Porsche's Bruni admits luck determined last Le Mans GTE Pro fight

Porsche's Gianmaria Bruni admits luck played its part in deciding the outcome of the Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro battle as misfortune befell Corvette, Ferrari and the #92 Porsche.

Porsche's Bruni admits luck determined last Le Mans GTE Pro fight

The #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 Bruni shared with Richard Lietz and Federic Makowiecki emerged on top in the last-ever GTE Pro race at the Circuit de la Sarthe, as Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest confirmed on the eve of the event that the class will be dropped at the end of the 2022 World Endurance Championship season. 

The trio crossed the line 42 seconds ahead of the #51 AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 Evo driven by James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra to score Porsche’s first GTE Pro win at Le Mans since 2018, but that eventuality had looked unlikely during the early phases of a race Corvette looked set to dominate.

The #63 C8.R held a commanding lead until a broken left-rear suspension caused a lengthy spell in the garage and eventually forced its retirement, meaning the #91 Porsche crew ran fourth at the halfway point in the race. 

Then Porsche’s #92 car suffered a major tyre blow-up while leading in the 16th hour that heavily damaged its front bodywork, before Francois Perrodo's AF Corse LMP2 car pushed Alexander Sims's #64 Corvette that had been delayed by an unscheduled brake change into the wall on the Mulsanne straight.

Read Also:

Bruni, Lietz and Makowiecki were then able to defeat the #51 Ferrari after it suffered a right-rear puncture late in the race, as the #52 Ferrari that had also suffered a puncture in earlier contact with a prototype at Tetre Rouge completed the podium.

Now a four-time Le Mans class-winner, Bruni said luck is part of what makes Le Mans a legendary race, highlighting his own defeat in 2015 as a Ferrari driver when his car was struck by a late gearbox problem while locked in a tight battle with Corvette.

“For sure Corvette was unlucky, but #92 had a flatspot, and this created the damage of the car,” the Italian told Autosport. 

“This is part of racing. Sometimes it works well, other times it works bad. For sure they were not lucky, Corvette was unlucky.

“In the end Le Mans chooses [whether] you win or not. This is the special thing of Le Mans. Sometimes she recognises you, other times not. 

#91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR 19 LMGTE Pro of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki

#91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR 19 LMGTE Pro of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz, Frederic Makowiecki

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“I remember in 2015, with 25 minutes to go the gearbox broke and Corvette won. What can I say? I was 50s ahead. And the points we lost cost me the [WEC] championship. 

“Sometimes I’ve been very unlucky, but this is a special thing about Le Mans. You either like it or you hate it. Me, I like it.”

The sister #92 car of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor was eventually classified a distant fourth in the seven-car GTE Pro class, a lap behind the #52 Ferrari of Miguel Molina, Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon.

Vanthoor said he was confident about the victory chances of the #92 Porsche until the car suffered a spectacular puncture approaching the Mulsanne corner with his team-mate Christensen at the wheel, forcing the latter to pit for repairs after an excruciatingly slow in-lap.

“We were in quite a dominant position [at the time of the puncture],” he told Autosport.

“I felt like we had it under control, also strategy-wise we were a step ahead. 

“We were getting more and more competitive as well, so it was looking very promising, even if it was far from over.

“The puncture was a crazy mix of a lot of stuff together. We had a slow puncture in the corner before, and so we had a flatspot. 

“Then the tyre delaminated and destroyed the car, and that was pretty much the end of our race. 

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Pro of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Pro of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

Photo by: Marc Fleury

“[Without that] it’s always easy to say in hindsight, and it was still going to be a big fight, but I was really confident we were going to do it.

“I’m not gonna lie, I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but at least Porsche won, so I’m happy for the guys and for the #92 crew.”

Ferrari received a major turbo boost pressure reduction ahead of Wednesday’s practice - which was only partially reversed before the race - and James Calado was particularly vocal about how it had hurt Ferrari's chances of challenging its two factory rivals in the 90th running of Le Mans.

After finishing second in class in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE along with Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra, Calado said he had reasons to be happy with the result - but added that the Italian marque never had a realistic shot at beating Porsche for victory.

“Obviously it was clear that the pace wasn't there throughout the whole race, everyone can see that,” he told Autosport.

“However, no real mistakes, no real dramas, we tried to keep the car in one piece and step by step we worked our way up the front. 

“We actually got quite unlucky with slow zones but that is part of the game. You win some, you lose some."

“[Even without the puncture], we still probably wouldn't have won on speed alone because they [Porsche] were holding back. The moment we started pushing, they started pushing. But I'm happy, two and three for Ferrari is a great result.”

shares
comments

Related video

Sims: Corvette losing last Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro win "difficult to swallow"
Previous article

Sims: Corvette losing last Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro win "difficult to swallow"

Next article

How dominant Toyotas put on a show to win Le Mans 2022

How dominant Toyotas put on a show to win Le Mans 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide

The 90th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours is here. Here's Autosport's run down of the full field and who to look out for in each class

Le Mans
Jun 11, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Plus

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Plus

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

The GTE class faces a time of transition, with Ferrari and Porsche both committing resources to Hypercar programmes for next year's World Endurance Championship and GT3 cars confirmed to take over from 2024. But at its pomp in the recent past, the GTE Pro class pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Plus

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Plus

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022