Mans,” says Fritz Enzinger.

“The 919 Hybrid is the most complex and innovative race car that Porsche has ever built,” summarises Timo Bernhard. Development of the 919 Hybrid only began after the announcement of the regulations in June 2012. That was a great opportunity for me. The structure and concept had been in our heads for a long time, so we only needed the right employees to develop the right team spirit, says Enzinger, who finally assembled a team of specialists from 21 nations.

"You have an opportunity like that only once in your life"

Timo Bernhard also looks back fondly on this time: As a driver, being involved right from the start was something very special. You have an opportunity like that only once in your life. I already felt your determination and immediately trusted you when we first met, Fritz. He also remembers the 16 winning posters from Le Mans that decorated the walls on the way to Enzinger’s office. A symbol for the team’s common goal.

The record of the 919 Hybrid, which was fundamentally revamped during the period from 2014 to 2017: 20 pole positions, 17 victories, 13 fastest race laps and six World Championship titles. The 919 Hybrid was considered to be the fastest test laboratory and the most innovative race car that Porsche had built up to this time.

Our most dominant victory with the 919 Hybrid was in 2015. The entire Executive Board was there, as was the Porsche family, and everyone was in the pit together – there can’t be a better team picture than that, says Enzinger and looks at photos that Timo Bernhard has spread out in the historic motorsport workshop of the Weissach Development Centre. After the repair work on Saturday evening, the leading car was 18 laps in front – Porsche started the chase to catch up. “In the last lap, I thought of the many steps that made this success possible for me,” reveals Timo Bernhard, who had always dreamt of a triumph with Porsche in Le Mans.

The Porsche Museum will post all “Porsche Moments” episodes with guests Fritz Enzinger, Walter Röhrl, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Norbert Singer on its Instagram channel @porsche.museum and on Facebook @porsche.museum.stuttgart as well as on YouTube.

International roadshow with 14 stops

In addition to “Porsche Moments”, the sports car manufacturer will also be holding an international roadshow to celebrate the Porsche success story in Le Mans worldwide. Porsche enthusiasts can look forward to static and dynamic appearances of more than 20 original cars from the historical collection that achieved either class or overall victories. In the Porsche Experience Centres in Le Mans, Atlanta, Franciacorta, Silverstone, Shanghai and Hockenheim, there are already “Heritage Corners” that are dedicated to an in-depth exploration of Porsche’s success story in Le Mans.

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Aug 26, 2021 at 15:49

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