In GTE Am, making it four dominant class wins out of four classes, the No.77 Dempsey Proton Porsche (with team co-owner Patrick Dempsey himself on hand) of Matt Campbell, Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer cruised to the line half a lap ahead of the rest of the class, all three of them scoring their first wins at Le Mans; incredibly, like every other class winner in the race.
“Anyone who goes racing dreams of being here on the podium,” said Dempsey, who founded his part of the team in 2006. “It’s been a long journey, and I have so many friends here in the paddock. It’s a privilege to be competing at this level, and I’ve been blown away by the pace of these guys at night. They showed great skill. They were very quick at Spa, and I knew I had a great team.
Of Andlauer, who at 18 was the youngest driver in the field, Dempsey said, “These young drivers had such a level of class. These are young stars emerging. Imagine you’re in your first race here at Le Mans, at eighteen, and he took the lead!
“There was a lot of pressure on everybody, but Chris (Reid) has done a fantastic job preparing the team. They were flawless.
“It’s been a magical experience, and one that I wanted to enjoy. To see these guys, up there on the podium, among all those familiar faces, has been amazing. They’re so impressive. We’re so lucky to be part of this sport. We’re privileged and very fortunate.”
The story in GTE Am was a strange one: It was close at points, but it rarely provided the thrilling action we come to expect.
Behind the No.77, the Spirit of Race No.54 Ferrari scored well-earned second place, Thomas Flohr proving to be strong throughout with his pro teammates Giancarlo Fisichella and Francesco Castellacci. The team were unable to close the gap to the winners, but did manage to make it to the finish without any issues.
Third in the class was the Keating Motorsports Ferrari (racing in partnership with Risi Competizione this week). Ben Keating will be slightly disappointed to have only managed to finish third, after an off at Mulsanne Corner on Sunday morning cost the team second place. Thankfully though, the team still managed to come away with some silverware, as others in the class who had offs weren’t so lucky.
Of the other teams that were in with a chance, the biggest story was that the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage – which fought its way up the order early on – once again fell short of scoring a win. The reigning GTE Am WEC Champions Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda added to Aston Martin’s rough week, the car retiring after Dalla Lana’s off in the Porsche Curves.
The sister No. 88 Dempsey Proton Porsche also featured in the hunt for the victory, but Matteo Cairoli ended the team’s chances of winning, with a shunt at the Ford Chicane.