Most of the 22 cars that presented themselves through scrutineering and filtered through the center of Le Mans today were from LMP1 and LMP2. Two key GTE teams did, however, entertain the fans present: Corvette Racing and Porsche GT Team.
With the WEC manufacturer’s title already sealed and the drivers championship now a straight fight between the two full-season 911 RSRs, there’s an air of confidence surrounding the Porsche crews piloting the automaker’s quartet of GTE Pro challengers.
Gianmaria Bruni (photo above at last weekend’s Le Mans Test Day) is part of the Stuttgart brand cabal, the Italian still in with a chance at the title, though he admits it’s a very slim one after dropping vital points at Spa.
“The season was fantastic for Porsche. We achieved our main target — the manufacturer’s title — with one race to go.
“From my point of view it’s been really good,” Bruni continued. “We’ve been unlucky, though: At the last race we lost a podium, and at Silverstone, too. With those two results, we’d be in a better place for the championships. Now we will see what we can do for Le Mans.
“[There is a] 36-point gap; we lost more than 30 points in Silverstone and Spa combined. So it’s very hard to do anything from here. We’ll do what we can.”
Nevertheless, Bruni is still eager to hit the track and make it two wins in a row for Porsche at La Sarthe.
“It’s going to be very close. We couldn’t ask for better final race, battling for the big trophy at Le Mans.”
Laurens Vanthoor, who won GTE Pro at Le Mans last year, is providing real steel for the No. 92’s world championship run for this year. The Belgian, who usually races with Porsche’s IMSA GTLM crew, has been moved over to WEC duty again for this event, and has been well briefed by his two teammates, Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.
“Yeah, we’ve had that chat,” He chuckled. “The manufacturer’s title is won; this is, therefore, a race for the win. But in these circumstances, after winning this race last year, that world championship is absolutely the top priority.”
The Corvette Racing crew also feel in with a real chance next weekend, in what will be the team’s 20th consecutive appearance at Le Mans and fifth for the C7.R.
Oliver Gavin, who has been racing with the team for 17 of the factory team’s 19 appearances, feels the C7.R still has life in it yet — this despite the fact that the aging GTE challenger is expected to be replaced by a racing version of the incoming C8 road car in time for next year’s race.
“We been part of history here at Le Mans, with some amazing cars and some amazing races,” Gavin told RACER. “Wouldn’t it be great to round off 20 years with another win?”