The first appearance of the Porsche LM P1 three days after the 2013 Test Day fits in with the timing of the project in the last months. Following the announcement of their return as an official team running two 911 in the LM GT Pro class, race-fans who were at the Test Day on June 9th could but notice all the giant-sized library posters of Porsche at Le Mans that were displayed above the paddock. Following this nod to history that reminds that the German car-manufacturer holds the all time record for most wins - 16 - at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the brand new LM P1 car completed its first rollout, driven by German works driver Timo Bernhard, who has been the holder of the distance record at Le Mans since 2010.
Now, let's take a closer look at the much awaited car. Even if on the official pictures the prototype has a "camouflage" livery - the manufacturer tries to keep it safe from prying paparazzi - it really looks like a Porsche. When you carefully look at the car, you can probably notice that the bottom of the front bodyworks reminds a little bit of the Porsche 917 "Pink Pig" (1971) or of the Porsche 936 that claimed three victories at Le Mans (1976, 1977 and 1981). The high closed cockpit can remind race-fans of the 956 and 962C, which won the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1982 to 1987. The rear bodyworks looks definitely like other modern prototypes such as the Toyota TS030 Hybrid or the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, especially thanks to the top air intake and the mandatory shark fin.
But we still don't know what is hiding under the engine hood. What about the hybrid system that was in the Porsche 911 at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring? Will this prototype be a diesel or petrol engine car? If diesel is not part of the 911 history, some Porsche road-cars such as Cayenne or Panamera can be bought with a diesel engine. These are only two questions among many of them, but it looks obvious that with such a meticulous schedule Porsche will target the victory at their first attempt. In 2014, the duel between Audi and Porsche, the most successful car-manufacturers in Le Mans should be extremely exciting and might end up like a Wagner opera! We can't wait...
For further information about Porsche's story at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, please visit the website Mission 2014. Our return.
Translation by Cécile Bonardel
Photo: WEISSACH (BADEN-WURTTEMBERG, GERMANY), PORSCHE TEST CIRCUIT, JUNE 12TH 2013. The first pictures of the 2014 Porsche arouses passion and questions, not surprising as all previous Porsche prototypes won the 24 Hours of Le Mans!