Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy will share Nico Hülkenberg’s Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrid at Le Mans, it has just been announced. It’s an interesting Porsche choice that slams all who claimed that the team’s Daytona upsets would damage either’s shot at Stuttgart’s top drive.
“It goes without saying that each of these drivers is fast and clever,” said Fritz Enzinger, LMP1 Vice President. “But in the WEC, and especially in Le Mans, there are more qualities to be taken into account. The ability to stay focussed and deliver consistent performances are must-haves for endurance racing. Another factor is team spirit and the skills to integrate into the team. This sport doesn’t make sense for loners.
“Each driver always has to take into account his teammates, as their individual speeds are what in the end are reflected by the Porsche Team’s results. Also a strong understanding is required of the skills and consequences when lapping slower cars. This isn’t for egocentrics either. Drivers have to view everything as the bigger picture. In every regard, I have full faith in our driver line-up.”
Porsche will field three 919 Hybrids for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, and also the previous month’s Six Hours of Spa. The Hulk 919 gets number 19. There are no quotes from the drivers, but you can imagine what they will say in the next press release. “Le Mans is the one every driver wants to win, driving the 919 Hybrid is an honour, I like my team mates and they are all mega quick, so we are in with a great shout if the car holds together,” said all three in unison, probably. Porsche won’t repeat the last bit.
Of course it is all true. Driving the 919 for an outright win at Le Mans is an immense privilege, as the pilots carry not just the team and the honour of Porsche, but all of our dreams along with them. It is a highly demanding appointment.
I think the line-up is killer: I am bloody delighted. Bamber and Tandy are fast, intelligent racers who take no prisoners: the perfect complement of skills alongside Nico Hülkenberg. Of course, none of this should take away from the 911 squad. No drivers are more capable of bringing our greatest champion home atop the GT ranks than the works RSR pilots: Christensen/Lietz/Bergmeister in number 91, and Makowiecki/Pilet/Henzler in number 92.