|The #19 and #18 Porsche cross the line|
The motorsport Gods cast light at Le Mans this weekend. A trio of drivers who hadn't been gifted with the opportunities or money of their compatriots shared the seat of the winning Porsche 919, bringing the manufacturer its first top class win in 17 years. Nico Hulkenberg, who many believe has never had a car in F1 capable of delivering the results his skills deserve, took the chequered flag to a sell out crowd at le circuit de la Sarthe . But if it wasn't for the stellar performance of British driver Nick Tandy and kiwi Earl Bamber this record wouldn't have been possible.
|Porsche's first win in 17 years|
|Nick Tandy began his racing in MiniStox|
Nico continues to campaign on in F1 driving the inferior machinery that is the Force India. Although this huge Le Mans win will further raise his stock value in the sport, could it entice him to race in sports cars full time? With Formula One being slagged off left right and center on social media with Mercedes domination, quiet engines and boring races of recent a factory drive with Porsche seems tempting.
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And lets not forget the third driver of the winning car, New Zealand's young Earl Bamber. Coming through the ranks of the expensive world of single seater racing on a tight budget, the kiwi took the same decision as Tandy to move to the comparatively cheaper world of sports car racing. Winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia in his first season in 2013 proved his credentials and another year of Porsche racing followed. Signed up as a works factory driver for Porsche this year at the age of 24, he was gifted given the opportunity to race at Le Mans this year with Hulkenberg and Tandy in the #19 Porche 919. His good friend and fellow New Zealander Brendon Hartley drove the lead Porsche 919 #17 car this year with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.
|Sun rises at Le Mans|
The polesitter and third Porsche dropped down the order when Neil Jani and Romain Dumas both had a copycat lock ups bringing them off the track at the end of the long Mulsanne straight. Last year's World Endurance Champions Toyota continued to struggle with a lack of pace and were not in the same league as the Porsche and Audi cars all weekend. The best placing Toyota was the #2 of Alex Wurz, Mike Conway and Stephan Sarrazin who were able to salvage a 6th place out of Audi's issues.
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In other classes the KCMG Oreca of Nicolas Lapierre, Richard Bradley and Matt Howson led a convincing victory in LMP2 after stopping on track at one point with reliability issues. The GT class was won by the loud roaring Chevrolet Corvette of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor. Towards the end the Ferrari 458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni took the lead only to drop to third after a heroic gearbox repair, with Italian mechanics pulling out and replacing individual gears in 45 minutes.
A historic Le Mans 24 Hours certainly bought a refreshing taste to motorsport after a few less than exciting Grand Prix races in recent months.